I use EMDR when treating the trauma in the sex addicts. EMDR was founded by Shapiro. Basically it is reprocessing. Desensitizing, reprocessing, installing healthier cognitions, healthier ways of thinking. The way that I describe it is that we react to things in our everyday life and sometimes we have no clue why we react. We react to our partners, we react to our parents, to our bosses. A lot of what EMDR does is pinpoint why is it that I’m having such a strong reaction. Usually the stronger the emotional reaction, I find the earlier the trauma. Meaning the person experienced the trauma earlier in childhood.
With EMDR we try to go back to that target memory, that initial memory where all of this started getting created where the person developed that first negative cognition. That negative cognition is just a fancy way of saying a negative self-belief. What do I believe about myself? That I’m powerless, that I’m not good enough, that I’m bad, that I’m not going to survive this. Then those beliefs trickle into everything that we experience in life.
With EMDR there’s different types of way to do it. You could do it with what they do like eye movements, with the hands, there’s headphone that you could put on and it has audio. Bilateral stimulation. They could do tactile where you have these buzzers in your hands.
Basically what I think it does is it distracts so that stuff from the subconscious can come up. The wonderful thing about it is the patient doesn’t really have to do anything. All they have to do it sit there and I know that’s sometimes the biggest trouble especially with the addicts, is just sitting there. Even though it’s hard I always encourage it if they could just get past the initial obstacles and stick with it. That they’ll really see the results.