It can be challenging to decide what form of therapy will be the most effective for treating mental health. While there are many types to choose from, there are two forms of therapy that are most commonly used: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Moreover, these two therapeutic approaches are staples in Sage Recovery’s psychotherapy model. Before we discuss how important they are to our holistic health approach, we first need to discuss what CBT and EMDR are and how they work.
According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), “Psychotherapy (sometimes called talk therapy) refers to a variety of treatments that aim to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.” NIMH further explains that psychotherapy is often effective in:
Psychotherapy has multiple variations that are effective for treating different conditions and diseases. However, the most common practices used include CBT and EMDR.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on reorienting negative thoughts to more helpful, self-honoring thoughts. Commonly, CBT is used to empower clients to learn how to acknowledge their unhealthy thoughts and emotions in a way that promotes healing. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) explains, “The goal is to reveal and change false and distressing beliefs, because it is often not only the things and situations themselves that cause problems, but the importance that we attach to them too.” Licensed clinicians can help patients identify any unhealthy behaviors attached to undesirable thoughts, find the root of them, and transform them into realistic and fruitful thoughts and behaviors.
IQWiG further explains that CBT is set apart from all other therapies because it primarily focuses on the present instead of the past. It states, “Cognitive behavioral therapy is much more concerned with dealing with current problems. The most important thing is helping people to help themselves: They should be able to cope with their lives again without therapy as soon as possible.” Using CBT doesn’t mean the past is completely ignored, it just means the present is usually dealt with before any past issues are addressed. However, the client’s needs come first and each clinician will determine the best approach based on the client’s individual needs.
IQWiG also details that CBT is commonly used to treat symptoms of the following conditions:
EMDR is another form of psychotherapy that is used to help heal trauma, specifically to help resolve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “PTSD can occur when an experience is inadequately processed and is consequently stored dysfunctionally.” Furthermore, the VA explains, “The original, often fragmented perceptions of the stressors are not integrated with other memories, but rather held separately in a state-specific form with the original distress, making it difficult to resolve the distress.”
EMDR helps to recategorize stressful or traumatic memories into their proper place in the brain. By doing so, there is space to build new, positive associations around the memories. This allows an individual to slowly experience healing as the memories are healthily recategorized. The VA explains, “In EMDR, you will pay attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound while you call to mind the upsetting memory until shifts occur in the way that you experience that memory and more information from the past is processed.” EMDR is typically done over multiple sessions. Just as symptoms from painful past memories developed over time, they’ll also take time to heal.
It is important to note that EMDR should only be done by licensed professionals. Recalling traumatic events can bring up a myriad of emotions and memories. Licensed clinicians will be able to help the patient healthily process these feelings. Clinicians can also provide tools to use if symptoms return or the memories feel temporarily overwhelming. As a result of bringing difficult memories to the forefront of the patient’s mind, EMDR may feel uncomfortable at times. However, it shouldn’t feel unbearable. If it does, notify the clinician right away so they can alter their strategy and provide healthy coping skills.
CBT and EMDR are staples in our psychotherapy model here at Sage Recovery. Not only are these practices evidence-based and backed by other clinicians around the world, but we’ve also seen them work for ourselves. Our master’s-level clinicians are expertly trained in these techniques because we know how much healing they can provide, especially while recovering from addiction or substance use disorder (SUD).
Since the root of addiction and SUD is usually a symptom of something deeper, our licensed clinicians can help identify where the damaging thoughts and behaviors began. As a result, the healing journey is more comprehensive, giving the patient a better chance at healing healthily, as a whole person.
Psychotherapy is often used as a complementary approach to treatment and is combined with other techniques to receive the most beneficial outcomes. Our techniques are deeply embedded with psychotherapy practices and are effective in helping people overcome their struggles and heal healthily. Some of the techniques we use to complement our psychotherapy model include:
Deciding which healing path is right for you can feel overwhelming. There are so many options, it can feel hard to know which one(s) to choose! Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Here at Sage Recovery, we strive to make you feel seen, loved, heard, and healthy. We do that by walking alongside you every step of the way, from that first inquiry all the way into life after recovery. To ensure you receive the dignity and care you deserve, our entire staff is trained to provide trauma-informed care. Reach out to us at (512) 306-1394 to find out how we can walk with you through your healing journey.