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What Is EMDR Treatment?

therapist explaining to skeptical client what is emdr treatment

The links between trauma and addiction are clear. In fact, the general consensus is that providing trauma-informed care for mental health disorders and substance use disorders is best practice. About six percent of Americans have a diagnosis of PTSD, but many more people have experienced trauma without a diagnosis. One of the most powerful and effective treatments for trauma is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly referred to as EMDR.

At Mile High Recovery in Denver, EMDR therapy is one of the pillars of our evidence-based treatments. Find out about EMDR treatment, how it works, and if you are a good candidate for this groundbreaking therapy. Reach out to Mile High today by calling 855.796.2102 or using our online form.

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy?

Brain scientists and specialists in the field of psychology agree that emotional wellness is inextricably tied to a person’s physical state. Accessing areas of the brain by working with the body is not a new idea. In EMDR therapy, a clinician works with you using eye movement, sounds, and/or taps to reorganize how your brain stores traumatic information.

When you experience trauma, your brain is under assault. It will file the memory of the event in the wrong place so that even long ago trauma can feel immediate as if it just happened or is still happening. Countless triggers can create a terrifying sense that you are once again experiencing the trauma, re-traumatizing you. If that happens enough, your system is bombarded with ongoing trauma.

EMDR therapy will relocate those memories of trauma to where they belong and where they won’t interfere with you regardless of any present-day reminders, triggers, or stimuli.

What Is EMDR Treatment Like?

Moving through eight distinct phases of work that focus on the past, present, and future, EMDR treatment methodically and reassuringly ushers you through these phases so you can face memories as well as disturbing events in the present moment without becoming re-traumatized.

In a series of between six and 12 sessions of an hour to an hour and a half each, most clients can successfully complete EMDR.

The Phases of EMDR Treatment

  • After learning about your trauma, in phase one, the therapist will help you select a target for your EMDR therapy, which might be a trauma you have experienced or current situations that are triggering past trauma.
  • In phase two, you will learn some techniques to use between EMDR therapy sessions to reduce current stress. This may include the use of imagery and other skills.
  • About four sessions will be focused on processing your trauma using EMDR. In phases three through six, you will pinpoint a visual memory of your trauma, harmful beliefs, or emotions and physical symptoms connected to the original event, and using bilateral movement will shift the targeted experience in your brain to a place where it cannot trigger you, allowing you to replace harmful beliefs with positive and affirming ones.
  • In phase seven, you will write about your experiences. This process often helps identify additional information and emotions that may have been missed till this point.
  • Finally, in the final phase, you and your therapist will confirm that your responses have been rewritten so that the traumatic memory, which still exists, will not create the painful emotional and somatic responses it once did.

EMDR Treatment and Other Evidence-Based Therapies at Mile High Recovery

At Mile High Recovery in the heart of Denver, we offer residential and outpatient therapy and a range of proven therapies that are effective in treating substance use disorders.

In addition to EMDR therapy, we offer:

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Relapse prevention
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Addiction and mental health psychiatry
  • Anxiety, depression, bipolar treatment

Reach out today to see how Mile High Recovery can help you begin your recovery with trauma-informed, compassionate care in a safe setting. Use our online form or call 855.796.2102.

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