EMDR Therapy In Knoxville, TN

While traditional therapy helps many people with mental health disorders, those with trauma often struggle to find relief even after years of therapy. Fortunately, evidence-based therapies like EMDR therapy can speed up the process of healing from trauma. Tennessee Valley Recovery offers EMDR therapy in Knoxville, TN for those with trauma-related mental health disorders.

distressed woman meets therapist for EMDR therapy in Knoxville, TN

What is EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, TN?

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is an alternative therapy that has been gaining popularity in the addiction treatment world in recent years. EMDR helps people who have experienced trauma by desensitizing them with bilateral stimulation as they discuss their trauma. This stimulation is thought to calm the central nervous system, reducing the negative emotions associated with traumatic memories.

The link between trauma and addiction has been established for many years. As the evidence of the effectiveness of EMDR grew, addiction treatment facilities began incorporating it into their programming. At Tennessee Valley Recovery, we offer EMDR therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee as a way to more effectively treat our clients with a history of trauma, ensuring a higher rate of success in their sobriety.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR works by calming the central nervous system while a client recalls their trauma. When a person experiences a traumatic event, their central nervous system becomes overly reactive and vigilant. In other words, the person is always on alert for the next threat in their lives. These feelings lead to negative thoughts and beliefs about the client themselves and the world around them.

During EMDR therapy, a therapist will keep their client calm by using bilateral stimulation with eye movements or other methods. By remaining calm, a person can recall and process traumatic events. They can also replace negative thoughts about themselves and the world with positive ones.

What is Bilateral Stimulation?

Bilateral stimulation is any sensory stimulation that a person repeatedly tracks from the left side of the body to the right. For example, tapping one’s left and right leg alternatively is a form of bilateral stimulation. Hearing tests, which involve sounds from one ear to the next, are another example. During EMDR therapy, a therapist usually uses eye movements from left to right. Alternatively, they can use other senses like touch and hearing as well.

How Does Bilateral Stimulation Help During EMDR Therapy?

Repetitive bilateral stimulation has a calming effect on the central nervous system because it gets a person out of their thoughts and focused on something else. Therefore, bilateral stimulation helps keep a person calm while discussing distressing traumatic events during EMDR therapy. In addition, a therapist will teach the person other calming techniques. These include deep breathing or counting backward to aid with the sessions for example.

therapist holds up two fingers for client to follow movement with eyes during EMDR therapy

What are the Phases of EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, TN?

The overall focus of EMDR is to help a client process their emotions and memories related to traumatic events. By working through negative emotions and memories in a calm environment, clients can better cope with everyday stress and move forward. While EMDR therapy can vary from provider to provider, it typically involves eight different phases. These include:

Phase 1

EMDR begins with digging into the client’s history and background. This usually takes 1 or 2 sessions. This phase helps the therapist find out what they need to target in future sessions. The focus of future sessions can include both traumatic events and other problem areas.

Phase 2

The therapist will prepare the client for treatment by explaining exactly what they will be doing. They will also instruct the client on techniques to help them deal with the stress of reliving their trauma. This includes breathing and other relaxation exercises, which are coping skills a person can use after EMDR therapy as well.

Phase 3

During this phase, the therapist and client will work together to identify traumatic events. They will also discuss emotions related to the trauma. The therapist will help the client learn healthy and positive ways to deal with the stress these emotions cause.

Phase 4

This is the phase at which the actual work of the EMDR begins. The client will be asked to relate their traumatic events and the negative thoughts related to trauma. For example, a client might blame themselves for a traumatic event or believe that the world is unsafe. During EMDR therapy, the therapist will help a client identify and change these negative thought patterns.

Phase 5

In this phase, the therapist works on more reprocessing. As a result, they further instill positive thought patterns as well as current strides clients have made in overcoming addiction and everyday stress.

Phase 6

At this point, the therapist and client go back to check for any remaining negative thoughts and beliefs related to the targeted trauma. If there are any, the sessions will continue to reprocess these thoughts.

Phase 7

During this phase, the therapist will reassess the client’s reactions to the events to make sure that the treatment has been successful. The therapist also ensures that the client feels the positive effects of the therapy.

Phase 8

Once again, the therapist and client reevaluate the work they have done to make sure they have met the goals set at the start of treatment. If there are any lingering issues, they will go back to the appropriate phase to continue working toward the goals. If all goals have been met, the treatment is finished.

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Benefits of EMDR Therapy

The most effective way to treat addiction is to get to the root cause of it. Since many people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a history of trauma end up with an addiction, EMDR can increase the chances that clients can overcome their addiction. Further, it can help them maintain their sobriety. Thus, many people who use EMDR have a reduction in their trauma symptoms, including flashbacks. Some report no longer experiencing symptoms of trauma after completing EMDR. 

Another benefit of EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee is that it does not use any medication. This means there is no time lost trying to get dosages right or dealing with adverse side effects. Instead, it relies totally on the use of sensory stimulation. EMDR takes place over a limited amount of sessions rather than continuing for several months or years at a time. 

EMDR also proves useful in treating other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Someone who experiences one or more of those conditions alongside trauma often gets multiple benefits from EMDR.

How Do I Know I Need EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, TN? 

If the negative thoughts and emotions spurred by your trauma are taking a toll on your day-to-day life, EMDR therapy can help. These painful feelings can put stress on you, making it hard to treat your addiction.

If you are still uncertain whether or not EMDR therapy is right for you, it is best to be evaluated by a mental health professional. They will talk through your trauma, how it affects your quality of life, and how it adds to your struggle with addiction.

veteran begins EMDR therapy in Knoxville, TN, for PTSD

EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, TN

While EMDR may not have been originally intended for use in treating cocaine, alcohol, or other chemical addictions, many studies show that EMDR can help. Addressing co-occurring trauma in a way that reduces the effect it has on your daily life is vital to recovery. It is important to also receive other forms of addiction treatment alongside EMDR Therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is because it is most effective as a complementary therapy rather than a stand-alone one.

Our treatment options give every client a chance to design a recovery plan that addresses their needs in an individualized way. We are here to help guide you through every step of the healing process until you are ready to go back to your everyday life. See the difference that overcoming your addiction–and your trauma–can make for your happiness and quality of life. If you or someone you love has a history of trauma and is struggling with addiction, contact us today.

A New Day Begins with Tennessee Valley Recovery

It is time to put your health and wellbeing first. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help you put a stop to your active addiction and begin living a life of recovery.

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