Susan Brown, LCSW

 “No-nonsense to-the-heart-of-the-matter approach”

Online Self-Paced Courses
Please Join me!

Since the onset of Covid-19, requiring social distancing and increasing isolation, those struggling with addiction are losing their most important resource: “Connection.”

There has been a profound increase in the use of addictive and compulsive behaviors as a way of coping with ongoing, often unfamiliar stressors: Job loss, sudden illness, deaths of friends and loved ones, financial and food insecurity, and for some, homelessness.

The integration of EMDR therapy and “parts work,” informed by Internal Family Systems, is a powerful marriage of trauma models for these challenging times. 

“Feeling stuck in your work with clients who are caught in the web of addiction, unable to stop, but desperately trying?”

 “Is it safe to proceed with trauma work when your client is not yet clean and sober?”
“How can I integrate ego state (IFS informed parts work) with my complex addicted clients?
This intermediate to advanced workshop is for fully trained EMDR clinicians who want to develop their skills working with trauma, substance use disorder, and other maladaptive behavior patterns, collectively referred to as “addictions.” An Integrative Neurodevelopmental Approach within an EMDR therapy framework will be taught to highlight the complex clinical landscape of addictions, having bio-psycho-social seeds originating in early development. This workshop will explore the roles of attachment, ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and Ego State (“parts work”) informed by the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model (Schwartz), integrated within the 8 phase, 3-prong EMDR protocol. 
Elements from addiction-specific approaches such as DeTUR (Popky), Positive Affect and Avoidance (Knipe), Feeling States (Miller), and Addiction Memory (Hase) are synthesized and integrated (not taught individually) within this presenter’s approach. There will be a focus on case conceptualization and treatment planning, safe preparation, identifying and gaining cooperation and permission from ego state “protectors” before proceeding into deep trauma work. Target selection, timing for when to do what, and relapse prevention are explored. Lecture, videotape, and experiential practicums (live workshops only) provide a rich learning environment.
Workshop participants will learn how EMDR therapy, as a memory-based, developmental approach, can address these highly treatment resistant behaviors and facilitate integrative healing. When underlying trauma and attachment wounds are healed, life’s focus can shift from simply surviving—to thriving. Please join me for this 2 day event and learn how to work with your clients to systematically untangle the web of addiction and create a life worth living to its fullest.
About the presenter:

Susan Brown in a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Diplomate in private practice for more than 30 years in San Diego, CA, specializing in the treatment of complex developmental trauma and addictions. Her current focus is on the integration of EMDR Therapy with IFS Informed  parts procedures. She was one of the Principal Investigators in a pilot study utilizing an Integrated Trauma Treatment Program (ITTP) in the Thurston County Drug Court in Washington State combining Seeking Safety and EMDR therapy. Susan has co-authored two book chapters and several articles on the subjects of trauma, addiction, and personality disorder. She has presented nationally on the use of EMDR therapy with co-occurring trauma and addiction. She is an EMDRIA-Approved Consultant and Basic Training Facilitator for the EMDR Institute and the Humanitarian Assistance Program.

"What previous workshop participants say about training with Susan:"

“Susan Brown’s mastery of addictions is matched by her ability to integrate theory and research with practice in this ‘must-see’ workshop for all EMDR therapists. One of the best I’ve seen.”

“Susan’s integrated approach supplied the missing piece in my work using EMDR with addicted clients. I have observed significant improvement with this population as a direct result of this synthesized approach.”

“This workshop gave me some incredible tools to work with. I feel so much more equipped to give my clients understanding, validation, and hope.”
“Susan’s wisdom, guidance, and encouragement is going help me give hope to my addicted clients in their journey. The videos of case examples and handouts were fantastic–very helpful!”
“Great presentation! Thank you for focusing on the fluid art of therapy vs.rigid adherence to a protocol.”

“Videos of real sessions were riveting. It was so helpful to see how Susan integrated “parts work” within the EMDR protocol.”

“Of all the times I have attended your trainings, this has been my favorite. Loved EMDR and IFS integration.”

