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Can EMDR Therapy Assist with PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUDs) are debilitating conditions that often occur as dual diagnoses. PTSD often involves flashbacks, nightmares, agitation and irritability, paranoia and more, making it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks, while SUDs can affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you’ve been diagnosed with both PTSD and an SUD, it’s important that you receive treatment at a reputable treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis. From there, various treatment options can be set in place to help you recover from both.

Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which the client is asked to follow bilateral eye movements while recalling painful or traumatic memories – through this, a therapist guides the client to attach new meanings to these memories, ultimately helping them to move forward with their recovery. EMDR therapy has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of PTSD, which also has the potential to subsequently benefit recovery of SUDs.

A 2018 study conducted by researchers from the UK sought to explore the effects of EMDR therapy on PTSD by analyzing research that had already been conducted on the subject to derive themes. Data from the analysis revealed that EMDR therapy has reduced PTSD diagnoses, reduced PTSD symptoms, and has even been shown, in some instances, to be more effective than other PTSD treatment options. If you move forward with EMDR therapy, what can you expect?

EMDR involves approximately 8 steps: 1) history and treatment planning, 2) preparation, 3) assessment, 4) desensitization, 5) installation, 6) body scan, 7) closure, and 8) re-evaluation. In the beginning sessions of therapy, you will work with your therapist to identify some negative beliefs that you have, such as “I will never get better”. You will then identify positive beliefs that you would like to replace negative beliefs with. Here are a few examples:

  • “I deserve to live a better life.”
  • “I am strong and am capable of moving forward with my life.”
  • “I will take the pain and come back 10 times stronger.”

If you or someone you know has struggled immensely with trauma, help is available. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addiction, and related mental health issues. 1-855-483-7800