Eating Disorder TreatmentOrange County, California, Eating Disorder Treatment ProgramEating DisorderEating DisorderRebecca's House, Eating Disorders Treatment Programs

EMDR in Eating Disorder Treatment

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is known to be the most effective treatment for trauma. At Rebecca’s House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs™ we find approximately 30 to 40% of clients with eating disorders have underlying trauma. Sometimes this is the reason for developing the eating disorder or maintaining the disorder even after going to several eating disorder treatment programs. When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This is called trauma. EMDR seems to stimulate the information of the trauma and allows the brain to reprocess the experience. That may be what is happening in REM or dream sleep—the eye movements (tones, tactile) may help to reprocess the unconscious material. Trauma symptoms include the following:

  • inability to regulation affect and impulses
  • attention deficit disorder
  • impaired self-perception
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • hostility
  • misinterpretation of other’s perception of them
  • impaired ability to maintain relationships with others
  • construed systems of meaning
  • somatization ( emotions causing physical pain or sickness)
EMDR has been evaluated and researched. The evidence based treatment research has shown that EMDR is an effective tool in the treatment of trauma. A controlled study of the treatment of PTSD using EMDR was funded by Kaiser Permanente. The results showed that 100% of single-trauma and 77% of multiple-trauma survivors were no longer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after six 50-minute sessions.( Marcus, S., Marquis, P. & Sakai, C. (1997). Controlled study of treatment of PTSD using EMDR in an HMO setting. Psychotherapy, 34, 307-315.)
EMDR was placed in the “A” category as “strongly recommended” for the treatment of trauma for Veterans returning from war. (Department of Veterans Affairs & Department of Defense (2004). VA /DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress. Washington, DC: Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Health Affairs, Department of Defense. Office of Quality and Performance publication 10Q-CPG.PTSD-04.)
Using EMDR our therapist is able to help the client process the trauma without having to reexperience the trauma. When the client is assessed to be ready for EMDR by our treatment team and our EMDR Preparedness Assessment test they are assigned to our onsite EMDR specialist. The primary therapist and the EMDR therapist are able to collaborate and closely follow the progress of the client.