Workshop Objectives:
Through lecture, discussion, and numerous video clips, participants will be able to:
1. Conceptualize and describe “Addiction” as a complex neurodevelopmental disorder of attachment, affect dysregulation, learning / memory, and neuroplasticity.
2. Identify three ways in which addictions may be viewed through the lens of maladaptive attachment.
 3. Utilize the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study questionnaire during Phase 1 History taking to assist in developing an experience-specific, collaborative AIP treatment plan.
 4. Introduce and normalize the concept of “parts” with clients in the early stages of treatment in preparation for later reprocessing, emphasizing the “helpful intention” of parts to meet perceived needs across the lifespan.
 5. Describe the basic concepts of (IFS) Internal Family Systems (Schwartz), a trauma-informed ego state approach, highlighting the parallels between EMDR/AIP and IFS and how to integrate the two models throughout the 8 phases and 3 prongs of EMDR therapy.
 6. Identify and enhance clients’ addiction-specific preparation needs and resources to maximize treatment retention and relapse prevention.
 7. Utilize focused sets of bilateral stimulation to access and enhance the cooperative connection between parts of self to reduce polarization of goals.
 8. Target future fears and avoidance of recovery activities.
 9. Utilize existing AIP-informed contributions to addiction treatment highlighting elements from DeTUR, Positive Affect/Feeling State, Avoidance and Addiction Memory,  integrated seamlessly within EMDR therapy’s 8-phase, 3-pronged protocol (*Individual existing addiction protocols will not be taught).
 10. Develop an addiction-specific AIP informed treatment plan, including identification of both rewarding and disturbing memory components held by “parts” of self, and timing of targeting (what to do and when to do it. Includes the use of IFS-informed interweaves integrated within all phases of EMDR therapy to ultimately reprocess (unburden) the underlying trauma preventing clients from engaging in a thriving life.
If you are interested in more information about this workshop, please contact Susan Brown by email or phone.
If you have completed this Online Distance Learning Workshop, I am offering followup group or individual consultation to enhance your skills. Contact me for details.

An untreated complex trauma history can be a  fundamental contributor to the development and maintenance of symptoms of addictive and compulsive behaviors. These include (but are not limited to) alcohol and drug abuse, compulsive gambling, food, pornography, sex, social media, shopping, internet, and self-harm. It is believed that people use substances and other behaviors to self-medicate trauma-driven symptoms such as flashbacks, avoidance, numbing, depression, and distressing body states that can trigger cravings and relapse. Several modified, addiction-specific EMDR protocols suggest that it is equally important to target positively associated feelings, memories, urges, and euphoric recall that are linked with addictive behaviors, thereby helping to break the cycle of “cue-driven” relapse. This audio-recorded, narrated PowerPoint workshop is intended for fully trained EMDR clinicians. It includes a focus on addiction as an attachment strategy, a neurobiological phenomenon, a dissociative experience, and a survival mechanism. Practice scripts and client video segments round out the distance learning experience.

Course Agenda (7 hours of narrated PowerPoint) = 7 Professional CEs and EMDRIA Credits

  • Introduction to defining characteristics of addictive and compulsive symptoms; Addiction as an attachment disorder, a dissociative experience, a disorder of learning and memory
  • Explore similarities and differences between chemical and behavioral addictions including video examples
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences study as empirical support for the AIP predicting addictive and compulsive symptoms resulting from ACEs
  • Epigenetics in addiction
  • Phased Integrated Treatment for complex trauma and addiction: 1) History taking, case conceptualization and treatment planning; 2) Safety and stabilization; Trauma reprocessing using EMDR plus modified addiction targets synthesized within standard EMDR protocol; 4) Relapse prevention
  • Use of “positive affect” or “positive feeling-states” as essential targets within standard protocol
  • Working with addicted clients: “What gets triggered in you?”
  • Integrating EMDR and Positive Feeling-State (‘Karen’ Video and discussion)
  • Basic neurobiology of addiction and the role of memory and learning
  • Review and differentiate between current ‘Addiction-Specific’ target modifications and protocols for the treatment of this population (Popky, Knipe, Hase, Miller)
  • The Feeling-State Addiction Protocol (FSAP) including scripted practice and video examples
  • Risks and benefits of timing trauma work with addicted clients including brief video clips
  • EMDR and its protocol modifications as “Organic Relapse Prevention” model
  • Video clips of post EMDR clients

“Susan Brown is a skilled clinician with EMDR mastery. Her vast EMDR knowledge and effortless deconstruction of the most challenging cases makes her trainings and consultation invaluable. Post certification, Susan remains my primary resource for EMDR learning, clinical growth, and skill acquisition.” 

