Addiction Counseling

Approaching Addictions– EMDR Therapy Brings Hope

What is addiction counseling in EMDR Therapy?

Addiction can be to substances (alcohol or drugs) or behaviors.  Either way, they take a person’s life that starts out with hopes and good intentions, and ends up in a self-imposed prison of limitation, broken dreams, or even death.  These are the real dangers of addiction, whether it is addiction to drugs or alcohol, or behaviors such as gambling, sex, porn, internet, anger or self-harm behaviors.

By virtue of the fact you are reading this, there is hope for you or your loved one.  Broken dreams can be mended.  You can even recover so much, that your life can become better than you ever dreamed before.  For one thing, you can begin to like yourself — not for what you have, or the car you drive, or any other fact about yourself — but just for being you.  This may sound like a fantasy. But it happens with EMDR Therapy clients all the time.

Addiction Counseling

Many treatment programs are currently aware of the importance of trauma to addiction.  This is called “trauma-informed care.”  Please also see our page about PTSD.  People free from trauma rarely get addicted unless they are exposed to a tremendously physically addicting substance such as meth or heroin or porn.  People with trauma often turn to addictions at a young age.  When they do so, it is referred to as “self-medicating.”  It can appeal to them if it gives a break from the distressing feelings that result from stress, trauma, abuse and/or neglect.  (The abuse doesn’t have to be physical or sexual.  It can be verbal or emotional and still cause a lot of damage.)

The 12 Step programs are very good and recommended.  But one thing they don’t always recognize is that the average person relapses 8 times before they have a stable sobriety.  That means that some people relapse more and some less.  Not understanding this fact, they can sometimes be judgmental of a relapse and this may make some people scared to go back.  It is best to find a sponsor or group that acknowledges the reality that relapse exists, and know how to gracefully welcome back the person seeking sobriety.

Relapses can be dangerous to your health and the health of others.  Thus, please use a more comprehensive treatment plan that will treat trauma plus addiction issues.  EMDR therapy was originally designed to treat trauma, even the worst trauma which causes PTSD.  Much research confirms that EMDR therapy is effective and efficient in treating trauma or PTSD.  The World Health Organization recommends only two treatments for PTSD:  EMDR and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

It is also useful to treat the triggers to using and desensitize them, so they don’t have a potential to knee-jerk you back into addiction.  EMDR therapy according to the De-Tur Protocol can offer that help to you.

Why Won’t Addiction Counseling Approaches Address the “Highs”?

Many group treatment programs don’t want to address your best experiences with your addiction.  This is understandable and wise, because in a group setting such talk can trigger many in the group to go out and use.  But leaving the best experiences unaddressed can leave you vulnerable to the addiction if you still don’t have another way to feel those desirable feelings.  There is a EMDR Protocol for individual therapy called the “Feeling Stated Addictions Protocol” (see article on FSAP).  FSAP helps you to lose interest in your addiction as a route to that best feeling.  Once that is achieved, it immediately helps you find other ways to meet that need.  How appealing is that!?

Sometimes people with addiction issues have been raised by alcoholics or drug addicts. To learn more about this issue, see article on ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).

Are you curious to see what a comprehensive therapy approach like EMDR therapy can do for you?  All therapists on this website are Certified EMDR therapists.  To find one who specializes in treating addictions, go to FIND A THERAPIST and select the area you live in.  Notice the list of cities that pops up under the area.  As you scan down the list you will see ISSUES at the end of the list.  Click on that and choose ADDICTIONS.  You will see the list of Addictions specialists on

If you don’t see a specialist in addiction counseling in your area, we suggest you still contact a nearby EMDR therapist on our Directory.  Sometimes they have added specialty trainings and now will treat addictions.

If you aren’t able to find someone to help you from our Directory, you are welcome to go to


Then search in your zip code for a Certified EMDR therapist and choose the Addictions Specialty.

May you find freedom from your trauma and substance or behavioral addiction, so both can become a relegated to your past.  We wish you a brighter and more hopeful future.