EMDR Treatment: A Complete Guide

11 months ago ·

EMDR Treatment: A Complete Guide

When substance abuse disorders occur due in part to unhealthy coping mechanisms that arise after a traumatic event, EMDR treatment may be helpful. Discover more about this option and whether it might be right for you. Then, fill out the Recovery at the Crossroads contact form to find out how our caring, licensed staff can work with you to integrate this interactive psychotherapy into a holistic rehab plan that works for you.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a method used in psychotherapy to help someone process old memories and/or retrain the brain to deal more appropriately with triggers or stressors.

This form of therapy was originated by Francis Shapiro, who was a psychotherapist. During her work in the 1980s, Shapiro noticed that when patients considered disturbing memories and had lower emotional responses to them than other patients with similar thoughts, the less emotional patients also presented with a certain type of lateral eye movement. Shapiro started to experiment with this relationship between emotional response and eye movement, developing this psychotherapy treatment in the process.

Basically, during a treatment session, a therapist directs the patient to follow an object (or the therapist’s finger) with their eyes. At the same time, the person thinks or talks about specific aspects of stressful situations or previous traumas. The goal is to assist the person in processing old memories and reactions in new ways, which may lead to a reduced emotional response and the ability to approach stressors in a healthier manner.

This type of psychotherapy treatment can be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, panic attacks, anxiety and addictions. It may also be useful in assisting in treatments for chronic pain, self-esteem issues, skin issues that are related to stress, and ADHD.

Because the treatment involves the therapist talking to someone while also waving their finger or another object in front of the person’s eyes, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is sometimes confused with hypnotism. However, this doesn’t involve lulling someone into a hypnotic state where they are more susceptible to the therapist’s suggestions.

How Does Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy Work?

If the therapist isn’t hypnotizing you, what’s the purpose of the eye movement? According to Shapiro and subsequent practitioners of this technique, the type of eye movement created in this therapy session mimics the same natural movement Shapiro noted in patients who were able to cope better with stressful memories. By developing this same eye movement — called saccadic eye movement — individuals can better access certain memories and deal with them in a way that supports a more positive outcome.

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy Like?

According to the Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, this type of therapy is approached through eight phases, which are summarized below.

  • Phase 1. The therapist works with the client to understand the person’s history and what memories or events may be playing a role in current issues. They work together to plan for treatment and decide what memories and emotions will be targeted with therapy.
  • Phase 2. During this time, the treatment is fully explained, and the eye movement is practiced to help facilitate optimal success.
  • Phase 3. The therapist helps the person access and begin to assess the memory in question. This includes validating the facts of the memory and exploring the emotional response.
  • Phase 4. With the therapist’s assistance, the person focuses on the memory while engaging in eye movement, continuously unpacking emotional responses and developing new ways of responding until the memory is less distressing. This is known as desensitization.
  • Phase 5. The person works with the therapist to strengthen the healthier cognitive response.
  • Phase 6. Next, clients work on understanding how their bodies respond to the memory or trigger. If physical symptoms are associated with the memory, the therapist helps the client work through them.
  • Phase 7. The session comes to a close, and the therapist provides any instructions that the client might need to follow until the next session.
  • Phase 8. In the final phase, the therapist evaluates how the treatment went and works with the person to identify what should be targeted in a future session.

This news clip from NBC 26 shows a small glimpse of how EMDR Therapy Uses Eye Movements to Overcome Trauma, Anxiety, and Phobias.

What to Expect After EMDR Treatment

You should not expect immediate final results from a single session. Like any form of therapy, this is not a one-and-done proposition, and it can take many sessions to work sufficiently through root causes and traumatic memories.

This psychotherapy technique is also not something that works in a vacuum. That is to say, it works best when paired with other cognitive behavioral therapy methodologies. The EMDR Institute notes that Shapiro herself made this clear when introducing the treatment into the professional community. She said, “It must be emphasized that the EMD procedure, as presented here, serves to desensitize the anxiety related to traumatic memories, not to eliminate all PTSD-symptomology and complications, nor to provide coping strategies to victims.”

