Stephen Dansiger

psyd mft


Punk drummer then Songwriter then Dharma Practitioner then Social Justice Educator then EMDR/Trauma/Addiction Therapist then Author/Podcaster now simultaneously...

My Presentation at the EMDRIA Conference and... A New Framework for Treatment and Treatment Centers

As part of my preparation to speak at this year's 2016 EMDRIA Conference in Minneapolis, I have been journaling my thoughts on the different aspects and hopeful impact of my presentation. For more information on the conference, click here. For additional journal entries, click here.

My conference presentation went as well as I could have hoped for... over 100 live and Live Stream participants took in the importance of the blending of mindfulness and EMDR therapy, and the possibility that this combination could successfully improve addiction treatment outcomes. There were so many direct and ancillary reasons for how well it went.

First of all, the opening plenary session from Dr. Gabor Mate was everything we all hoped it would be.  For me and my two Refuge Recovery Center therapists that were there as well, it was a stunning validation of everything we are doing at Refuge Recovery Centers for over an hour. Every minute or so we would look at each other, either silently or whispering out loud saying, "He just said we are on the right track!" Dr. Mate's message that unprocessed trauma is at the heart of addiction, and his message in a break out session later in the day that most of our physical and emotional problems can be found at our core of unprocessed traumatic memories and unexpressed anger -- these were the perfect lead in for my thoughts presented the next day.

My presentation started on the right foot when Susan Brown provided my introduction, she being for years at the forefront of promoting the use of EMDR therapy in the realm of addictions. Susan was responsible for some of the strongest research on how to use EMDR in a treatment setting (in her case in a drug court program with Seeking Safety as the main additional stabilizing element). Also present was AJ Popky, one of the original therapists around Francine Shapiro when she developed the therapy, and also the developer of the DeTur Protocol, the first addictions specific protocol that is still in use today. Finally, my original mentor and trainer, Andrew Leeds, was very supportive and in my corner that day, he having provided several references to mindfulness in his presentation on the mechanisms of action in EMDR therapy.

So what I came home with were these things... my presentation seemed to resonate as evidenced by the feedback afterward from many at the conference. I had great meetings with leaders in the field regarding how to push further into the world of research regarding EMDR and Addictions in particular.

I also came home with a handshake deal that then turned into a signed publishing contract with Springer Publishing Company, a leader in books on Health Care and the Helping Professions, and the absolute leader in books on EMDR therapy. The book on EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care that I have been working on diligently with my writing partner and colleague (and founder of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness) Dr. Jamie Marich is now due to come out in Spring of 2017.

Lastly, I came home with a name for what it is I am doing at Refuge Recovery Centers and hope to have the opportunity to provide at any and all treatment centers where this message resonates. The method or protocol is now called MET(T)A, or Mindfulness and EMDR Treatment Template for Addictions (or Agencies). The META is signifying the "meta" use of the EMDR standard protocols as a template for running an agency, and the METTA of course is loving kindness, our ultimate goal in our delivery of trauma informed and trauma focused treatment. You can go for more information to which is the website I have established in order to move forward with what inspired the conference presentation and what we have developed and implemented at Refuge Recovery.

I look forward to more presentations, more opportunities to consult with agencies, and getting to work on research of the MET(T)A method as it has been rolled out at Refuge. Thank you for reading this blog series about the 2016 EMDRIA Conference, and see you along the path!