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EMDR Therapy - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Oro House uses EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in our Los Angeles and Malibu treatment centers as a tool for developing coping mechanisms to overcome PTSD and trauma.

EMDR has also shown to be effective for treating addiction and other mental health conditions related to past trauma or adverse childhood experiences.

In 2013, the World Health Organization recommended EMDR Psychotherapy as one of the most important approaches for treating PTSD, along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

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What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” and is a psychotherapy technique developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a newer form of therapy that has become more popular in recent years after being validated by The WHO and other health and medical organizations.

Unlike more traditional forms of treatment for mental health conditions, like medications or talk therapy, EMDR relies on a patient’s eye movements to access traumatic memories.

Once a link or association to traumatic memories is identified, the EMDR therapist works with the patient to develop coping mechanisms for overcoming them.

The initial objective of this therapy was to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

EMDR has shown to be effective for individuals who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved. According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms.

The memory and associated stimuli of a traumatic experience are often inadequately processed, and stored in an isolated memory network.

The Goal of EMDR Therapy

The goal of EMDR therapy is to process distressing memories, reduce their lingering effects, and allow clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

This is done using an eight-step protocol that includes having clients recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, including side-to-side eye movements.

The use of EMDR was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD, however, it is now also used to treat addiction and other conditions, as well as children.

Francine Shapiro first developed EMDR upon noticing that certain eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thoughts and followed it up with a scientific study in 1989.

The success rate of that first study using trauma victims was posted in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Shapiro developed EMDR therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, after speculating that traumatic events “upset the excitatory/inhibitory balance in the brain, causing a pathological change in the neural elements.”

She noted when she was experiencing a disturbing thought, her eyes were involuntarily moving rapidly. She further noticed that when she brought her eye movements under voluntary control while thinking a traumatic thought, anxiety was reduced.

What is EMDR Therapy Useful For?

Even though EMDR was originally used for treating PTSD, it has been shown to be beneficial for overcoming many other mental health conditions related to trauma or adverse experiences.

Addiction and some mental illnesses are thought to be the result of unresolved pain, and many times this is caused by a past traumatic event.

EMDR is now recommended as an effective treatment for trauma in the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is used for treating the following conditions: 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic Disorders
  • Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol
  • Eating Disorders
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Psychosis

Some people prefer EMDR to medications for certain conditions and it can be even more powerful well when used together with other treatment methods such Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

At Oro House, our treatment team has found much success using EMDR as a therapy approach for clients dealing with unresolved trauma that has led to PTSD, addiction, and other issues.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is one of the many treatment modalities we use at Oro House Recovery Centers.

Our comprehensive program offers a wide range treatment therapies that are tailored to each person’s individual needs, and goals for recovery.

Oro House is licensed by the California Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) and Accredited by The Joint Commission, which is recognized as the Gold Standard of patient care.

We were recognized by Newsweek as a Best Addiction Treatment Center in America and California in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Call us at (888) 595-0235 to find out more about EMDR Therapy in Los Angeles and Malibu, California.