EMDR Therapy Side Effects

For the most part, doctors and the prevailing medical literature present this type of effective trauma therapy as safe and with few potentially negative side effects. And because the therapy involves developing healthier ways of approaching and coping with memories, it can be more effective for some cases in the long run than medication. Medication stops working when the person stops taking it, but some of the gains achieved from therapy can remain after the therapy is over.

However, the process is not completely without potential side effects. Here are some EMDR therapy side effects to be aware of.

Potential EMDR Side Effects

  • Because eye movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment forces you to confront certain distressing memories, albeit in a safe environment, it could temporarily increase how these memories interact with your daily life. Therapists typically prepare clients for this possibility and offer instruction for dealing with this issue between sessions. 
  • Opening these doors to memories you may have held tight reigns over out of fear or necessity in the past could also bring to light other traumatic memories that you didn’t previously remember.
  • In some cases, individuals report feeling light-headed or having especially vivid dreams as they go through therapy sessions.

In most cases, side effects resolve as you work through treatment, but you should always make your therapist aware of them so you can get the right professional support.

What is the EMDR Success Rate?

More than 20,000 therapists use this technique, and numerous studies have pointed to the efficacy of this treatment. Consider some of these stats and study outcomes.

  • One study that reviewed the outcomes of 61 clinical trials of various treatments for PTSD determined that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment were the top two most effective methodologies.
  • The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry conducted a similar review of 112 studies and found CBT, exposure therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to be effective.
  • In one randomized clinical trial, 88 people diagnosed with PTSD were assigned to various forms of treatment, including EMDR and a placebo. Results indicated that therapy initiatives, such as EMDR, were more effective than medication in creating long-term results after the treatment concluded. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy was especially successful in assisting with adult-onset traumas (as opposed to traumas that occurred during childhood).

From Addiction to PTSD, there’s reliable clinical evidence that conclusively answers the question, “Does Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment really work?” with a resounding, “Yes.”

How Much Does EMDR Therapy for Trauma and Addiction Cost?

As a form of trauma and addiction therapy that can be delivered in an individual therapist’s office, this is priced similarly to commonly known mental health therapy sessions. That means it can range by provider, but you might expect to pay between $80 and $150 per session, as you would for a regular therapy appointment. You may be able to make payment arrangements to make this type of treatment more affordable. Some therapists also provide some coaching for DIY therapy between sessions, which might reduce the number of sessions you need to attend and the overall cost of treatment.

As of late 2019, there’s not a code specifically for billing sessions to insurance companies, although some professional organizations are working toward this goal. However, if your insurance policy covers individual behavioral therapies, it will probably cover a session that includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy as part of the process. You can work with your individual therapy provider to understand whether they accept your insurance and what benefits are covered under your plan.

Finding Psychotherapy and Substance Abuse Treatment Near You

Individuals who are interested in incorporating EMDR therapy into their drug or alcohol recovery process can find therapists willing to provide this treatment in almost every city in the nation. For those in New Jersey, the rehab team at Recovery at the Crossroads can offer this effective approach and other custom solutions like intensive outpatient programs. Contact us today at 856-644-6929 to speak with one of our experts about this potential treatment and other options that can assist you in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery.

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12 months ago ·

Addiction Challenges a Parent’s Love

In my present life, I welcome the opportunity to write on the topic of addiction. But, this was not always the case. Life experiences, knowledge, and the healing of time has brought a clarity of thought and feelings to be shared. For some, this article may be new information and insight on the effect of addiction on families, an opportunity to experience an inside view on addiction, and how it challenges a parent’s love. For others, it may be an all too familiar page from the story of your life, a chronicle that validates personal experiences that happen when addiction comes to your home.

