For Therapists – “Stop The Pain”

Matthew Perry, a famous actor who starred in the TV sitcom “Friends”, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. He spent half of his life in and out of treatment or sober-living centers, had 14 stays in rehab, and detoxed 65 times beginning at age 26. He also had 14 surgeries for his drug and alcohol abuse and attended more than 6,000 Alcoholic Anonymous meetings in his relatively short lifetime.

Matthew knew he was obsessed with being famous and loved being the center of attention. He experienced numerous panic attacks and lifelong anxiety. He had spent over 9 million dollars on treatments, and the longest he had ever been sober was two years with several relapses!

On October 28, 2023, Matthew Perry died at the age of 52 years old. The coroner reported that high levels of the drug ketamine were found in Matthew’s postmortem blood specimens.

People often turn to drugs, alcohol, and other forms of escapism to avoid uncomfortable emotional states. They are not going for the high or lows that alcohol and other drugs offer. They are just trying to stop their normal bad feelings. Both legal and illegal drugs serve that purpose (stop the pain), but many times the drugs cause more problems and sometimes death to the user.

People are not going for the high or lows that alcohol and other drugs offers. They are just trying to stop their normal bad feelings. If you have had the experience of breaking one of your bones and you went to an ER in pain you were not thinking about getting high – you were thinking about getting relief from the physical pain!  If you were having a great day and you were feeling great, the last thing you would be thinking is – “I think I will go out and get drunk”.

In my seventy-eight years on this planet and having worked over thirty-eight years as a psychotherapist,  I have seen new therapy modalities come aboard very slowly in the mainstream therapy community. This is mainly because people in general do not like change because change gets them out of their comfort zone. Additionally, entrenched interests protect their turf and stop new more effective modalities from  becoming tested “evidence based therapies”.

Drug rehab and other addiction programs are still using the 80 year old AA 12- Step Model, even though it has a failure rate of over 87% or a success rate of only 13%! Billions of taxpayers dollars are wasted yearly because there are too many people that have a financial stake it keeping this and other ineffective modalities as their mainstay treatment modality. Long term talk therapy sessions and group sessions give big financial payouts.

On a more positive note, Jim Carrey, another comic genius said he finally found a psychotherapist who did more than just “ talked the shit out of everything!”

What are these ineffective practiced psychotherapy modalities? If the purpose of the therapy modality is to use the cognitive brain to heal the emotional brain, it will almost always fail. You have to heal the emotion, then the behaviors change – not the other way around. 

People Do Not Come To Therapy For Explanations. They Come To Change Their Emotional Experiences.

So what is the  difference that makes the difference in order to heal an emotional state? Simply have the client do something different from what they have been doing when they are consciously or unconsciously reliving the event that was caused by their traumatic event. It is that simple!

You are not required to know brain physiology to assist a client in their healings of depression or other unwanted emotions.

In 1985, I started my therapy practice at the age of thirty-nine. I initially worked with people that had a fear of flying and other simple phobias. I noticed that people have a physical pattern that they repeatedly displayed every time they experienced their traumatic emotions or memories of their trauma. We are like a robotic figure when reliving the trauma (the same head and eye movements repeatedly) and most of us  will be unconsciously staring. This is where the phrase, “the thousand mile stare” comes. In other words we are in a trance. I consider myself a “Trance Buster”!

I started by having my clients do something different rather than just talking about their fears/phobias. I had them do the NLP Trauma/Phobia Cure procedure (RTM & the Rewind Technique) that required the client imagining going into a movie theater, seeing their younger self going through the traumatic memory triple disassociated and then running the event backwards in first person. It probably worked with over 90% of my clients. Yet 39 years later, it still isn’t a “Evidence Based Practice”! See:opinion-the-best-ptsd-treatment-youve-never-heard-of/

I experimented and within a few years I had developed over twenty different ways to heal a trauma/phobia and it was based on having my clients doing something different while experiencing the unwanted feeling or limiting belief.

Be creative! I have had clients hop around my office on one foot feeling their unwanted emotion and singing first and second grade songs.  It always gets them out of the unwanted emotion, because they are paying attention to the trauma and present moment simultaneously. Most of the time they end up laughing or they get angry at me. In any case because of brain elasticity, that old emotional state will be different.

When people recall a memory from their past, they are actually recalling the last time they thought about it. If you add new information to that memory, the original emotion associated with it can be altered by the new stimulus.

In other words, our memory is like a cassette tape rather than a hard drive. Again it is that simple!

All of the following twelve (12) effective trauma healing modalities do just that without drugs, electricity, or operations and none require you to know 🧠 physiology:
EMDR, EMI, RTM ,The Rewind Technique( NLP Trauma/Phobia Cure), BrainSpotting, FreeSpotting, The Haven Technique, The Flash Technique, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or ART, Mental Space Psychology, and Clean Language Therapy. None of these modalities existed before 1980.

Any of these above modalities will usually make a positive difference for your clients in a few sessions. Many times in just one session! See:: healing-ptsd-phobias-intense-emotional-feelings/

You can be a more effective therapist if you are flexible by having more than one therapeutic trauma modality in your therapy toolbox. I like having at least five intervention tools on hand. I always tell my clients that if we do an intervention that doesn’t work – we will do something else that will work (there are over eight trauma tools on my blog). See:measuring-the-effectiveness-of-psychotherapy/

If your current therapeutic tool does not make a positive difference for your client in one session, you might find another tool or find another therapist that has different tools in their toolbox. A hammer might be a very effective tool for pounding nails into wood; however, a hammer is not effective in screwing a small nut onto a bolt.

Is it sometimes possible to heal clinical depression or other individual unwanted emotions in one session? Over the past thirty-eight plus years that sometimes happens for some of my clients. See: /healing-major-depression/  and others posts. Some traumas resolve after a single intervention, others require multiple interventions (often of different types) to get full resolution.

We can do better.

Joel Blackstock, LICSW- S has made an excellent video and gave me permission to link his YouTube video appropriately titled:


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