James Jones, MSSW, LCSW, LCAC View Entire Blog

What Is the Feeling State Addiction Protocol? New Treatment for Addictions.

In late April of 2013 I attended an EMDR workshop which was designed to be a protocol for use with addictions. The workshop "The Feeling-State Theory of Behavioral and Substance Addictions and the Feeling State Addiction Protocol" was given by it's originator Robert Miller, PH.D. and all of the credits contained herein this blog should be given to Dr. Miller for what as come to be an outstanding clinical tool in my practice.
Dr. Miller postulates that the feeling-state theory of addiction states that addictions are caused by one or more fixated memories which he refers to as feeling-states(FS). Feeling States are created when a positive event is so intense that the memory of the event becomes fixated in ones mind. Feeling States are composed of the memories of the sensations, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors related to that event. The addiction is the result of the urges and the cravings to "act out" that behavior whenever the "feeling-state" is triggered.
Dr. Miller goes on to postulate that the major difference between behavioral addictions such as compulsive gambling and substance abuse addictions is that psychoactive drugs(and alcohol and food), can create their own feeling state. For example, the subjective euphoria associated with various substances ingested(cocaine, alcohol etc), can be so strong that a feeling state is immediately caused.

The Feeling-State Addiction Protocol, (FSAP) eliminates addictions by eliminating the feeling state. Once the feeling state is gone, there is nothing left to cause the urges and the cravings of addiction. Compulsive gamblers can gamble again, compulsive shoppers can shop, and sex addicts can have sex without triggering previous addictive behavior. However, since psychoactive substances can create an immediate feeling state, abstaining from the substance is necessary in order to make sure the feeling state is not recreated. Since the urges and cravings to use the substance are no longer present, this is not difficult.What does this mean for you?
Once the feeling state is de-linked from the out of control behavior, the previously addictive behavior does not need to be managed or controlled. You will not have the urges and cravings, irritability and frustration, that have likely been part of your previous attempts to quit. It just doesn't bother you anymore.

Sometimes when I quite doing one addictive behavior, I would just start doing another. Is this any different?
Yes it is different. If you just stop doing an addictive behavior without eliminating the underlying feeling state, you haven't resolved the cause of the addiction. So another behavior becomes attached to the feeling state. Eliminating the feeling state means that you will not just switch addictive behaviors.
As your therapist what will I ask you to do?
I will ask you to identify the feeling that underlies the behavior. We do this through a series of questions about the behavior including how and when it manifests in your life. This chain analysis is a crucial step. I will guide you into identifying the exact part of the behavior that has the most intensity and the feeling linked with that behavior.
How many sessions will it take?
Many addictions can be eliminated within 5-8 sessions. More or less sessions may be required depending upon the number of feeling states associated with the addictive behavior.