If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you are not alone. Millions of Americans face the same battle each and every year.


Fortunately, there are cutting edge therapies available at our rehab facilities in Arizona such as EMDR Therapy, which can reduce the time spent in rehab for many people.


Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Scottsdale offers EMDR therapy along with a long list of other treatments that are available to best help treat every person who walks through our doors.


To help you find exactly what you are looking for in this article, click on any of the topics below:

  1. What is EMDR Therapy?
  2. How is it used for addiction treatment?
  3. What can I expect in a session with a certified therapist?
  4. How does it work?
  5. How long does it take to be effective?
  6. Is there EMDR therapy near me in Arizona?
  7. Contact Pinnacle Peak Recovery today for specialized addiction treatment services.


Developed in the late 1980’s by American psychologist, Francine Shapiro, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is a fairly new type of psychotherapy. According to the EMDR Institute, it was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories; it has since been found to be effective in treating a number of other conditions including drug and alcohol addiction.



What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is a non-traditional type of therapy that was originally designed to treat patients who suffered from side effects of especially traumatic memories. The main principle behind EMDR counseling, which sets it apart from other types of therapies, is that it is based on the idea that the mind has an innate ability to heal itself.


Deep within our brain is an area referred to as the information processing system. It is here that people are able to process information much like a computer. Information is taken in during experiences, compared to the data already available in the mind, and then a response is produced. When a negative experience occurs, the mind attempts to process the emotions that come along with it in order to resolve the experience so that it is complete. However, when a traumatic event occurs, the brain’s ability to process the situation and the feelings that go along with it is often impaired.


This may happen because most people do not have prior similar experiences that they can compare the traumatic event to, and therefore they cannot process it like most other events. As each of us go through life and experience different types of negative situations, our ability to cope and process the accompanying feelings will vary accordingly. For example, someone who grew up in a rough neighborhood where people were often killed may be able to manage death easier than someone who has never seen or known anyone that has been killed. The person who grew up in the dangerous neighborhood is familiar with death and their brain has already developed the ability to process it. However, the person who has never experienced death first-hand would have no prior data on how to process such a situation.


For some people, the difficulty processing emotions or feelings about a negative experience in the past may not seem to carry into the future. However, these unresolved memories can trigger subconscious desires to self-medicate to forget about the painful experience. This can result in substance abuse, alcoholism, or a number of other unhealthy behaviors.


The EMDR process uses guided therapy to address these unresolved emotions, helping your brain process the information that it was not able to resolve earlier. When you are finally able to process the negative memories that you have been holding onto for so long, they no longer cause negative issues. The need to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs can be alleviated as the memories are resolved, allowing you to move on without the use of unhealthy substances.


rehab facilities in Arizonarehab facilities in Arizona


How is EMDR Used for Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 45% of people with a substance abuse disorder also suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Because EMDR was originally developed to help people overcome trauma, this may offer some explanation as to why it is often successful in treating patients who are suffering from an addiction.


Oftentimes people use alcohol or drugs as a method of coping with life and inevitable unpleasant experiences. Turning to mind-altering substances is a way that many people choose to deal with difficult situations as a form of self-medication. Over time, this can lead to unhealthy habits that eventually develop into addiction.


When this therapy is used as part of the overall recovery process, it has been found to be effective for many people. It helps clients overcome traumatic or painful past memories by helping them reprogram their brain; subsequently, they can move forward with a healthier lifestyle.


What’s It Like To Be Treated By a Certified EMDR Therapist?

Each session can last up to 90 minutes and will take place with just you and your therapist. The process will begin with the therapist asking about your history. They will take a very thorough and detailed account of your life and what exactly it is that brought you to treatment.


Next, the certified EMDR therapist will prepare you to properly deal with the emotions and feelings that will likely surface during the rest of your therapy. This includes giving you some coping tools such as relaxation exercises and guided imagery techniques. When this is complete, your therapist and you will have identified a memory of yours that you will begin to work on. This memory will be one that left a lasting negative impression on you and probably left you with an equally negative feeling about yourself. Examples may include feelings that you are unlovable or unworthy. You will be guided through recalling the event while the therapist helps you begin to develop more positive beliefs about yourself.


The therapist will then guide you once again through a specific memory while performing specific eye movement exercises, tapping on your hand, or playing specific audio tones. After each of these sessions, you will be asked to clear your mind as much as possible, and then share whatever feelings or thoughts you have. Depending on the result, a new approach may be used during your next session. Over time, the traumatic experience eventually loses weight in your mind and no longer bothers you.


