Several important ingredients that contribute to someone’s “addiction” to their abuser are oxytocin (bonding), endogenous opioids (pleasure, pain, withdrawal, dependence), corticotropin-releasing factor (withdrawal, stress), and dopamine (craving, seeking, wanting). With such strong neurochemistry in dysregulated states, it will be extremely difficult to manage emotions or make logical decisions.
The term ‘trauma bond‘ is also known as Stockholm Syndrome. It describes a deep bond which forms between a victim and their abuser. Victims of abuse often develop a strong sense of loyalty towards their abuser, despite the fact that the bond is damaging to them.
The symptoms of trauma bonding can manifest:
- Negative feelings for potential rescuers
- Support of abusers reasons and behaviours
- Inability to engage in behaviours that will assist release/detachment from abusers
EMDR is talked about in a transformative manner. There are conditions, which need to be present for EMDR to work, and connections exist between the EMDR method and therapist as agents of change. For practitioners, a pluralistic approach, incorporating the EMDR method could be used to carry out tasks in therapy to achieve therapeutic goals based on the client’s requirements. In research, the paucity of qualitative studies could be addressed by engaging counselling psychologists, as scientific enquirers and artistic therapists, to expand research into clients’ experiences of EMDR to improve therapeutic practice and treatment programmes. Areas suggested for further qualitative experiential research include adverse effects, tolerability and withdrawal from therapy; EMDR for specific populations, such as combat veterans where the quantitative evidence is equivocal; and EMDR therapy practised in inpatient settings.