Emotion regulation therapy, or ERT, is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that utilizes principles of mindfulness, acceptance, experiential, and emotional therapies in order to recreate how a person responds to distress. Through the process individuals gain emotional awareness and rekindle compassion and empathy toward themselves.

For people suffering from a substance abuse disorder, emotion regulation therapy can provide a set of beneficial skills. From the moment the brain becomes dependent on a chemical, whether that is alcohol, cocaine, or heroin, emotional growth and maturity becomes stunted.

Emotional Sobriety and ERT

upset women needing emotion regulation therapy programEmotion regulation therapy is believed to have derived from a theory expressed by Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who saw the relationship between man and substance as an emotional one, in which the substance provided relief. In this case, in order to remedy the dependence, one must learn how to practice emotional sobriety.

Without learning proper techniques to deal with emotions, when a person finally stops using the drink or the drug, he will find himself facing an inner barrenness or running from torrential emotions. In many cases, this can lead to relapse. By gaining skills and learning how to effectively manage emotions, individuals will be better prepared to escape the dark hours of addiction and

Goals of Emotion Regulation Therapy

According to a Stanford University publication, in order to help individuals establish a healthy connection with their emotions, ERT therapy works to:

  • Identify, differentiate, and describe emotions, even in their most intense form
  • Increase acceptance and adaptability needed to effectively manage emotions
  • Decrease use of emotional avoidance strategies (such as worry, rumination and self-criticism)
  • Increase ability to utilize emotional information in identifying needs, making decisions, guiding thinking, motivating
  • behavior, and managing interpersonal relationships and other contextual demands

How it Works

While similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, ERT differs in that rather than prescribing labels to certain psychological phenomenon, ERT focuses on encouraging empathetic and compassionate self-talk. ERT aims to increase one’s emotional awareness.

This mechanism-targeted behavioral intervention focuses on the training of three major emotion regulation skill groups:

  • attention
  • allowance
  • distancing

Importance of Dual Diagnosis

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, in 2014, approximately 7.9 million Americans suffered from both addiction and another mental health illness. Since this survey, there has been an increase in which rates of comorbidity (the presence of two or more co-occurring illnesses) were highest among previously surveyed adults ages 26 to 49 (42.7%).

At First Step Center of Arizona, our team of addiction specialists provide individualized care for each client. With only 10 beds, our all-male clientele benefit from receiving a personalized treatment program tailored to meet specified needs.

We offer programs and therapies like:

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. No one need live a life in darkness. First Step Center understands this sentiment and believes in offering integrated treatment that offers a holistic method in helping you or a loved one get well. To find out more about emotion regulation therapy or addiction treatment, contact First Step Center now at 866-453-9708.