emdr therapy

Quality rehab facilities employ a wide variety of therapy options designed to meet the unique needs of each individual client. Familiar therapies like Cognitive Behavioral do wonders for countless people, but they don’t hit the nail on the head for everyone. In those cases, alternative therapeutic methods are required.

What is EMDR?

One, called EMDReye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy – is providing thousands of addicts with the breakthrough they’ve needed to get sober. By now, over 60 thousand clinicians have undergone this training. It’s been heralded as an addiction-treatment breakthrough by many in the field.

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that, unlike other forms of psychotherapy, focuses exclusively on trauma. It’s for helping people deal with overwhelming, often paralyzing, stress associated with the past. EMDR was created by a doctor named Francine Shapiro in the early 1990s; it was based on the notion that specific eye movements can have a desensitizing effect on how we experience trauma.

During EMDR therapy, the psychologist focuses on the eye movements on an individual as they relive traumatic events. For those suffering from past abuse, tragedies, or natural disasters, the eye-movements often resemble those of people in REM sleep—like they’re dreaming. Specifically-trained EMDR therapists can tell what kind of effect they’re having on their client by watching their eye movements.

EMDR Therapy for Addiction Recovery

EMDR sessions last about 60 to 90 minutes each. According to the EMDR National Association, there are a few distinct phases:


  • determining the past event or problem
  • pinpointing it as much as possible
  • discussing the techniques that will be used to address
  • briefly desensitizing yourself to the emotions
  • replacing the negative thought with positive ones
  • re-addressing the original target; assuring that the new approach feels better
  • (at the beginning of the next therapy session) re-evaluating the topic to ensure that the lesson stuck

Though highly effective when sessions go well, EMDR treatment can sometimes push patients too far. Forcing raw emotions to the surface, over and over again – that can lead to high stress, a la relapse. Unless you’ve built some considerable sobriety, it’s probably best to stick with standard psychotherapies like CBT.


Therapy may very well be the cornerstone of any effective drug treatment program. It gives those struggling with substance abuse the tools they need to dig deep and uncover the true roots of their addictive behavior. Once they uncover those issues, they can begin to solve them and promote positive change. For help with your addiction, call Hired Power today: 800-910-9299

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