The Power of EMDR Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a complex and multifaceted disease, often rooted in underlying trauma and mental health issues. At 12 South Recovery in Lake Forest, CA, we understand the importance of addressing these underlying factors to achieve long-term recovery. One powerful tool in our arsenal is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at how EMDR therapy can transform the lives of individuals struggling with addiction.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a highly specialized and evidence-based psychotherapy approach developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. Initially designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR therapy has evolved and expanded its applications to address various mental health issues, including addiction.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR therapy follows a structured eight-phase approach that empowers individuals to process and heal from traumatic experiences. These phases include:

  • History Taking: Gathering comprehensive information about the client’s background and identifying specific issues to target.
  • Preparation: Establishing a therapeutic relationship and ensuring the client understands the EMDR process.
  • Assessment: Identifying and prioritizing target memories or triggers for treatment.
  • Desensitization: Using bilateral stimulation techniques (such as eye movements, taps, or sounds) to process and reduce the emotional distress associated with traumatic memories.
  • Installation: Promoting the integration of positive beliefs and self-worth.
  • Body Scan: Identifying and addressing any remaining physical tension related to the trauma.
  • Closure: Ensuring that the client leaves the session in a state of emotional stability.
  • Reevaluation: Continually assessing progress and addressing any remaining issues.

Why EMDR in Addiction Treatment?

EMDR therapy plays a pivotal role in addiction treatment for several compelling reasons:

  • Trauma Resolution: Many individuals with addiction have experienced traumatic events that fuel their substance abuse. EMDR helps them confront and heal these deep emotional wounds.
  • Craving Reduction: EMDR can significantly reduce the intensity of cravings by addressing the emotional triggers and associations that drive addiction.
  • Enhanced Emotional Regulation: Individuals undergoing EMDR therapy often develop healthier coping mechanisms and improved emotional regulation skills, crucial for maintaining sobriety.
  • Breaking the Cycle: By addressing the root causes of addiction, EMDR can help individuals break free from the vicious cycle of substance abuse and pave the way for lasting recovery.

Is EMDR Right for You or Your Loved One?

While EMDR therapy has shown remarkable success, it is important to consult with a qualified therapist to determine its suitability for your specific situation. Factors to consider include the severity of addiction, the presence of trauma, and individual preferences.

The EMDR Journey at 12 South Recovery

At 12 South Recovery, we recognize the uniqueness of every individual’s journey to recovery. Our experienced and compassionate therapists work closely with clients to tailor EMDR therapy to their specific needs and goals. This individualized approach ensures that each client receives the most effective and transformative treatment possible.

Call 12 South Recovery Today!

If you or someone you care about is battling addiction and you believe that EMDR therapy could be a valuable component of your treatment plan, we invite you to reach out to 12 South Recovery in Lake Forest, CA. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to provide a comprehensive assessment and guide you toward a holistic recovery journey that includes EMDR therapy.


EMDR is often integrated into a comprehensive addiction treatment plan that may include other therapies and support services. Its effectiveness can be enhanced when used in conjunction with other evidence-based approaches.

EMDR sessions typically range from 60 to 90 minutes, but the duration may vary depending on the individual’s needs and progress.

EMDR is generally considered safe; however, it’s essential to work with a qualified therapist who can assess its suitability for your specific circumstances.

The number of EMDR sessions needed varies from person to person and depends on the severity of addiction and the complexity of underlying issues. It may range from a few sessions to several months.

EMDR therapy aims to produce enduring results by addressing the underlying causes of addiction and trauma. However, ongoing support and aftercare are often recommended to maintain long-term sobriety and well-being.

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