In today’s world, it is common to hear about addiction impacting a family.  It affects the young and old, men and women, good people in good homes. Families bear the shame that accompanies addiction. Parents grieve the loss of the dreams they had for their children. Their world turns inside out, and they start to doubt their worth as a parent.

Years ago, life seemed simpler.  You were taught right from wrong; you kept your family close and followed the teachings of the Torah.  That simpler way of living, built on sound principles, is challenged when the complexity of addiction and mental health enters your life. Marriage and family descend into a foreign way of life. You feel disconnected and disrespected by the once young child that came to you to kiss away their hurt. Darkness crosses the threshold into your home. Shame seeps into the fiber of the family. Answering questions about your child’s absence from a holiday or wedding celebration brings dread and inner turmoil. The simple question, “How is the family?” leaves your stomach tied in knots.  Do you tell the truth? Do you quickly change the subject or make an excuse?  How do you explain to them? More importantly, how do you explain to your other children about their brother or sister’s behavior, how they dress, how they talk, or the arguments they hear?  Your mind goes in a million directions all at one time.  You smile as you recall the happy anticipation of your wedding day, of having a family to love, teach traditions, and build sweet memories. The joy changes to grief as you search for an explanation.

Please know there is someone out there waiting to help you, waiting to help your child.  Start the journey, if they are not ready to join you, start anyway. Support systems for parents are becoming stronger, more visible. The veil of shame that has covered the road of recovery for so many families is lifting. Find people who understand the heartache. Look for supportive people who do not cast judgment.  Cry if you need to and laugh whenever you can.

If you have not had this personal experience but took the time to read this article, hold out your hand without judgment to someone who is in need, what greater mitzvah. There was a time – it seems very long ago – when I knew nothing of the world of addiction. My journey as a parent whose child faced addiction brought me to work in the field of substance use disorders and trauma. It has enriched my life beyond description. I am an international speaker on addiction and trauma.  In my work, I have seen the miracle of recovery happen over and over again.  Parents and their adolescents, young adults, and adult children turn the corner away from addiction and once more find their seats at the Shabbos table.

If you are a parent, a family member, a friend or a concerned person who recognizes there is much to be done to dispel myths, educate and support those on the journey to recovery. Please, extend your hand to them and join your heart with theirs for together we can do what no one should have to do alone. Addiction may challenge a parent’s love, but it does not have the power to stop it.

Alberta Montano-DiFabio is the Clinical Director of Recovery at the Crossroads in Turnersville, New Jersey, providing state of the art treatment while honoring the culture and traditions of Jewish heritage.

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The Benefits of Sober Living & Outpatient Treatment

12 months ago ·

The Benefits of Sober Living & Outpatient Treatment

Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs. They are not licensed or funded by state or local governments and the residents themselves pay for costs. Sober living environments are distinctly different from rehabilitation centers which typically administer more intensive recovery and less freedom.

The gap between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment can be a broad one. Simply put, there are lots of people who spend 28 days in rehab only to go right back to their previous environment and fall right back into their old habits. That’s why sober living environments exist, to bridge that difficult gap between inpatient and outpatient treatment and give people someplace to go during the transition. There are several significant advantages of establishing sober living houses associated with outpatient treatment as opposed to traditional halfway houses. While the level of support is less intense than that offered in residential treatment, it is more intense than you may find in freestanding SLHs. There are usually rules and structure, as well as recovery meetings among all the residents at the facility. Sober living programs often help get individuals with reconnecting with work or school, as well as connecting with an outpatient recovery program.

Many people mistakenly believe they’re “cured” of addiction after the withdrawals and detox are over or do not have access to appropriate housing that supports sustained recovery. Recovery at The Crossroads is affiliated with a sober living house and offers transportation to and from the treatment facility.

If you feel like sober living with outpatient treatment is right for you, call now.
Recovery at the Crossroads – 888-466-5950

Recovery at The Crossroads, where you never walk alone.

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