Harbor Village recognizes the powerful relationship between trauma and addiction.
Addiction and trauma are intertwined and often hard to separate. At Harbor Village, we utilize a trauma-informed care model, because statistically speaking, nearly everyone we encounter has endured some sort of traumatic event. Of course, trauma may not have been a specific event. It can be an ongoing situation or even a dysfunctional family dynamic or relationship building over time. The point isn’t the duration of the trauma; it’s the pain that the trauma causes, and the way it can lead to substance abuse and addictive behaviors.
When you experience a traumatic event or situation — whether it’s a natural disaster, physical violence, sexual abuse, a dysfunctional relationship or any other traumatic scenario — your body releases stress hormones, specifically cortisol and adrenaline. When they enter the brain, cortisol and adrenaline shut off the parts of the brain that are responsible for reprocessing the traumatic events.
Later, your body goes through different stages of sleep, including REM — or rapid eye movement — when you dream. During that time, your eyes dart back and forth, which in turn triggers the part of your brain responsible for reprocessing the memories of that day.
When you go through a traumatic event, however, your body effectively stops your brain from processing the event appropriately. When that happens, the brain moves into a fight or flight response to the trauma, which is the origin of PTSD, as well as trauma-related anxiety and depression.
“EMDR” stands for eye movement desensitization reprocessing. The goal of EMDR, then, is to utilize a set of eye movements to stimulate the part of the brain that can help you reprocess these memories appropriately.
If EMDR is a part of your therapy plan, you can expect it to take up your full therapy hour. In fact, it will likely require multiple therapy sessions. Trauma therapy and EMDR are intense, and, because they involve difficult topics, they can be quite emotionally charged and draining.
Many clients with trauma history hold negative beliefs about themselves as a direct result of the trauma. They often manifest physical symptoms as well, including increased anxiety, depression, emotional patterns like unstable relationships.
Harbor Village begins with an assessment to identify those symptoms. Then, we can use EMDR to help reprocess those memories and traumatic situations — so that they’re no longer a source of shame, resentment or anxiety, and no longer fuel for addiction.
Anyone who is struggling with trauma and substance abuse can benefit greatly from EMDR therapy. Traumatic events can affect the way you feel, your relationships and your daily life. By reprocessing those events and emotions, you can expect to feel a tremendous sense of relief.