Treating addiction with EMDR therapy and the Stages of Change 

Presenters: Nancy Abel, LCSW, LADC and John O’Brien, Ph.D.


(All participants must be present at venue listed below. Presenters will be live on screen via video conferencing system.)

June 19, 2020

Family Resource Pavilion

9700 E. Easter Lane, Centennial, CO 80112

6 EMDRIA EC Approval #15013-12

About the Training


All clinicians are dealing with addiction issues whether they realize it or not. Many clients present with depression, anxiety, trauma, divorce and other problems but they are also dealing with underlying addiction. Research indicates that at least 50% of clients present to treatment either due to their own addiction or that of a loved one. 

This workshop will focus on the uses of EMDR with addiction issues. We have created a system, originally called the Roadmap Model, that will help clinicians formulate case plans and develop treatment interventions for using EMDR with clients who have these issues. 

The workshop will begin with a short overview of addiction. After briefly reviewing Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model, participants will learn about different EMDR protocols used with addiction. Participants will also learn about EMDR/non-EMDR interventions for each stage. Discussion will include how to make the clinical decisions about the use of the EMDR trauma protocol. A case example will be presented and participants will have an opportunity to review sample cases and develop treatment plans. 


About the Presenters 

Nancy J. Abel, LCSW, LADC

Nancy is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed substance abuse counselor with more than 40 years of experience. She is in private practice in South Portland, Maine, specializing in working with addictions, dual diagnosis, trauma and EMDR. Nancy is an EMDRIA-approved consultant. She has been an adjunct faculty at two local universities, an administrator at two agencies and has extensive experience as a speaker and trainer. She presents workshops on addictions and EMDR. 


John M. O’Brien, Ph.D.

John has been a licensed psychologist in private practice in Portland, Maine since 1998. He specializes in the treatment of substance abuse, grief, trauma and gay/lesbian issues. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine at Augusta, teaching courses in psychology and addictions since 2000. John is an EMDRIA-approved consultant who provides consultation on EMDR, CBT, DBT and addictions treatment. In addition, John has provided numerous trainings and workshops on effective treatment of addiction and trauma. 


Nancy Abel and John O’Brien are authors of “Treating Addictions with EMDR Therapy and the Stages of Change,” published by Springer Publishing Company in 2014.


  1. Participants will be able to identify the six Stages of Change

  2. Participants will learn the EMDR protocols used for the treatment of addiction.

  3. Participants will be able to describe treatment approaches utilized in each part of the Stages of Change Model.

  4. Participants will be able to identify factors that must be considered in making the decision to use the trauma protocol with addiction.


8:00 – 8:30                  Registration

8:30: – 9:00                 Overview of addiction

9:00 – 9:30                  Stages of Change

9:30-- 10:15                Overview of EMDR Therapy Addiction protocols

                                                Safe Place

                                                Resource Development

                                                Affect tolerance

                                                Detur (Popky)

                                                Cravex (Hase)

                                                Feeling State (Miller)


10:15- 10:30               Break

10:30-12:00                Overview of EMDR Therapy Addiction protocols (cont’d)

12: 00 – 1:30               Lunch

1:30 – 2:30                  Treatment approaches in each Stage of Change (EMDR and non-EMDR)

2:30- 2:45                    When to consider using the Trauma Protocol with addiction

 2:45 – 3:00                  Break

 3:00 – 3:30                  Case example

 3:30 – 4: 15                 Case formulation and discussion

 4:15- 4:30                    Questions and evaluation


Why take this workshop?

Are you frustrated with your clients who present with addictions? Do you find that your normal approach is not working? Are you wondering about when and how to use the trauma protocol with addicted clients? Are you trapped in the controversy about whether to deal with addiction or trauma first? 

EMDR presents an opportunity to work with these clients in different ways. Learn new skills for working with addiction utilizing EMDR protocols.  Engage in a discussion about trauma versus addiction treatment and learn new ways to deal with comorbidity. 


 Program level: Full EMDR Training required

This course is intended for Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors

Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced

Certificate of Completion of EMDRIA Approved EMDR Training required upon registration


Cancellation Policy:

Tuition will be refunded for cancellations made up to two weeks prior to the first day of training. Within the two-week window prior to the start of training, and after beginning the training, no refunds will be made. Registrants that partially attend the training, or do not complete the training will not receive a refund and cannot transfer their attendance to another training.

In the event that EMDR Center of the Rockies needs to cancel the training due to under-enrollment, presenter illness or inclement weather.participants will be notified by one week prior to the training and full tuition will be refunded.