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What Is EMDR & How Does It Support Recovery?

woman sitting with therapist going over what is emdr

Everyone has experienced some level of trauma in their lives. And not unlike falling from a bicycle when you were ten, trauma can leave scars. Even though these scars are mental, and you can’t physically see them, this trauma can cause a lifetime of distress, automatic fear responses, and even mental illness. What is EMDR? It is a method you can use to tackle these traumas head-on and change the way your body responds to them.

This reduces the scarring to promote healing and a more fulfilling life.

What Is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that therapists use with patients to heal painful trauma from even the most terrible life events. EMDR works off the premise that healing from emotional trauma is a lot like healing from physical trauma such as a cut, burn, or broken leg.

If you have a physical wound, what happens when you keep irritating it? It won’t close. It may become infected. The scarring gets worse. Similarly, emotional traumas also fester and refuse to heal. Irritations block healing. You can remove these blocks using EMDR so that healing can begin. But don’t misunderstand what EMDR is. Not irritating a trauma doesn’t mean you ignore it. On the contrary, you’ll be bringing it to the surface with support.

In an EMDR session, individuals relive their trauma in brief doses guided by their therapist. Recalling trauma in this way is less emotionally upsetting, giving clients the ability to identify and analyze their issues with their therapist.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR typically works in several phases. You must have guidance through these phases because a lot of emotional and mental issues can come to the surface. You will need to feel that hurt emotionally for a time. But you will learn techniques to manage and process these feelings as you progress.

You will work with someone to identify what your traumas are and how they are affecting you. For example, an abusive relationship in the past may have caused trauma. Even though that person is gone, you find it hard to connect with friends, family, or a spouse who loves you. You might keep them at arm’s length to stay safe.

Ultimately, this may have nothing to do with them. Those past traumas are impacting your ability to have a healthy relationship with people who love you.

People need to feel connected to people. So this may have led you down a road of addiction, aggression, fear, and despair.

Understanding EMDR gives individuals one more therapeutic option to help them process feelings around trauma so that the injury loses its power. It is a means to regain control over your emotional responses and, thus, their actions in response to these feelings. It involves a combination of eye movements, tapping, and sounds to both identify the trauma and desensitize you to it. So it won’t hurt so much anymore.

How Integrative Life Center Uses EMDR

The Integrative Life Center in Nashville uses EMDR as part of our individualized, evidence-based, and holistic approach to addiction treatment. Our experienced counselors and therapists not only use EMDR to address trauma and mental health issues but a wide variety of therapeutic treatments. In our programs, your therapists will guide you through the healing process using therapies like:

You’ll get to the root causes and learn skills to live a healthier life in recovery. So if you feel trauma is getting in the way of life, furthering your addictions, and causing mental health challenges, please call us at 615.455.3903 to learn more.

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