Managing Traumatic Experiences and Negative Emotions
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a proven and effective modern treatment therapy commonly used to treat trauma and PTSD-related mental illness. It allows patients to safely process traumatic events and dysfunctional emotions through a multiphase course of clinical treatment. EMDR has been used for decades and has helped thousands of patients to confront, process and manage the factors that have contributed to their addictions and dangerous behavior. It addresses the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology; the current situations that trigger malignant emotions, beliefs and sensations; and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health. EMDR largely relies on the brain’s natural inclination toward positive mental health.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR helps activate the brain’s natural healing process. It is divided into multiple phases and administered by an experienced and qualified clinician. The program requires patients to focus on negative images related to their mental illness in repetition; however we first verify that all patients are ready for this step before moving forward. The anatomy of our EMDR program can be seen below:
The therapist evaluates the patient’s preparedness to move forward with EMDR and works with them to identify potential memories and experiences for EMDR targeting. This usually consists of traumatic memories that can be directly applied to the advent or proliferation of substance abuse or other dysfunctional behavior.
The patient works with their therapist to develop multiple ways of coping with the stress of reprocessing their trauma. This usually involves the therapist taking an active role in teaching the patient stress relief exercises
The patient and therapist identify a set of traumatic experiences to explore and reprocess. During this stage, the patient will establish a vivid image related to the target; identify the associated negative belief about themselves; and recognize psychological and physical feelings related to the memory. The therapist also helps the patient to form a positive belief related to the experience and weigh its intensity against the associated negative emotions.
The patient then focuses on the pre-established image, the related negative thoughts and their physical responses while experiencing stimulation such as eye movements, taps or tones, clearing their mind after experiencing each form of stimuli. These sessions are repeated until the patient no longer exhibits stress while focusing on the image.
The therapist asks patients to keep a week-long journal chronicling any issues or setbacks. This helps the patient recall the coping exercises they developed in previous phases of treatment.
The therapist assesses progress and makes recommendations for further treatment, if needed.