Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR): A treatment protocol for addicted inmates with traumatic histories


Substance Abuse is the use and abuse of mood and mind altering substances often having undesired effects on the lives of those addicted, and having a negative impact on the lives of others. Those addicted may expose themselves and others to physical and psychological harm; may create forensic problems; cause disintegration of the family, and problematic interpersonal relationships. Underlying reasons for addictive behavior include but are not limited to: genetic predisposition, psychosocial involvement, psychobiological complications, developmental conditions, and pre-existing psychological and environmental events. Some deficits found in those addicted include: poor coping skills, inability to problem solve, inability to function in difficult situations, and may use cognitive avoidance as a means of coping with life. The idea that children might be negatively impacted by exposure to substance abuse using parents is not a new revelation. However, the degree of damage done to these children is severe, and more is being learned about the severity of that damage. Children often are enmeshed with their dysfunctional families, and many problems arise involving their inability to maintain intimate relationships with others. Attachment issues may develop in infancy and early stages of maturation, and adversely affect children's ability to function as adults. Abusive pasts and traumatic incidents often may hinder the psychological growth and maturity of those who have experienced trauma and abuse.Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new concept of treatment. It was first designed to address therapy with those who had been exposed to trauma. However, over the past 22 years since its inception, it has been adapted to treat many other types of Axis I disorders. It has been determined that EMDR is useful in addressing substance abuse and other Axis I diagnoses, especially PTSD. Hiller, Knight, and Simpson completed a study with 161 persons who resided at a residential halfway house for newly released inmates. Their results found: 80% of the sample of had psychological problems; 72% had significant drug abuse problems; 58% had concurrent psychopathology and drug abuse problems. Research indicates prison confinement is increasing, and the idea of therapy in the forensic setting is gaining in popularity. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is to design a substance abuse program to address the difficulties of substance abuse treatment for the dual diagnosed clients. The data collected from this program will help provide much needed information in order to further research and increase our understanding of the needs of this underserved population.






Barbara Krystal Rose

Original Work Citation

Rose, B. K. (2004). Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR): A treatment protocol for addicted inmates with traumatic histories. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 64(8-B), 4060



“Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR): A treatment protocol for addicted inmates with traumatic histories,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17426.

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