In our experience, many people who’ve counted on PACE to achieve lasting recovery need treatment for both substance use disorder and trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s quite common for people who’ve had traumatic or violent experiences to self-medicate with negative, unhealthy behaviors, such as substance use.
The effects of trauma can be long-lasting, making it difficult to imagine life without it. However, PACE Recovery’s unique specialization in trauma treatment helps our clients safely reprocess the emotional, physical and sexual trauma that can contribute to addiction and recreate their lives.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is any experience or event that is physically or psychologically overwhelming, and it’s more common than many people realize. In fact, about 60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. Traumatic events include:
- “Wrong place, wrong time” events, such as accidents or natural disasters.
- Physical abuse or assault.
- Sexual abuse or assault.
- Child abuse.
- Emotional abuse.
- Witnessing trauma, such as death or injury.
The fear felt during and after a traumatic experience triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response, an instinctual reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Most people will recover from trauma naturally, but for some people, that fight or flight response doesn’t shut off. Instead, it kicks into overdrive and the body continues to respond as if it’s under threat, leading to PTSD. Approximately 7-8% of people who experience trauma will develop PTSD.
Orange County EMDR for Trauma Treatment
The after effects of trauma can be debilitating, hindering a person’s ability to function in daily life. However, it’s possible to overcome symptoms. PACE Recovery’s team of therapists utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR), a nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to eliminate negative emotions associated with memories of traumatic events.
Unlike most forms of talk therapy that focus on overcoming trauma, EMDR deals with the symptoms and emotions that stem from the trauma, and it doesn’t require the client to go into detail. The therapist structures a discussion surrounding the negative beliefs, thoughts and feelings resulting from trauma that the client is still experiencing, identifies which beliefs are still relevant, and helps the client replace those negative beliefs with more positive behaviors.
The therapist then uses a hand motion technique similar to hypnosis that guides the client’s eye movements from side to side as they recall the memory of a traumatic event, rewiring the brain’s connection between trauma and negative emotions and beliefs. It allows to client to fully process the negative emotions and reach an understanding that holding on to these beliefs is of no use.
What to Expect in EMDR Therapy
Eventually, the client will reach a point where they can discuss memories of a painful or traumatic event without experiencing the negative emotions that were once associated with it. EMDR therapy is an eight-part process:
- History and treatment planning, during which the client recalls memories of trauma, triggers and goals for treatment.
- Preparation, in which the therapist provides an overview of the treatment plan and introduces the client to the eye movement component.
- Assessment, to identify the negative emotions and beliefs that are triggered by the memory, and to identify positive replacements.
- Desensitization, or the namesake eye movement process.
- Installation, which reinforces positive replacements for negative behaviors and attitudes.
- Body scan, in which the client observes their physical response while recalling trauma. If the client experiences any disturbance, the therapist helps contain it to ensure their safety until the next session.
- Re-evaluation, which occurs at the beginning of each session. The therapist evaluates the client’s psychological state and identifies goals for the current session.
Southern California’s Experts in Trauma & Addiction Recovery
Treatment is just one part of the lifelong recovery journey, so it’s imperative that you know how to manage stress and deal with unpleasant emotions that can trigger a relapse. At PACE Recovery, our team of expert clinicians can help you or someone you care about safely reprocess trauma, overcome addiction and recreate the life you’ve always wanted. Contact an admissions counselor for more information about our programs.