This is the EMDR protocol that I use for relapse prevention and eating disorders in remission.
Below is an explanation of the Feeling State Protocol per Dr. Robert Miller..
The FSAP breaks the fixation between feeling and behavior. This fixation is the cause of addictions. By identifying the exact feeling and behavior, the fixation can be processed using a modified form of the ‘EMDR protocol. Once the fixation is broken, there are no further cravings or urges that have to be controlled or behavior that has to be managed. In fact the person is able to perform the behavior as appropriate.
Because any feeling can become fixated with any behavior, identifying the exact feeling and behavior are crucial steps in the FSAP procedure. For example, shopping has many different sub-behaviors such as going into the store, having people wait on you, trying on clothes, buying the items etc. any one of these parts of shopping may be behavior that creates the most intense positive feeling. The behavior that creates the most intense positive feeling is the particular behavior that has to be identified.
In addition to identifying the exact behavior, the exact feeling also has to be identified. A shopping compulsion might be connected with the feelings of power, status, relaxation or being special. Whatever the feeling is, FSAP requires the the intensely desired positive feeling underlying the compulsive fixation be identified.
Once the exact feeling and behavior has been identified then a modified form of EMDR is used to process the fixation. The entire process usually requires 5-6 sessions, spaced over several months. The exact number of sessions varies due to the fact that more than one feeling may become fixated with the same behavior in order to completly eliminate the compulsive fixations, all the feelings must be processed.
- Identify the exact behavior that has the most intense positive feeling.
- Identify the exact feeling that underlies that behavior.
- A modified form of EMDR is utilized to break the connection between the feeling and behavior.
- The negative beliefs that underlie the compulsive fixation are processed.
EMDR is a clinically proven psychotherapy that has been used in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to reduce traumatic fixations. People who have been traumatized often have vivid memories of the traumatic event. EMDR processes and reduces the intensity of these memories. FSAP has modified the EMDR protocol because of the different psychological dynamics that create compulsive fixations rather than traumatic fixations. Further information about EMDR can be found on the emdria website or here on Robert Norgaard’s website.
For a more complete description of the FSAP, please read the article written by Dr. Miller called The Feeling-Sate Theory of Impulse-Control Disorders and the Impulse-Control Disorder Protocol. Please visit his website for more information: www.fsaprotocol.com
Robert Norgaard is a certified emdr clinician, certified by emdria international.