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It wasn’t the problem; it was the solution: Addiction, The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, and the Role of EMDR Therapy

altCourse: It wasn’t the problem; it was the solution:
Addiction, The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, and the Role of EMDR TherapySusan Brown Photo

altInstructor: Susan Brown, LCSW

alt Approved for 3.0 Hours of CE Credit

altFulfills License Requirements

alt High Resolution Video

Program Description:

Addictions were already affecting a staggering percentage of the population prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. Since 2020, addictions of all kinds including, but not limited to: alcohol, stimulants, opiates, pornography, sex, disordered eating, shopping, internet and social media compulsivity, have either increased or appeared for the first time. Any substance or behavior that helped people relieve stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom and disconnection, became high risk for abuse, and relapse became more common. Physical social connection became hard to come by. Those struggling with addictions need connection more than anything else. The pandemic and its consequences triggered many people back into earlier times of trauma, disconnection, and old unhealed memories thereby fueling their maladaptive behavior patterns.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study indisputably demonstrates that early traumatic life experiences are significantly correlated with major mental and physical health problems such as obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, depression, suicide, domestic violence, HIV, smoking, and heart and liver disease. Drug, alcohol, and other compulsive behaviors usually begin as a “solution” to the problem of managing the negative long-term effects of these ACEs. Unfortunately, the addictions quickly become the more pressing problem as people lose control of their behaviors regardless of the adverse consequences associated with them. EMDR therapy appears to unlink maladaptive positive memory networks including craving and euphoric recall, as effectively as it unlinks negative trauma-related memory networks. The combination of reprocessing both types of memories focus on reducing and/or preventing chronic relapsing by clearing the fuel that keeps the fires burning. This workshop proposes the integration of the standard 8-phase, 3-pronged EMDR protocol along with addiction-specific modifications may be an ideal approach for some of the most treatment-resistant behavior patterns of our time.

The workshop presents an overview of the addiction-specific outcomes from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, demonstrates case conceptualization and treatment planning utilizing the ACE questionnaire and the AIP, and integrates the standard EMDR therapy approach and addiction-specific protocol modifications using PowerPoint, case studies and client videos.

Keywords: addiction, EMDR, ACE study, memory, relapse

Goals & Objectives:

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Describe 3 ways in which childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences create conditions for symptoms of addictive and compulsive behaviors to develop and become treatment resistant.Articulate critical factors to assess in relocation cases
  • Develop a treatment plan for mitigating addictive and compulsive symptoms based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model using the ACE questionnaire, addressing both positively and negatively charged target memories as applied to addictions.
  • Describe the relationship between attachment, memory, and learning as a theoretical foundation for using EMDR in the treatment of addictions and other compulsive behaviors
  • Distinguish between and utilize both standard EMDR procedures for trauma, along with modified EMDR targets for cravings and other positively charged addiction memories to minimize risk of relapse.

Registration Information

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Online Video Version


CE Approval Information

  • Program Approval Number: #15002-DL60
  • The Steve Frankel Group, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for Psychologists. This course is also approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for its licentiates' CE license renewal requirements.
  • The Steve Frankel Group, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course meets the qualifications for 3.0 hours of CE credit for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, and LPCCs.
  • SFG is an approved EMDRIA International CE Credit Provider, #15002 and maintains responsibility for its EMDR courses’ programs and contents in accordance with EMDRIA Standards.

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