Treating Addiction & Trauma
with EMDR Therapy
Addiction can be closely related to trauma. One may lead to the other, and they both have an impact on a person’s mental and physical wellness. They both can feel inescapable to those suffering from them. Fortunately, the clinicians and counselors on staff at Extra Mile Recovery are experts at providing compassionate, effective treatment to help clients reclaim their lives from trauma and addiction.
Trauma can be difficult to treat using traditional therapies. We’re proud to offer eye movement desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR), an evidence-based trauma therapy. Our resident EMDR specialist can help clients engage with and move past their trauma, no matter how severe.
Rod Farrar, Clinical Director, EMDR Specialist
Eye Movement Desensitization
& Reprocessing at
Extra Mile Recovery
EMDR is viewed as a groundbreaking method of treating the effects of trauma in addiction, but because it’s both relatively new and highly unique, specially-trained experts in this discipline are still rare to find. We’re proud to say that our Clinical Director, Rod Farrar, is a respected EMDR specialist. He leads our team in helping clients overcome the effects of trauma so that they can lead healthier lives in recovery.
The effects of trauma, like addiction, are complex, and the lasting impacts of traumatic experiences can make it difficult to succeed in an addiction rehab program. EMDR considers the many ways that trauma affects a client’s thoughts and actions, and uses a proven process to help them come to terms with their trauma.
Rod Farrar, Clinical Director, EMDR Specialist
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What Is EMDR Trauma Therapy?
EMDR, or eye movement desensitization & reprocessing, is a unique psychotherapy that can work wonders for clients who have experienced trauma.
Simply put, trauma causes people to associate extreme negative feelings to their memories of the specific traumatic events or circumstances. When someone recalls traumatic memories, they often experience overwhelming feelings that make it hard to focus on anything else. This can make it difficult to function, and increases the chances that a person will develop a substance abuse disorder — it’s a way to “escape” the negative memories.
EMDR is designed to alleviate this distress through desensitization. During EMDR, both the source of the trauma and its triggers are identified, and then linked to new, healthier thought patterns and behaviors. These new associations dampen the impact of triggers, and even the trauma response itself, making the effects of trauma easier to manage in everyday life.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR works by training a client to think about different positive or neutral things when they recall their past trauma. Therapists direct the client to focus on external stimuli while discussing different aspects of their trauma. These stimuli often consist of back-and-forth eye movements, hand-tapping, or audio stimulation.
Using directed therapy, external stimuli, and positive thinking, EMDR allows the client to engage with their trauma while diminishing the intensity of emotion that usually accompanies their traumatic memories. EMDR therapy helps clients move past traumatic events, stop replaying negative memories in their head, and ultimately discontinue destructive behaviors related to coping with trauma.
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The Eight Phases of EMDR
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Stress reduction techniques are taught to the client to help them prepare for engaging with their trauma.
These are different stages of processing the trauma. Clients identify a positive belief, especially one that counters the negative emotion. They are then instructed to focus on that positive image, their negative thought, and the bodily sensations that come from an external stimuli, all at the same time. This helps the client confront their negative thoughts without the intense emotional response.
The therapist then guides the client to let their thoughts flow naturally after these processing sessions. If the client still has difficulty processing, the therapist helps the client calm themselves and try a different positive belief. Once the client feels no significant negative response after a session, the client and therapist work together to consider how to implement that positive thinking into the client’s daily life.
The client writes down any events related to their trauma or EMDR training for several days, while practicing the self-calming exercises from phase 2.
The client considers past events that led them to phase 8, remaining trauma and triggers that still cause them distress, and how the future may require different responses. A new targeted trauma may be selected, in which case the client begins treating it at phase 1.
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Addiction Rehab and EMDR Therapy
at Extra Mile Recovery
Many clients who deal with addiction also suffer from a separate mental condition. In fact, it’s so common that we offer specialized Dual-Diagnosis Treatment to help clients properly manage their substance use disorder and other mental health issues.
While trauma is certainly associated with experiences related to physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, neglect, injury, grief, or loss, it can also come from situations as common as dealing with a high-pressure or overly critical boss at work. Regardless of the scenario, the effects of trauma can be highly complex and invasive, and EMDR therapy can be a revelation to our clients who are undergoing addiction rehab
while also dealing with trauma or PTSD.
To learn more about our trauma-focused EMDR therapy, and our other evidence-based clinical techniques, please call
Extra Mile Recovery at (662) 810-4146 today.