When service members return home from active duty, they frequently bring their battles home with them. These often present as substance abuse or mental health disorders. Fortunately, help is available. In fact, treating veterans with EMDR therapy has proven extremely effective in combating these issues. However, understanding this approach is vital.

Transformations at Mending Fences provides eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and many other treatment options. Of course, you’re likely wondering what these approaches can offer. While we can’t explain an entire treatment plan online — mostly due to their customized natures — this guide will give you a better idea of what to expect from treating veterans with EMDR therapy.

If you’ve ever asked “What is EMDR therapy” or are curious how it can help, contact us today at Mending Fences to learn more.

The Process of Treating Veterans With EMDR Therapy

Depression, addiction and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the biggest issues facing veterans today. Like many other mental health therapies, EMDR helps process the trauma that leads to these struggles. This is done by having a client recall specific distressing images while engaged in simple actions that stimulate both hemispheres of the brain.

Therapists employ several actions when treating veterans with EMDR therapy to create bilateral simulation. This can include side-to-side eye movements, hand tapping or even listening to music. The process doesn’t start, however, at the first therapy session. There are several essential phases in the process:

  • Taking history and planning treatment
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installing positive cognition
  • Body scan
  • Reevaluation

While this may seem like an extensive process, results from treating veterans with EMDR therapy may occur in as little as six sessions. Of course, this can vary significantly between individuals. No two people are exactly alike — even when they’re living with the same struggles. That’s what makes an individualized approach so important.

Regardless of treatment duration, the intended goals are the same. By stimulating both hemispheres of the brain while recalling trauma, therapy can access parts of the mind that have hindered progress. This makes it easier to process trauma, and this is a major step in healing.

Treating Veterans With EMDR in a Residential Setting

Since individual needs can vary, many people receive EMDR on an outpatient basis. Of course, the treatment is also available in a residential setting. This is particularly useful for those dealing with addiction or serious mental health issues. It allows EMDR to take place as part of a larger therapeutic approach that’s focused on 24/7 healing.

In a residential setting, a client’s schedule is very structured. That means treating veterans with EMDR in such a facility will frequently occur at the same time every day. Other activities — ranging from Adventure Therapy to group sessions — will occur outside of EMDR sessions. Of course, those dealing with substance abuse may first need to detox before beginning treatment.

Fortunately, that’s one of the many offerings at Mending Fences. Our goal is to meet each of our clients’ needs so they can go back to living a healthy life. If you’re struggling with addiction or mental health difficulties, there’s no excuse for not reaching out. Contact us today to learn how to get started on the path to healing.

Can Treating Veterans With EMDR Help Co-Occurring Disorders?

Unfortunately, most veterans don’t come home facing just one issue. For instance, 80 percent of veterans living with PTSD have at least one other diagnosable mental health disorder. These often lead to physical health problems as well. With so many complex issues, is it possible for one therapeutic offering to provide everything a client needs?

This will vary by person. In most cases, utilizing additional approaches can only help. Fortunately, treating veterans with EMDR therapy can assist with more than just one issue. This treatment has shown positive effects for individuals living with each of the following:

  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dissociative disorder
  • Eating disorders

This list is far from exhaustive. EMDR has shown great promise in the mental health field, and that’s a significant benefit for former members of the Armed Forces. The treatment plan that works best for each person, however, is something they’ll need to discuss with a mental health professional.

Considering the effectiveness and benefits offered by EMDR therapy, though, there’s a good chance it may be part of your treatment plan.

Is At-Home EMDR an Option?

As EMDR therapy has gained more attention, an influx of “do-it-yourself” articles have popped up online. Unfortunately, these overlook many of the realities of dealing with addiction and mental health disorders. It’s rare that a single approach is enough, and it’s important that a trained therapist be on hand to help clients process their trauma.

Treating veterans with EMDR is not just a step-by-step recipe that anyone can follow. It requires trained professionals in a safe setting. Transformations at Mending Fences offers both of these. Don’t trust your well-being to an online instruction manual that’s focused on nothing more than driving traffic to a website.

Get Started on the Path to Wellness Today

While the hurdles veterans face may seem insurmountable, there are effective therapies that can help. There’s no need to continue struggling — especially since health insurers and the VA may cover most of your treatment costs. All it takes is one phone call to get started on the path to physical and mental wellness. Transformations at Mending Fences can help.

Contact us today to learn about how treating veterans with EMDR therapy is changing lives. Our certified staff of professionals can help you understand what’s ahead. And if something is standing in the way of lifesaving treatment, we can point you in the right direction. Don’t continue fighting this battle on your own. Reach out to us today.


Department of Veterans Affairs


American Psychiatric Association


National Alliance on Mental Illness