When the event that was once traumatizing loses its weight in your mind, the certified therapist will begin guiding you through changing your overall feelings of the event to something more positive. This new belief will be strengthened, and it should replace your former negative feelings about the memory. Eventually, you will once again be asked to recall the specific memory that you worked through with your therapist to see if your body has any noticeable reactions to it. Sometimes when recalling a memory, especially a painful or unpleasant one, the body reacts without the mind even realizing it. You may tense up when telling the story when you first begin treatment, but eventually your body should not show any signs of reacting when you think or talk about the event.


Your therapist will check in with you at the end of each session to ensure that you feel better at the end of the treatment than when you first started it. You may also identify accomplishments made during treatment and reinforce the positive new beliefs you have been working on.


The final phase is actually the first step of every therapy session that will follow. The therapist will summarize what you have worked on so far, the progress you have made, and check in with you to see how your feelings have changed outside of your sessions. This is where the therapist can determine where future work still needs to be done.


How does it work?

The theory behind why EMDR is successful for many people suffering from addiction is that the brain inherently wants to heal itself after traumatic experiences. This means that when a traumatic situation is experienced, the brain wants to be able to process it and move forward. However, oftentimes that processing is interrupted by the event itself and people may subconsciously “shut down” the brain’s ability to heal and move forward.


Until you revisit the experience and turn the healing process back on for that particular event, it can be buried in your memories and continue cause future issues. These negative emotions can be re-triggered by things that remind us of the situation, even if these things are subtle and indirect in nature.


But it is not only the major traumatic experiences in life that can cause these sorts of problems. A smaller, seemingly minor event during childhood or adult life could also impact behavior and social experiences going forward, which could ultimately lead people to a path of substance abuse. This leaves the individual with negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. Oftentimes there are feelings of guilt or failure associated with these past experiences as well. Negative beliefs and self-doubt can also ultimately lead to unhealthy choices in the future.


By identifying these moments in life and then systematically processing them with the help of a qualified therapist, the brain is able to finally let go of the feeling that the memory was important to keep in the forefront of the mind. By using these techniques, therapists are able to guide the patient through the pathways in their brain’s memory to dislodge the “roadblock” that has caused trouble in the past.


How long does it take to be effective?

It is important to realize that each individual is different and their responses to different types of therapy will vary. However, this specific therapy has been found to be more effective than other types of therapy for some people. One of the biggest benefits is the fact that it can be successful quickly after beginning treatment.


According to the EMDR Institute, some patients have found that they are able to work through negative experiences from the past in as few as 3 sessions. There have been several studies that have shown that 83-90% of patients can eliminate a diagnosis of PTSD after 4-7 sessions with a trained therapist. Other studies have shown significant progress being made after as little as 3 individual sessions.


Again, each individual is different. Your specific response and the time it takes you to process each of your traumatic events may vary depending on the severity and number of events you and your therapist decide to work through, but overall it is an excellent option for healing quickly from traumatic experiences. 


Is There EMDR Therapy Near Me in Arizona?

EMDR is still a fairly new type of treatment but it is available to you or your loved one who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. If you are in the Scottsdale, Arizona area or are interested in attending treatment in this region, Pinnacle Peak Recovery is proud to offer EMDR as one of many available treatment options.


Whether you are looking for an inpatient residential facility, intensive outpatient program, or something in between, we have what you need to get started on your journey. We offer a variety of treatment options including partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs at our Scottsdale facility, which is led by licensed and trained staff who genuinely care about your success. We provide the highest level of care for each and every one of our clients.


Contact Pinnacle Peak Recovery Today

Why wait another day? Call our facility now and learn how we can help you get back on track with a healthy and happy life that is free from addiction. At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we believe in a holistic approach to overcoming chemical dependency, alcohol abuse, or co-occurring mental health issues. We provide care in a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment.


When you call our 24/7 hotline, you will speak with an intake specialist who will ask you questions about your situation. We know that no two people are the same, and neither are their specific situations. That is why we take each and every individual and build a custom treatment plan around what will work best for them.


Whether you need individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, EMDR, or treatment for a co-occurring mental health concern, Pinnacle Peak is here for you. You don’t have to do this alone. Call our hotline at 866-954-0524 today so that we can help you begin the journey to the rest of your life.


rehab facilities in Arizonarehab facilities in Arizona