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General Session 201: Healing Wounds of Addiction: EMDR and IFS, a Systemic Approach to Recovery


This intermediate to advanced workshop explores the benefits of integrating Internal Family Systems (IFS) “informed” procedures and interweaves for the treatment of addictions, both substance and behavioral, within the 8 phases of EMDR therapy. One of the most challenging concerns working with these clients is chronic relapsing. This repetitive experience can be deeply demoralizing, triggering hopelessness, self-loathing, and shame. The goals of this workshop are to explore why and how integrating IFS informed procedures within the EMDR model offers greater clinical benefit than either model alone; to demonstrate the value of establishing new, more compassionate internal connections toward parts burdened with addiction; and to incorporate IFS into reprocessing early traumatic contributors in addition to previous and recent relapses triggered by cravings and overwhelming stress. Some knowledge of IFS is recommended but not required. Slides and video demonstrating this integration will be used to explore the complex nature of treating addiction.

  1. Participants will be able to describe 3 reasons why integrating IFS informed parts work within EMDR therapy is recommended for complex trauma clients with addictions and other maladaptive behaviors.
  2. Participants will be able to identify at least 3 similarities between EMDR and IFS that leads to increased safety and stabilization, establishing new relational roles within the client's internal system to strengthen sustained recovery.
  3. Participants will be able to utilize this integrated approach to reprocess early traumatic contributors as well as previous and recent relapses to create an internally collaborative relapse prevention plan.


  • Susan Brown, LCSW

    Susan Brown is a private practice Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 35 years in San Diego, CA. specializing in complex developmental trauma, addictions and other maladaptive behaviors. Her current focus is the integration of Internal Family Systems (IFS) informed processes within EMDR therapy. Susan was a Principal Investigator in an Integrated Trauma Treatment Program in an adult Drug Court. She has co-authored book chapters and articles and presents specialty workshops on the application of EMDR with this population. She is an EMDRIA-Approved Consultant and Basic Training Facilitator for the EMDR Institute and presents regularly at EMDRIA and other conferences. 

September 11, 2022
Sun 10:00 AM CDT

Duration 1H 30M

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