Addiction Trauma Treatment Therapy

The Addiction Trauma Treatment Therapy being used is based on the researched work of Susan Brown and Sara G. Gilman of an Integrated Trauma Treatment Program (ITTP) using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); Shapiro, (2001) combined with Seeking Safety, a Cognitive Behavior Therapy [CBT] based group format treatment program for PTSD and substance abuse, Najavits, (2002). The results of the research done showed efficacy for this treatment program and we are using this therapy for addictions. Art therapy is added to increase awareness and feeling states by clients with a concrete example of the process in the resulting art.

Seeking Safety* is a present day focused category of coping skills approaches. It was developed as an integrated treatment for PTSD/substance abuse that can be used in early recovery from both disorders. The treatment manual offers a guide to the therapist and handouts for the clients with core principles being; safety as priority, integrated for trauma and substance abuse, focus is on ideals, four content areas (cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and management), and attention to clinical processes. The seven interpersonal topics are; Asking for Help, Honesty, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Healthy Relationships, Community Resources, Healing from Anger, and Getting Others to Support Your Recovery.
*Najavits, (2002). Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse.

Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) is a method of therapy developed by Francis Shapiro that was initially utilized for PTSD but now used in many different therapeutic situations. An explanation of the EMDR process as explained by Shapiro is a restoration of neural balance and reversal of neural pathology that takes place when saccadic movements are induced along with image and cognition of traumatic memory. This is based on Pavlov’s hypothesis that traumatic memories produce a pathological change in neural elements due to excitatory and inhibitory imbalances in the brain. The pathologic changes of neural elements prevent resolution of normal progression of information processing. The memory remains active in its original anxiety producing form. EMDR promotes the restoration and relieves these symptoms. There are other explanations for EMDR and brain changes in the left and right hemisphere that occur but resulting changes in memory processing that the reduces triggers and distress symptoms in clients is a simple explanation.

Areas EMDR is currently being used are; reduction of PTSD symptoms, sexual abuse and rape for better functioning, stress reduction, distress, anger, pain, depression, ADHD, dissociative disorders, self-esteem issues and personality pathology and spiritual development. This treatment is successfully used with adults, adolescents and children. With children mom and/or dad may be present and I often have the child sit on the parent’s lap while they process.