CE Information – Introduction to Working with Addictions with EMDR Therapy An Interview with Susan Brown and Curt Rouanzoin

Addictions, both substance and behavioral, are some of the most challenging clinical presentations of our time, necessitating novel treatment approaches that can address the many facets of addiction. Treatment at this level of complexity requires exploration of all possible doorways into healing. EMDR therapy opens many of these doors.

Clinicians who treat trauma within their practices or settings should expect to see addiction show up, whether they are trained and ready for it or not, since the connection between trauma and addiction is virtually inseparable. However, many clinicians express fears about treating this population due to the unpredictability of the behaviors associated with addiction, the dangers clients encounter (both internally and externally) when caught in a cycle of addiction, recovery, and relapse, and the helplessness therapists can feel when faced with these complex challenges. Client examples and personal stories are included in this video.

This 90-minute interview format program asks and answers some key questions about addictions and other maladaptive dependency behaviors and the use of EMDR therapy to treat them.

Examples include:

  1. How do we handle being a “clinical gateway” for clients struggling with addiction if we don’t usually treat this presenting problem?
  2. What are “Clinical choice points” such as timing of phases within EMDR therapy?
  3. Appropriate use of EMDR in different settings: Inpatient? Outpatient? Amount of sobriety?
  4. What are common targets for use with EMDR including trauma, cravings, urges, addiction memories including relapses, and future fears?
  5. How should we deal with clients coming in under the influence and/or, should clients who are not yet substance-free be offered EMDR at all?
  6. What are necessary or suggested external resources and cultivation of internal resources and strengths?
  7. How does EMDR therapy integrate with 12-step and other support programs?
  8. What is the role of relapse in treatment phases?
  9. What is Marijuana/LSD traumatic depersonalization, and how can EMDR be used to treat this condition?
  10. Integrating parts work (ego states) within the treatment of addiction: What is the importance of gaining “permission” to work with traumatized parts?
  11. What is most frustrating about this work? What is most valuable?
  12. What are the similarities and differences between working with teens/20-somethings versus older adults?
  13. What about working with the families of those struggling with addiction?

Please note the following:

This interview was originally part of a two-day course. During the interview, reference is made to client videos that are shown within the course. If you are interested in taking the longer course, please let us know, and we will apply the registration fee for this course to the two-day course.

Additionally, this interview is shown in Weekend 3 of our Basic Training. If you have taken Basic Training through EMDR Professional Training, please be aware this is the same interview.


Susan Brown, LCSW, BCD

Susan Brown is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Diplomate in private practice in San Diego, CA. She specializes in the use of EMDR therapy to treat complex trauma and addictions. She was a Principal Investigator in a pilot study using an Integrated Trauma Treatment Program (ITTP) in an adult drug court combining EMDR therapy and Seeking Safety©. She currently integrates Internal Family Systems “informed” ego state work within the EMDR protocol to deepen and enhance treatment with these complex clients.

Ms. Brown co-authored “Integrated trauma treatment in drug court: Combining EMDR and Seeking Safety” (Brown et al. 2015); Co-authored 2 book chapters, EMDR: Mental Health-Substance Abuse (Brown, Stowasser, & Shapiro, 2012) and EMDR Therapy and the Treatment of Substance Abuse and Addiction, In Innovations in the Treatment of Substance Addiction, (Brown, Stowasser & Shapiro, 2016); and co-authored the article, ‘EMDR in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder’ (Brown & Shapiro, 2006).

Susan has presented nationally on the use of EMDR with trauma and addiction. She is an EMDRIA-Approved Consultant and Basic Training Facilitator for the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Institute. She currently teaches 2-day workshops on the utilization of EMDR therapy, integrated with ego state applications for complex trauma, addictions and other self-defeating behaviors.

Curt Rouanzoin, Ph.D.

Curtis Rouanzoin, Ph.D., Co-President of EMDR Professional Training, was trained by Francine Shapiro in EMDR from 1991 to 1992. He worked with the EMDR Institute as a Facilitator (1992) and then Senior Trainer until 2017. Throughout the years, he has worked to develop the highest quality EMDR Basic Training as well as Advanced Training in Complex PTSD and Dissociation.

Dr. Rouanzoin is Certified, an Approved Consultant, and an Approved Instructor in EMDR Therapy. He has trained mental health practitioners in EMDR Therapy both nationally and internationally. Internationally, Dr. Rouanzoin traveled with Dr. Shapiro to Columbia on a Congress Against Violence and to pave the way for future EMDR training. He also traveled to Japan with Dr. Andrew Leeds to train the first groups of clinicians there. While at Hope International University, where he taught for 22 years and developed the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, he created the first graduate-level university course in EMDR (1995).

Dr. Rouanzoin has conducted more than 45,000 hours of EMDR Therapy sessions with clients across all gender, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. He receives referrals for situations ranging from military/police/first responders to Complex PTSD/Dissociative Disorders as well as peak performance in athletics and theater/performing arts.

As both a Licensed Psychologist (PSY7809) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT8790), Dr. Rouanzoin understands the professional and clinical demands of both. His early training provided a solid foundation for the extensive post-graduate education he has received.

Dr. Rouanzoin has spoken on panels and made presentations regarding EMDR Therapy at EMDRIA, ISTSS, California Psychological Association, Anxiety Association of America, Orange County Psychological Association and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Rouanzoin was a founding member of the Traumatic Stress Network (TTSN) in Southern California. TTSN was the first regional Basic Training in EMDR in conjunction with the EMDR Institute. As a founding board member and second President of EMDRIA, Dr. Rouanzoin helped develop the Standards and Training Committee.



This course is a 1.5 CE course. It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state. Continuing Education Credit is approved through Commonwealth Educational Seminars for the following professions. CEs are approved through EMDRIA as well.


Commonwealth Educational Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LPCs/LMHCs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Workers:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Social Workers. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for Social Workers. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

If applicable: Social Workers – New York State

Commonwealth Educational Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. #SW-0444.

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LMFTs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


As an American Psychological Association (APA) approved provider, CES programs are accepted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). These courses can be utilized by nurses to renew their certification and will be accepted by the ANCC. Every state Board of Nursing accepts ANCC approved programs except California and Iowa, however, CES is also an approved Continuing Education provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider # CEP15567) which is also accepted by the Iowa Board of Nursing.

EMDRIA Credits: 1.5

EMDRIA: EMDR Professional Training is an EC Provider (#18023) and this program (#18023-DL08) is approved for 1.5 EMDRIA Credits. Eligibility for EMDRIA Credits is restricted to those who have completed an EMDRIA-Approved Basic EMDR Training.

To contact Commonwealth Educational Seminars, go to:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars
1020 West Barnstable Rd Marstons Mills, MA 02648
(800) 376-3345. (508) 428-8676
Fax: (508) 420-3360