Healing from trauma and recovering from distressing life experiences can be challenging to manage alone. Trauma can even lead to mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can significantly interfere with an individual’s lifestyle and future, especially if left untreated.
Many mental health care facilities offer various treatment options for trauma and its resulting mental health conditions. For example, an effective treatment option called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can help an individual overcome the effects of these conditions and more. There are many helpful benefits to this unique type of therapy. Starting EMDR can be a step in the right direction to improve an individual’s quality of life immensely.
What Is EMDR?
According to The Permanente Journal, EMDR is a psychotherapeutic approach where a mental health professional uses specific techniques to treat the symptoms of psychological trauma associated with a history of traumatic events. This type of therapy can treat many trauma-related issues, including PTSD, substance use disorder (SUD), anxiety, panic disorder, and social phobia.
EMDR can quickly treat unfiltered memories resulting from adverse experiences. A qualified professional may use specific therapeutic procedures to improve relaxation levels and an individual’s ability to function and manage their most challenging problems in everyday practice.
This method is made up of standardized procedures and protocols. The therapy consists of an eight-phase treatment approach. It comprises a comprehensive evaluation involving client preparation, clinical procedure, and the processing of events that set the foundation for current disturbances, pathology, and future challenges.
The eight phases are as follows:
- History taking: Collecting client history and developing a treatment plan
- Client preparation: The therapist informs the client of what to expect by introducing, explaining, and instructing the client on techniques, metaphors, and stop signals used in each session
- Assessment: Client and therapist identify target memories
- Desensitization: The client processes experiences through eye movement for an adaptive resolution
- Installation: Increase connections to positive cognitions to replace negative ones
- Body scan: Scan the body to determine if tension is remaining
- Closure: Confirm client stability in between and after sessions
- Reevaluation: Review session results
How Does It Work?
As stated in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, trauma leads to increased changes in neural elements that prevent a resolution of processed information. In effect, the traumatic memories remain active and intrude on the mind at inappropriate and disturbing times.
EMDR works to restore neural balance in the brain. The practice reverses the process of interrupted neural pathology with saccadic eye movements that induce image and cognition of the traumatic events. This process assists in the resolution of optimistically processing information about the traumatic event. As a result, the client is desensitized to the memories, and anxiety levels and cognition gradually change for the better.
According to the previously mentioned research cited in The Permanente Journal, seven out of 10 studies found EMDR is more rapidly effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Twelve eye movement studies reported a rapid reduction in negative thoughts and disturbing images. Further evaluations have documented that EMDR significantly relieves various somatic mental health complaints.
Benefits of EMDR
EMDR is a highly beneficial treatment option and alternative to standard talk therapy or prescription medications. The therapeutic approach can reshape traumatic memories, change a client’s relationships for the better, and provide them with a different perspective. This allows the individual to create calm reasoning rather than present an adverse reaction.
Mental strength is gradually developed with each session. EMDR therapy allows the brain to heal and store clear memories without pain and anxiety. This therapy improves the lives of clients negatively affected by trauma related to SUD and catastrophic events.
Where Do I Start?
Choosing the right therapist is essential to success in an individual’s journey to improving emotional and psychological health. Communicating concerns to their family practitioner can start them in the right direction for a referral to a mental health specialist. One thing to note is that the effectiveness of the therapy relies heavily on the amount of effort a client puts into therapy.
It can be difficult and sometimes uncomfortable for an individual to open up about the effects of trauma and SUD. Many treatment facilities offer different therapy services to assist a person facing challenges in overcoming the effects of their mental health conditions. Individuals must research when searching for a treatment center that best treats their condition.
For example, 12 South Recovery uses proven methods such as EMDR and an evidence-based addiction and mental health treatment approach to support our clients’ mental health journey. Our mental health team comprises qualified therapists, case managers, group facilitators, clinical staff, and support medical staff to help individuals overcome trauma and addiction.
It can be a complicated process to find professional help. However, once an individual chooses a clinic, creates a treatment plan, and commits to therapy, they can achieve lasting positive results. Treating any condition takes time, but putting in the full effort can significantly improve an individual’s state of mind.
Substance use, mental health disorders, and other risky behaviors have been linked with traumatic and disturbing experiences. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) can provide fast results to individuals facing problems with their mental health. Our mental health care team at 12 South Recovery understands that trauma is the root cause of many addictions and mental health disorders. By treating an individual’s trauma, EMDR can help the person suffering from having less of a compulsion to turn to substances or negative behaviors as a coping mechanism. If you or a loved one needs support, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to receive a private, no-obligation consultation to get started in your treatment path.