Horizon Treatment Services Embraces Innovative Treatment Approaches

The Executive Leadership team at HSI strongly believes that EMDR will significantly benefit client care and aid in the healing process.

Anna Phillips, Ph.D., LMFT

Anna Phillips, Ph.D., LMFT – Horizon Services Chief Program Officer

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy was developed in 1987 (Shapiro, 2018). Dr. Francine Shapiro developed the EMDR technique out of her own trauma and mental health crisis. Shapiro found that during a walk, her eye movements seemed to desensitize her own emotions around distressing memories. This discovery has led to a revolution, with therapists being trained in this special technique that has been clinically proven effective. Over 26 case studies and reports from thousands of clinicians and clients have shown that EMDR provides relief from intrusive and disturbing traumas, as well as other mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety. Shapiro (2018) identified 14 focus areas where EMDR has been proven to positively impact symptoms, including trauma, substance abuse, severe physical abuse, grief and loss, and personality disorders. These areas are highly relevant to the individuals we serve at Horizon Services (HSI).

EMDR therapy consists of eight phases: history taking, client preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation of treatment effects. These stages help therapists shape the goals and treatment course for each client. By focusing on a specific “target” memory that brings disturbance to the client, EMDR work aims to identify negative beliefs and physical sensations associated with the memory. The therapist facilitates desensitization of the targeted memory through rapid eye movements, which are achieved by tracking a fingertip or ball tip back and forth. Although the process may seem simplistic, it is an intensive process for both the therapist and the client, with proven outcomes that make EMDR a valuable addition to the services we offer at HSI.

The Executive Leadership team at HSI strongly believes that EMDR will significantly benefit client care and aid in the healing process. Currently, we provide EMDR therapy services to two clients at Chrysalis, but we aspire to do more for our clients and expand across multiple service lines. Our vision is to train all our current Master’s level clinicians over the next six months and support them through EMDR certification. This will enable them to become formally certified EMDR therapists. We anticipate that with a team of certified EMDR therapists, we will observe increased rates of successful completion and deeper levels of healing for our clients, helping them sustain their recovery. By addressing the root causes of addiction, trauma, mental health symptoms, and other painful experiences, we can facilitate true change.

References:

Shapiro F. The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. Perm J. 2014 Winter;18(1):71-7. doi: 10.7812/TPP/13-098. PMID: 24626074; PMCID: PMC3951033.

Shapiro, F. (2018). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures. The Guilford Press.