EMDR Therapy San Diego

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic intervention often utilized in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma related issues. Specifically, EMDR assists residents in appropriately processing prior traumatic experiences that have continued lingering effects. Many individuals who misuse substances have had traumatic events occur that have not been processed, which may fuel their addiction.

It is not uncommon for individuals to self-medicate to cope with their past trauma. When someone has had an acute traumatic event, there is a negative impact on the person’s sense of self. Because of the disturbing nature of the experience, the brain’s information processing system has been interrupted, essentially creating an unprocessed memory that can emerge as if the trauma is happening again.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

According to Dr. Francine Shapiro – the pioneer of EMDR therapy: “The hypothesis is that the procedural elements of EMDR . . . trigger a physiological state that facilitates information processing.” This information processing of eye movements is believed to facilitate an “adaptive resolution,” meaning that past trauma has been appropriately processed and is no longer disturbing to the resident.

Using EMDR therapy, the resident can address their distressing experience(s) in a safe, therapeutic environment. By releasing the post-traumatic stress of prior painful events, the resident can learn about the experience and move forward in their lives.

AToN has trained therapists with years of experience in treating PTSD and trauma through EMDR therapy. EMDR can be used with other modalities to help the resident with their PTSD symptoms and co-occurring symptoms. Residents often report a great deal of relief even after just one EMDR therapy session.

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Benefits of Trauma Treatment in San Diego

A trauma-informed approach is really just looking at everything from a trauma-informed lens. What that means is that at AToN, we understand that disturbing emotional events and traumatic events are the core issue. Addiction is a symptom of that trauma. So, for people who suffer from a mental health condition or addiction, trauma-informed treatment helps people cope.

When you undergo EMDR therapy with AToN, we’ll work together to not only understand the root causes of your trauma, but also find solutions that only apply to you. Your past will help us to guide you on your path into the future.

EMDR – the tracking of rapid eye movement – empowers your brain to start its own processes to recovering from traumatic events. EMDR will allow a resident to recall an event without the previously associated reactions to the memories. When too much stress builds up in the body, it can weigh negatively on the mind and cause these processes to halt entirely. EMDR allows the continuation of these processes and brings a person a more natural healing process.

Sometimes a change in perspective can do wonders on the mind. Seeking addiction recovery at AToN Center in San Diego might open your mind up to the change needed to transform your mind, body, and spirit.

Types of Trauma

Trauma is not a one-size, fits all diagnosis. At AToN Center, we understand that trauma is unique to the individual and that it comes in many different shapes and sizes. During the initial stage of EMDR therapy, we’ll take the time to truly understand the root causes of your trauma and help you understand what type of trauma you are grappling with.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What to Expect from EMDR Therapy with ATON

At AToN Center, we use a trauma-focused lens for our treatment approache because we acknowledge that the vast majority of our residents have some underlying trauma. We know not necessarily every resident that walks through our door will have trauma, but we’ve found that a strong majority of our residents have experienced some form of trauma, and that taking a trauma-focused approach makes for the most effective treatment for recovering from a traumatic experience.

When we engage our residents in the EMDR therapeutic process, at AToN we always want to ensure that we’re acknowledging any underlying traumas and assessing how they are related to any addictive process.

Here are some addictions that benefit from effective therapy with EMDR:

AToN's Trauma-Informed Approach To EMDR

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EMDR at AToN Center works by reprocessing your traumatic memories over and over, repeatedly until they don’t hold as much power over you in the way that they do when you first think about them or when you first have those traumatic images or flashbacks.

When you go through EMDR, you’ll be reprocessing your memories over and over until you’re able to detach from them and see them from a point of view where you’re not necessarily reliving them. Your memories are something that happened to you. They’re something that you experienced, but they’re something that you’ll learn to distance yourself from.

Who Benefits from EMDR?

Anyone who has trauma in their past may be able to benefit from EMDR sessions, however appropriateness will be determined by the Clinical Team. Being able to retell your story privately in talk therapy is incredibly powerful. You’ll be able to share with your certified EMDR therapist what you like, but you can also keep personal experiences to yourself. EMDR is perfect for AToN Center because having 24-hour care is protective for our residents, and they’re able to engage in deep talk therapy and other therapeutic work without the risk that they might have in an outpatient setting.


AToN Center is a luxury drug and alcohol specializing in addiction treatment for individuals who are struggling with all types of addiction and mental health disorders. Located in San Diego, California, AToN has a one-of-a-kind staff who are all specially trained to help you or your loved ones overcome their trauma and emotional distress with EMDR therapy.

From an on-site chef who can cook you the meals of a lifetime to holistic treatment options overlooking sprawling green hills, coming to. AToN Center is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to help you heal on your path to recovery. Our goal is to make you feel like you’ve never even left home.

For more information on AToN Center, our EMDR therapy options, or other ways we utilize trauma-informed care, please contact us. We can help you verify your insurance, discuss our specific program modalities, and assist you with finding the right program and certified EMDR therapist for your needs.