woman struggles with traumatic memories

Unable to cope with trauma or stress, individuals often turn to alcohol and drugs, quickly leading to addiction. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an effective way to combat a substance use disorder. In fact, overcoming traumatic memories through EMDR therapy is very much possible. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or distressing thoughts, reach out to San Antonio Recovery Center’s EMDR therapy program for immediate help and relief.

EMDR therapy is a type of psychotherapy formulated by Francine Shapiro in 1988. It is based on the premise that negative thoughts and feelings result from unprocessed memories, and through guided EMDR exercises, one can “correctly” process them and heal. To know more about EMDR and our other evidence-based therapies, call us at 866.957.7885.

Overcoming Traumatic Memories Through EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy is widely used to treat trauma-related disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. Based on the rapid back and forth eye movements, EMDR attempts to diffuse the negative emotions associated with a traumatic memory and replace them with positive associations.

Effects of Traumatic Memories

Unprocessed trauma can adversely affect individuals, holding them back from achieving their full potential. Some common symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Frequent flashbacks to the traumatic event
  • Disturbing or intrusive thoughts
  • Constantly ruminating over past events
  • Sleep-related problems and nightmares
  • Feelings of depression, hopelessness, and shame
  • Random outbursts of anger
  • Avoiding places/situations that may trigger unpleasant memories

However, under the guidance of a trained and compassionate therapist, it is possible to “safely” relive those memories and heal from trauma.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR therapy attempts to “reprogram” the brain by letting go of negative feelings and emotions associated with a traumatic event in order to foster strength and resilience. The main component of EMDR is bilateral stimulation, or BLS, usually in the form of rapid eye movements, tapping, or other stimulation.

At night, during the REM stage of the cycle, the brain usually processes the events of the day. Adequate REM sleep is vital in order to feel “well-rested” in the morning. EMDR therapy tries to replicate the rapid eye movements made during the REM stage, compelling the brain to “reprocess” those events in a safe and comfortable environment. Recalling the event is no longer painful with time and patience, and the client is instilled with positive self-beliefs.

What to Expect in EMDR Therapy

If you are planning to enroll for EMDR therapy, you may expect some or all of the following:

  • Learning the client’s case history
  • Discussing a plan to cope with stress
  • Identifying triggers and traumatic events in the past
  • Focusing on a specific memory to address
  • Identifying the negative self-beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and sensations associated with it
  • Replacing those with positive associations
  • Guided EMDR exercises to “correctly” process the trauma
  • Regular monitoring of progress

EMDR treatment usually takes place in eight phases, and each session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. Often, therapists will personalize the EMDR techniques to the patient’s specific needs. The client eventually heals from the trauma by redirecting their thoughts in a safe and controlled environment.

In most cases, positive results can be seen from the first session onwards.

Get Help at San Antonio Recovery Center

At SARC, we offer EMDR and other evidence-based therapies to help clients process traumatic memories and difficult emotions and gently guide them on the road to healing and sobriety.

From detox to aftercare, we offer a full spectrum of customizable services and individualized care for addiction treatment and recovery. Our expert staff comprising the best doctors, therapists, and healthcare experts ensure that every patient receives quality care, medical attention, and intensive support throughout the recovery journey. With both residential and outpatient treatment options, we strive to make every client feel safe, comfortable, and welcomed.

Change your life for the better. Call us at 866.957.7885 today.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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