Many people have experienced an adverse or traumatic event, at some point in their life. Among those who struggle with addiction, unresolved trauma can have a significant impact on their current substance abuse.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that helps clients heal from traumatic experiences.
EMDR guides clients to reflect and release a particular aspect of the traumatic memory, so they can stop reliving the emotional turmoil.
At Swift River, we pride ourselves on being a trauma-informed care facility. This means that we do our best to ensure clients have every opportunity to recover from the difficulties of their past.
We offer EMDR therapy as part of our residential treatment program. In addition to EMDR, we provide traditional and alternative addiction treatment services.
Ready to make a change?
Call to speak with a treatment specialist.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that helps people heal from the emotional distress that can be caused by disturbing life experiences.
In the 1980s, therapist Dr. Francine Shapiro noticed that when her clients displayed lateral eye movements during a session, they seemed to experience a reduced emotional response to trauma.
This inspired Shapiro to guide clients to move their eyes laterally, as a way to help them process traumatic memories.
EMDR has helped thousands of people rise above past traumatic experiences. A report at the National Institutes of Health found that 70 percent of studies report EMDR therapy as quicker and more effective than trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy alone.
Because of its effectiveness, Swift River provides EMDR-trained therapists who help clients learn the process of releasing trauma.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
The first two phases of EMDR involve the therapist and client getting to know one another.
During this time, clients share their personal history and discuss any difficult memories they have.
Next, the client and therapist work together to pinpoint a memory that causes emotional distress. The therapist may ask the client to describe what they saw, felt, or heard during that traumatic event.
Some EMDR-trained therapists move a finger back and forth, to guide the client toward lateral eye movement. In many cases, this produces a reduced emotional response.
Other EMDR-trained therapists use tapping or gentle vibration to elicit a reduced emotional response.
Essentially, EMDR allows clients to revisit the memory from an emotional and psychological distance and process it in a safe environment.
What Are The Benefits Of EMDR Therapy At Swift River?
Recovering from trauma is a key element of healing from drug and alcohol addiction.
While many people have adverse childhood experiences, people who suffer from addiction may not have properly dealt with issues from their past. Instead, they turn to substances.
By engaging in EMDR therapy sessions, clients are able to gain rapid relief from the effects of their trauma.
Repeated studies show that clients who engage in EMDR can experience therapeutic benefits that, with other forms of therapy, could take years to achieve.
Additional benefits of participating in EMDR therapy at Swift River include:
Decreased Negative Emotions
One of the challenges of recovering from addiction is the reality of emotions. As they begin the journey of sobriety, people who use substances to mask difficult feelings may feel emotionally defenseless.
Multiple research studies have found that EMDR therapy creates “rapid decreases in negative emotions,” and can reduce the intensity of disturbing memories.
At Swift River, EMDR therapy helps empower our clients toward optimal mental and emotional wellness.
Enhanced Physical Wellness
When trauma occurs, it can manifest in a host of physical side effects. Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, numbness, and low mood. A delayed response to trauma may manifest as fatigue, sleep disorders, nightmares, or anxiety.
Fortunately, researchers have found that EMDR can improve a person’s physical symptoms of trauma. Sensations and activities that were linked to the trauma lose their power, and triggering situations become easier to face.
At Swift River, we know that addiction affects each person in a unique way. Because of this, we value a highly personalized treatment approach.
Our treatment facility offers a 10:1 client-therapist ratio in order to ensure clients receive individualized treatment.
With these ratios, Swift River program staff provides a comprehensive continuum of care that includes traditional and alternative approaches to treatment, including EMDR therapy.
Is EMDR Therapy At Swift River Right For Me?
Adverse experiences are common and widespread. Trauma is now considered a major public health problem in the U.S. Similarly, substance abuse and addiction are also a public health crisis.
When trauma occurs, it’s natural to develop coping strategies. Unfortunately, people who suffer from addiction may view drugs and alcohol as the only way to deal with traumatic memories.
At Swift River, clients practice resilience through therapies like EMDR. Individual and group therapy sessions are also offered, which help clients learn healthy coping skills.
Swift River is set against the scenic Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. After intensive therapy sessions, clients can enjoy refreshing time outdoors in the mountain air.
During treatment at Swift River, clients have access to additional treatment services, including:
- medical detoxification
- outdoor recreation
- yoga instruction
- gender-specific treatment
- music and creative arts therapy
- 12-step support groups
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- continuing care and aftercare programs
EMDR is a successful tool for healing past trauma and developing emotional resilience. By learning healthy ways of coping with the past, clients prepare themselves for a positive and successful future.
For more information on EMDR therapy at Swift River, contact one of our treatment specialists today.
- EMDR Institute, Inc. — What is EMDR?
- National Alliance on Mental Illness — Dual Diagnosis
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health — Chapter 3Understanding the Impact of Trauma, The Role of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in Medicine: Addressing the Psychological and Physical Symptoms Stemming from Adverse Life Experiences, Substance use, childhood traumatic experience, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in an urban civilian population