EMDR for treatment of concurrent compulsive sex and drug use (Chemsex) in LGBTQIA+ population

EMDR is an excellent treatment to address multiple aspects of addiction to the concurrent use of substances and compulsive sexual behavior. Chemsex is defined as using certain substances immediately before or during sexual activities to facilitate, prolong and/or intensify sexual experience, and it is prevalent in the LGBTQIA+ community. Francine Shapiro first wrote about using EMDR to treat PTSD in substance users in 1994, and there have been many contributions to the field since. There is a strong neurobiological link between behavioral addictions such as sex addiction and substance use disorders which suggests treatment interventions using EMDR for both compulsions. EMDR is an effective treatment to reduce addiction triggers, assist with engaging in multiple levels of support, and to address shame including sexual shame in the LGBTQIA+ community. EMDR also addresses the root causes and traumas that contribute to compulsive self-soothing behaviors. This presentation will provide the context and specific protocols and interventions to effectively treat concurrent compulsive sex and drug use in the LGBTQIA+ population.

Learning objectives:

1. Participants will be able to describe the unique interaction of Chemsex, concurrent drug taking and sexual compulsion, in the LGBTQIA+ community from a neurobiological and behavioral perspective, as well as identify entry points for treatment with EMDR.
2. Participants will be able to describe and apply specific drug treatment interventions within the standard eight phases of EMDR, as well as identify aspects of existing established approaches, and novel approaches to strengthen sobriety and promote positive behavior change.
3. Participants will be able to observe the design and utilization of specific EMDR interventions through the demonstration of specific case example of LGBTQIA+ client treated for concurrent crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, and sex addiction.

Percentage of EMDR Content: 80%