Basic Principles Underlying Emotion Regulation Treatment
Emotion Regulation Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders is based on two ideas that have been around for centuries. First, the tendency to avoid unpleasant emotions is a cause of suffering. Second, direct and sustained experiencing of unpleasant emotions is a way out of suffering. In this chapter, research is reviewed that supports client engagement with and direct experiencing of unpleasant emotion or distress as an important step in the therapeutic change process. By including treatment techniques that share a common focus on the direct experiencing of emotion (e.g., mindfulness, exposure and response prevention), Emotion Regulation Treatment (ERT) seeks to optimize therapeutic change for individuals with an alcohol use disorder. This chapter also provides therapists with information on how to address common clinical considerations when conducting ERT. These include the presence of co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders, disclosure of past traumatic events, craving and emotional responses, and working with positive or pleasant emotional drinking situations in ERT.