Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – EMDR

Most of the clients served by The Center have a history of distressing life events or difficulties with addictive behaviors.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal psychologically in a manner similar to how they heal physically, utilizing the natural resources of the brain. As the most empirically supported model of psychotherapy, EMDR is a highly effective and efficient intervention, allowing clients to more quickly experience the significant relief that once took years to achieve.

Much like the body heals from a wound, the brain’s information processing system naturally moves from stress toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event or the introduction of addictive behaviors, the system can stall, leading to intense suffering or compulsive behavior patterns. Using detailed protocols and procedures, EMDR clinicians help clients “unblock” the brain’s processing system, reactivating its natural healing processes and helping the client regain control over issues like substance abuse.

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment involving eye movements or other bilateral stimulation. As the movements occur, for reasons potentially informed by the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the “stuck” information and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on both cognitive and emotional levels. Unlike talk therapy, the client’s new insights derive not from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own natural processes. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

To determine whether a client is appropriate for EMDR treatment, clinicians will complete a thorough assessment of client history, dissociation symptoms (which can interfere with EMDR protocols), other trauma symptoms, and the client’s coping resources. While a client might be highly motivated to utilize EMDR, assessments must indicate that the protocols of the treatment can be implemented successfully before traumatic memories or addictive behaviors are addressed.

All therapists at The Center utilizing EMDR have attended an EMDRIA approved training. For more information about EMDR, please visit: http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/


Full of hope and peace

When we brought our son to The Center our home was a place of chaos, anxiety and stress. Through the incredible work by the staff at The Center -- we’re now seeing our son at his best. Not only is he clean and sober, but he’s full of hope and peace. The Center not only gave us our son back -- but it also helped to make our family whole again. We owe a debt of gratitude for this second chance.

~ Parent