What is EMDR Therapy?


EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, is a modality which allows a therapist to assist the patient in bringing the memories and emotions connected to a traumatic event back to the surface of their consciousness so they may process them and move past them. The problem with processing trauma is that the affected individual is usually overwhelmed when they are thinking of the past traumatic events, preventing their successfully

processing the emotions and beliefs which stem from the event. Let’s briefly examine how EMDR addresses this issue so that the patient can bring their past back into their consciousness without becoming overwhelmed and unable to process the trauma.


EMDR therapy seeks to prevent an overwhelming emotional response in the patient when the traumatic event is brought to light. This is accomplished through bilateral stimulation, usually in the form of eye movement instructions provided by the therapist as the patient thinks of the traumatic event and the underlying beliefs attached to the event. By focusing on the traumatic event while also responding to eye movement instructions, the brain is grounded in the present moment while addressing the past trauma, preventing the overwhelming emotional response and allowing healthy processing of the event.


Part of this therapy requires the patient to come to understand the beliefs they have formed as a result of the traumatic experience. For example, those patients who were abused as children may have formed a belief that they are deserving of such treatment and that they are no good and not worthy of love. Part of the EMDR therapy is the process of forming new, healthy beliefs to replace these unhealthy and warped beliefs which were formed as a result of trauma. It is very important the patient address any unhealthy beliefs they are holding on to and replace them with healthy ones, as our beliefs play a substantial role in our lives, influencing our thoughts and behaviors. By maintaining unhealthy beliefs you open yourself up to relapse, as these beliefs tell you you are not worthy of sobriety and should not put in the effort required to achieve this goal.


EMDR therapy is a modality which allows a patient to return to their past traumas without the accompanying tidal wave of emotion which paralyzes the brain and prevents healthy processing of these events. By utilizing bilateral stimulation as the patient revisits the traumas of their past, the therapist is able to keep the patient grounded in the present, stimulating the brain in such a way that the normal overwhelming emotional response is mitigated. This allows the patient to address the underlying emotions and beliefs stemming from the traumatic experience so they can overcome these negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with positive, healthy ones. EMDR is an effective treatment modality for those struggling with the traumas of their past - if you find yourself struggling with past traumas as well as a substance abuse disorder, Evolutions Treatment Center is here to help. Our therapists are experienced in the utilization of EMDR therapy, and can help you let go of your past so you can succeed in the present. Call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 so we may help you return to the present and succeed in sobriety!



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