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EMDR in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

EMDR at Creative Care

Somatic therapies like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR, are based upon theories Dr. Peter Levine developed in the late 1970s after studying the ways in which animals deal with stress. Though animals are under constant threat of death, they rarely show symptoms of trauma. Furthermore, he reasoned that the large amount of energy produced in a fight-flight-or-freeze response needs to discharge. In humans, this discharge of energy can be disrupted by an incomplete immobility phase or freeze response. Furthermore, the development of our prefrontal cortex – our thinking brain – means a disconnect between what we intuitively feel like a threat and what we rationally realize is harmless. This problem is compounded in instances of trauma. The triggers that come with traumatic experiences mean that people can have these physical responses chronically.

How EMDR Dual Diagnosis Works

Because so many individuals suffering from co-occurring substance use disorders have histories of trauma, somatic therapies like EMDR dual diagnosis are essential to successful dual diagnosis treatment. EMDR attempts to bridge the mind-body divide by realigning the instinctual physical response with the rational brain. Since past emotional and mental trauma disrupts our automatic nervous system, EMDR dual diagnosis teaches us how to regain control of the bodily sensations that follow. For example, through traditional talk therapy, a therapist will probe traumatic experiences, triggers, and concerns with a client. They will also have the client notice the physical sensations they experience during the session. At this point, they try some deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, or other relaxation exercises in order to alleviate the symptoms brought on by the discussed triggers. The goal is to create a mind-body connection and release negative emotions stuck in the physical body.

Be Heard. Be Nurtured. Be Healed.™

EMDR, attending to both the physical and the mental, is a good example of our holistic, or “whole person” approach to mental health treatment. Mental health disorders are complex issues requiring multi-faceted solutions. Creative Care offers a blend of evidence-based treatment methodologies in our individualized treatment plans to identify and address difficulties, understand interpersonal dynamics, and develop positive coping skills in place of dysfunctional behavior. A treatment plan may also include:

  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness interventions and meditation
  • Activities groups
  • Psychological and diagnostic testing
  • Family therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Attachment-based therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga

Our fully equipped staff, including a consulting psychiatrist, psychotherapists, registered nurses, counselors, and other highly trained professionals, works as a team to get to the root of each client’s needs. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, please give Creative Care a call today.