Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR has been around since the 1980s and has long been used to treat anxiety, PTSD, depression, and other mental disorders. Recently, it’s been gaining traction as a method to heal addiction. EMDR to treat addiction focuses on the trauma associated with addiction—the root cause or multiple contributing factors that drive the addiction. It can also be used to deal with betrayal trauma.
What is EMDR?
In an EMDR session, I will have the patient focus on an external stimulus, such as my finger or a pointer. As we talk about addiction, trauma, and associated memories or beliefs, I will move the stimulus back and forth to stimulate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This retrains the brain and opens the mind up to new perspectives and thinking patterns, which is beneficial when healing trauma and combating addiction. Some describe EMDR as “repairing a loop,” or getting their brain unstuck.
EMDR for the addict:
EMDR in addiction therapy works off the fundamental principle that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. EMDR helps patients recovering from sex addiction by:
- Rewiring the brain by de-linking the positive feelings an addict associates with their sexual addiction.
- Dealing with the trauma that may be at the root of the addiction
- Healing attachment wounds from childhood or past experiences.
EMDR for the partner:
EMDR can also be used to help the partners of addicts deal with betrayal trauma, including feelings of mistrust, anxiety, depression, and other emotional distress. The ways in which EMDR can help partners include:
- Dealing with betrayal trauma.
- Healing negative self-beliefs.
- Empowering and strengthening their sense of self.
It takes courage with true humility and steadfastness to win confidence and admiration”
― Ernest Agyemang