EMDR at Banyan Chicago

Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) is a unique technique that targets a person’s physical and mental responses to negative emotions. EMDR therapy has proven to be a critical aspect of addiction treatment as well as mental health treatment and, therefore, has been used to help people who suffer from trauma, night terrors, anxiety and panic attacks, mental illness, and addiction. It is also helpful in addressing the negative thoughts and emotions associated with the individual’s substance abuse disorder or mental illness. Trauma and negative patterns of thinking often contribute to drug and alcohol abuse as well as poor mental health. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Chicago offers EMDR treatment for addiction that can help patients identify the emotional and physical roots of their conditions and achieve long-lasting sobriety.

Can EMDR Be Used to Treat Addiction?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach primarily designed to address trauma-related symptoms. While EMDR is not a standalone treatment for addiction, it can be a valuable component within a comprehensive addiction treatment plan, especially for individuals who have experienced trauma contributing to their substance use.

Here's how EMDR can be integrated into addiction treatment:

  • Trauma Resolution:
    • EMDR is particularly effective in addressing unresolved trauma, which is common among individuals with substance use disorders.
    • Trauma can be a contributing factor to the development and maintenance of addiction, and resolving these issues may aid in recovery.
  • Reducing Triggers and Cravings:
    • Trauma-related triggers and memories can contribute to cravings and relapse in individuals with addiction.
    • EMDR helps individuals process and reframe traumatic memories, potentially reducing the emotional charge associated with triggers and cravings.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues:
    • Many individuals turn to substances as a way to cope with the distressing effects of trauma.
    • By addressing underlying trauma through EMDR, individuals may experience improved emotional regulation and reduced reliance on substances.
  • Enhancing Coping Skills:
    • EMDR can be integrated with other therapeutic modalities to enhance coping skills and emotional regulation.
    • This combination of approaches supports individuals in developing healthier mechanisms for managing stress and preventing relapse.
  • Improving Overall Mental Health:
    • EMDR can contribute to improved mental health by addressing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other conditions that may co-occur with addiction.
    • Enhanced mental well-being can be a protective factor against relapse.

It's important to note that while EMDR can be beneficial, it is typically used as part of a broader treatment plan that includes other evidence-based approaches for addiction, such as counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups. The integration of EMDR should be guided by a trained therapist experienced in both addiction treatment and EMDR.

Individuals considering EMDR as part of their addiction treatment should undergo a thorough assessment to determine the appropriateness of this approach based on their unique needs and circumstances. The goal is to create a tailored and comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the complex interplay of trauma and addiction.

Benefits of EMDR Treatment For Substance Abuse

EMDR eye therapy utilizes a method referred to as bilateral stimulation, a rhythmic and consistent left-right pattern that can be either auditory, visual, or tactile. This form of stimulation could occur from watching a clock hand move back and forth. Auditory bilateral stimulation could occur when listening to a beat that bounces back and forth between the left and right ear. Francine Shapiro discovered this phenomenon in the late 1980s when she accidentally experienced bilateral stimulation herself. She discovered that this form of stimulation could reveal unprocessed memories and alleviate thoughts and negative emotions caused by trauma.1

EMDR therapy for addiction can be beneficial to people in recovery for several reasons. For one, people often turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with a mental illness or trauma. The symptoms of mental illness can make it difficult for anyone to focus on their responsibilities and their loved ones. Adding an addiction to a mental disorder may only worsen the person’s mental health and overall wellbeing. At Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago, our EMDR program for substance abuse can help patients identify the emotional and physical underlying issues of their addictions and develop healthy coping mechanisms.


EMDR Program For Mental Illness

Mental disorders like major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from exposure to trauma. Symptoms like night terrors, panic attacks, anxiety, and other negative thoughts and emotions can deteriorate a person’s mental health and ability to function as they normally would. A mental disorder can change a person’s character and mind, causing them to act differently towards their loved ones. This can be heartbreaking for them as well as their friends and family. Without mental health or dual diagnosis treatment, it can be difficult for an individual in this position to recover. That’s why our EMDR program in Illinois is one of the many approaches we utilize to treat mental illness.

Alongside our unique therapies and programs, our EMDR treatment for mental health teaches patients healthy ways to cope with negative thoughts and emotions. EMDR helps people relax and find an inner peace that’s often difficult to achieve when suffering from a mental disorder.


EMDR Program In Chicago

In our eight-step program, our trained and licensed clinicians help patients relax and promote mental healing by incorporating a combination of eye movements, therapies, and several kinds of bilateral stimulation. Combined with other treatments like CBT for anxiety and addiction, EMDR is shown to aid our patients meet their recovery goals.


In addition to EMDR, Banyan Chicago also offers various levels of care for treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one need addiction or mental health treatment, contact us today.