Wendy Ashley., Psy.D, LCSW

“One of the finest teachers I have ever experienced, hands down. This trainer offers deep compassion and a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between addictions and trauma. This is the trainer that I return to again and again when her courses are offered. You will not regret making this choice: none better.”

Judith S., PhD

” Susan’s wisdom, guidance, and encouragement is going to help me give hope to my addicted clients in their journey. The videos of case examples and handouts were fantastic–very helpful.” 

David W., LMFT, Psy.D

“I have sponsored EMDR trainings and have been utilizing EMDR Therapy for over 20 years. Susan’s workshops are the most succinct and packed with more information than any I have sponsored or attended. Many kudos to you Susan, for the quality you provide. I recommend your trainings to anyone needing advanced treatment skills in addiction.” 

Laurie Tetrault. LCSW

“Susan Brown communicates a wealth of knowledge concerning addiction along with immediately accessible tools for clinicians.  Her expertise comes from years of experience combined with true concern for the client who struggles with addiction.  We’re honored to call her both colleague and friend.”

Curt Rouanzoin, Ph.D., and Michelle Gottlieb, Psy.D.  – EMDR Professional Trainingä

Susan Brown’s course has radically changed the way I use EMDR and working with compulsive/addictive behaviors.  It has made such a difference to my clients’ process.  By offering a more IFS-based approach, I see and hear more of my client’s internal dialogue and experiences, and provide so much more room for healing.  I highly recommend this course!

Cecily Criminale, MS, MEd, MA

Workshop Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe addiction as a complex, neurodevelopmental disorder of attachment, responses to adverse childhood experiences, learning, memory, and genetic vulnerability
  2. Describe 3 ways in which childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences create conditions for symptoms of addictive and compulsive behaviors to develop and become treatment-resistant
  3. Create a treatment plan for mitigating addictive and compulsive symptoms based on the Adaptive Information Processing Model, using both positively and negatively charged targets.
  4. Identify 3 neurobiological mechanisms thought to be involved in the development and maintenance of addictive and compulsive symptoms
  5. Integrate existing AIP-informed addiction treatment elements (DeTUR, Positive Affect, Feeling-States, Avoidance, and Addiction Memory) seamlessly within EMDR therapy’s 8 phase, 3 prong protocol
  6. Develop an addiction-specific AIP informed treatment plan including identification of both rewarding and disturbing memory elements, as well as timing of targeting: What to do and when to do it.

Healing the Wounds of Addiction: IFS informed EMDR as an Integrated Approach to Relapse Prevention and Recovery

3 EMDRIA and Academic CEUs

“Have more of your clients relapsed since the onset of COVID and these years that followed?” 
“Have you noticed more clients entering treatment with addictive behaviors and substances these last few years?”
“How can I integrate ego state (parts work) with my complex addicted clients and give them the best chance of preventing chronic relapsing?”

This intermediate online distance learning workshop will teach the integration of IFS (Internal Family Systems) informed procedures within the 8 phases of EMDR therapy for the specialized treatment of addictions. The workshop focuses a particular lens on relapse prevention and recovery, utilizing parts work to help create a more collaborative, compassionate internal system. The liberal use of videos, case examples, and experiential will be used to demonstrate this integration.

Please join me for this timely workshop when so many clinicians struggle to find compassionate and effective ways to deal with addicted and complex trauma clients.

Register for Workshops

 An introductory workshop for fully trained EMDR clinicians to learn addiction-focused protocols and conceptualize when and how these protocols might be used. The workshop also introduces integrating IFS (Internal Family Systems) informed parts work and why it is recommended within the 8 phases of EMDR to increase safety, stabilization, and relapse prevention. This live webinar includes clinical examples, videos, and a Q & A portion to highlight concepts.
2 EMDRIA and Academic CEUs
Register for Workshops
    The workshop presents an overview of the addiction-specific outcomes from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, demonstrates case conceptualization and treatment planning utilizing the ACE questionnaire and the AIP, and integrates the standard EMDR therapy approach and addiction-specific protocol modifications using PowerPoint, case studies and client videos.  
3 EMDRIA and Academic CEUs
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