Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

The Rose’s drug & alcohol addiction treatment for women is rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier life without addiction. Our clients experience the strong impact EMDR therapy has on addiction.

Learn About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is considered by many to be the most effective form of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

EMDR is frequently integrated into the “perfect blend” of therapeutic treatment processes we create for each woman.

EMDR was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro in response to anxiety disorders that are the result of traumatic or distressing events.  While walking through a park, Dr. Shapiro observed that her own negative reactions to distressing memories were decreased by eye movement. Further experimentation led her to the conclusion that eye movements have a desensitizing effect on the brain and can ease the anxiety brought on by traumatic memories.

In order to increase the therapeutic effects of eye movement desensitization, Dr. Shapiro developed a standard treatment technique that combines other elements of psychotherapy with eye movement therapy. Hundreds of published case studies have shown that EMDR is highly effective in reducing anxiety caused by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For some individuals, results from EMDR are achieved very quickly.

How EMDR Works

The theory behind EMDR is that the memories of traumatic events such as rape or military combat are processed incompletely by the brain. The initial perceptions and emotions associated with the event are stored in memory and relived each time the event is recalled.  According to EMDR theory, these unprocessed memories are the cause of trauma-based mental disorders. Through EMDR therapy, the patient is able to reprocess distressing memories, linking them to adaptive information. For example, a trauma victim may have an intellectual understanding that the trauma was not his or her fault, but unprocessed memories of the event have left the victim feeling responsible. EMDR will help forge a relationship between the traumatic memory and new ways of thinking about it. New emotions will be linked to the memories and the patient will be able to move on.

EMDR treatment consists of 3 parts:

  • Past memories are reprocessed, forging links to adaptive information in the brain.
  • Current triggers for anxiety are identified and desensitized.
  • New skills are learned to help adapt to future events that may be distressing.

As past memories are being reprocessed, the patient is instructed to focus on traumatic images and sensations. At the same time, the patient moves his or her eyes back and forth, following the therapist’s hand. The dual stimulation of the eye movements and the distressing memories helps the client overcome past associations and forge new ones. In the final stages of treatment, the patient is asked to keep a journal to help document the process of self-calming that has been learned throughout the therapy sessions.

A single session of EMDR cannot cure PTSD, but studies have shown that PTSD is eliminated for the vast majority of patients in 4 to 7 EMDR sessions. For combat veterans and victims of multiple traumatic events (such as childhood abuse and neglect), more sessions may be required. Patients who have successfully completed EMDR therapy report less anxiety and greater cognitive insight. These two benefits bring about a behavioral and personal transformation that leaves the patient feeling less distressed and better able to cope with traumatic experiences.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy and has been around since the 1940’s. It was pioneered by Margaret Naumburg an American Psychologist. Naumburg used art with her clients as a way to manifest unconscious imagery. A vast field, Art therapy has been used on a variety of populations, with everyone from children, the elderly, war veterans to prisoners, those with physical disabilities and mental health struggles.

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