EMDR Therapy in Addiction Treatment

It’s no secret that addiction issues and mental health issues are closely connected and usually inseparable. We have observed that most, if not all, of our patients have developed addiction issues because of deeper underlying problems related to trauma, which show up as compulsive behaviors. When an individual does not know how to cope with their trauma, or trauma induced stressors, they escape to using substances such as drugs and alcohol to alleviate their pain.

Where EMDR Comes in

EMDR, short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is an interactive therapy modality that uses eye movement and tapping while an individual is asked to share their traumatic experiences. Unlike talk-only therapy, this bilateral stimulation helps to reduce a person’s stress levels while they share their pain by creating distance and a sense of separation from their problems.

EMDR has been shown to help reprocess an individual’s thoughts, feelings and experiences in a healthier way, so that it can be used as a technique to divert themselves from craving drugs or alcohol. Over time, this technique can help process painful, traumatic events and experiences to equip practitioners with better coping strategies, and more resilient reactions.

Benefits of EMDR in Addiction Treatment

We have seen that EMDR is especially helpful for our patients suffering from psychological trauma. EMDR can help:

Manage TraumaOvercome Stress and Anxiety
Reduce DepressionRegulate Emotions

How we use EMDR at California Prime

Our licensed therapists are experienced in using EMDR to help our patients identify the roots of their emotional and psychological trauma. They also help our patients in addressing their painful past events and experiences so that they learn to manage their emotions and stressful thoughts in the presence of an experienced therapist. We also provide supportive techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness and visualization in order to replace their go-to addictive habits and behaviors. Overtime, EMDR helps our patients learn to regulate their emotions by reprocessing them, and reducing relapses. This can help them maintain long term sobriety and boost their self esteem.

Overview of EMDR Process

If you’re struggling with addiction related to past trauma or family history, please reach out to discuss how we can help you: 866-415-6313

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.