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Mental Health Counseling In Pennsylvania

There are various types of therapy that individuals can use to help treat their addictions and any co-occurring mental illnesses. One of these forms of addiction therapy is EMDR therapy. This is because EMDR therapy helps treat symptoms related to anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma. These are all mental health disorders that often cause people to turn to substance abuse to cope. Therefore, EMDR for anxiety can be exactly what a person needs to also overcome substance addiction.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy stands for Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction works by stimulating rapid rhythmic eye movements in patients as they recall past traumas. These eye movements are similar to the ones that people make during REM sleep. 

The healthcare professionals/therapists that stimulate rapid rhythmic eye movements in patients do so by having patients follow specific objects with their eyes as they recall past traumas. 

EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction is effective because it diverts people’s attention away from their traumatic memories. It does this by putting that focus on their eye movements. This, in turn, causes the brain to reprocess how it stores past traumatic memories in a way that causes the traumatic memories to stimulate less anxiety. 

The psychologist Francine Shapiro created EMDR therapy back in 1989. She created EMDR therapy after realizing that the intensity of her negative emotions decreased while darting her eyes around. 

Phases of EMDR for Anxiety and Addiction

emdr for anxiety EMDR for anxiety and addiction occurs in different phases. These different phases are described below.

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

During this phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction, the therapist will look back at the patient’s history with trauma. The therapist will then pick out the traumatic memories that are causing the patient the most anxiety. The traumatic memories that the therapist chooses to target during this phase of EMDR therapy are what the therapist will focus on during treatment. 

During this initial phase of EMDR therapy, the therapist will even come up with a treatment plan for the patient. This treatment plan is based on the findings that the therapist discovers at this time.

The therapist will also teach patients future skills and behaviors during this treatment plan to help manage past traumatic memories. This phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction will take around one to two sessions to complete.  

Phase 2: Preparation

During this phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction, the therapist will explain to the patient how EMDR therapy works. It’s also during this phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction that the therapist will teach the patient relaxation techniques.

These relaxation techniques are meant to help the patient manage any emotional disturbances that occur during the EDMR therapy process. One main goal of this phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction is to build trust between patients and therapists. 

Phase 3: Assessment

During the assessment phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction, the therapist will make the patient recall different aspects of past traumatic memories. The EMDR therapist will then make the patient describe the negative feelings that he or she associates with those traumas. Then, the patient must rate how much he or she believes that these negative feelings are true on a scale of zero to 10. 

During the assessment phase of EMDR therapy, the therapist will make the patient make positive self-assessments about those exact same past traumatic memories. Then the patients must rate how true those positive self-assessments are on a scale of zero to 10. 

The negative and positive ratings that the patient gives towards his or her past traumatic memories will help the therapist assess the level of emotional disturbance that the particular trauma is causing the patient. Throughout the rest of the EMDR therapy process, the therapist will try to increase the level of the patient’s positive beliefs about his or her past traumas. The therapist will also try to decrease the level of emotional disturbance that the patient’s negative feelings about his or her past traumas cause the patient. 

Phase 4: Desensitization and Reprocessing

emdr for addiction During this phase of EMDR for addiction and anxiety, the therapist makes sure to recall various memories, insights, and associations that the patient makes. This is due to different aspects of his or her past traumas. The therapist does this while making the patient follow an object with his or her eyes. 

The purpose of this phase of EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction is to help the patient’s brain reprocess the way that it stores past traumatic memories. That way, the patient gradually becomes desensitized to the emotional disturbances that the past traumatic memories once caused. 

Phase 5: Installation

During the installation phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction, the patient is really focusing on increasing the level of his or her positive beliefs while thinking about past traumas. It’s usually during this phase of EMDR treatment that the patient really begins to feel empowered and more positive. Thus, it’s during this phase that the effects of EMDR therapy for addiction and anxiety start to be apparent. 

Phase 6: Body Scan

During this phase of EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction, EMDR therapy patients receive body scans. They do this while thinking about their targeted past traumas. That way the EMDR therapist can see how much past traumas are still causing the patient’s body to be tense. EMDR for anxiety and addiction isn’t successful until the patient’s past traumas have no intellectual and physical effects on the patient. 

Phase 7: Closure

dangers of emdr therapy All aspects of reprocessing and desensitization of EMDR for anxiety and addiction are completed at this time. In fact, EMDR therapy isn’t complete until patients get to the point where they are clearly feeling better when thinking of past traumas. 

During the closure phase of EMDR therapy, patients are quickly debriefed on what to expect in between therapy sessions. Most EMDR therapy patients even receive some more calming techniques to use to help them manage their recovery.

Phase 8: Reevaluation

The reevaluation phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction refers to how therapists annually look back at the results of EMDR therapy with particular patients. That way, EMDR therapists can reinforce more positive self-beliefs about past traumas they’ve treated. The reevaluation phase of EMDR for addiction and anxiety also gives EMDR therapists the opportunity to pinpoint other anxiety-causing traumatic memories in patients that can be treated. 

Receive EMDR Therapy for Anxiety and Addiction At Little Creek Recovery

Little Creek Recovery is a rehab center that specializes in treating men for substance abuse. Because we specialize in treating men’s substance addictions, our inpatient rehab programs are male-only. Women that want to take advantage of our addiction treatment services can attend our outpatient rehab programs

Here at Little Creek, we make sure to treat the body, mind, and spirit through therapeutic and 12 step models. Thus, we make sure to treat our patient’s substance addictions and any of their co-occurring mental illnesses. This includes anxiety-based mental health disorders. Hence why we find EMDR for anxiety and addiction a useful form of addiction therapy. 

To learn more about Little Creek Recovery and the various addiction treatment programs and therapies that we offer, contact us today! We would love to hear from you.


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Little Creek Lodge
359 Easton Turnpike
Hamlin, PA 18427