What is Emotional Pain Intervention (EPI®)?
Our Approach To Treatment
Emotional Pain Intervention (EPI®) is a integrative psychotherapy research treatment guideline for facilitating brain-based tranformational change.
Just as a pain management physician might intervene on physical pain complaints, i.e. deadening a nerve or blocking it from firing, neuroscience breakthroughs in the last few decades, allow psychotherapists to intervene on emotional-action networks of the primitive brain.
With an Emotional Pain Intervention (EPI®) approach, clients will enhance neuroplasticity (brain changing itself), learn to ally with and run their emotional brain to stop painful emotions automatically. EPI® also removes the often automatic, unwanted emotional pain response tied to troubling re-experiencing of past events like traumas, freeing the energy to be used in the present. My clients say they enjoy learning about how their mind works in simple terms they can use, but most appreciated, I believe, are the results they achieve surprisingly quickly and painlessly.
The last 20 years have brought new paradigms for understanding rapid transformational change, supported by neuroscience. The problem has been the new neuroscience breakthroughs haven’t been integrated with clinical thought and practice. Emotional Pain Intervention (EPI®) is an attempt at this needed integration. Directly apply this new neuroscience in your clinical practice using EPI® techniques to understand, and reach the Emotional Brain and Higher Thinking Brain in your sessions. Hence, using the whole brain for change.
Emotional Pain Intervention (EPI®) combines the art and science of transformational change psychotherapy to illuminate essential or key ingredients for an integrative brain change with rapid results. EPI® empowers clients through education of the brain/mind/body, give a new ’makes sense’ understanding of what’s actually going on and what can be done now! (even decades after stuff has happened-to stop the emotional pain and clear trauma).
Neuroplasticity and brain change is not only possible, it will happen, it can’t not happen, if you understand the brain. Rewire the brain to act in healthier and optimal ways as it’s already doing something adaptive to survive.
Popular Therapy Approaches That Inspired EPI®
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a specific form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal clients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Elizabeth Michas began using the DBT approach in 1989-1991 on her clinical internship at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, Westchester Division, where Dr. Marsha Linehan visited while on sabatical prior to the 1993 publication of her book, DBT Borderline Personality. Dr. Michas was taught DBT and also received supervision of its specialized application for inpatients. The DBT approach is now considered the best evidence-based practice for BPD, and significantly reduced rates of in-patient hospitalization. Research shows it’s effective in treating wide range of disorders that co-occur with severe personality disorders, such as PTSD, Depression, Substance Use and Eating Disorders.
Dialectical means an integration or synthesis of opposites and in this approach that involves acceptance and change. The therapist accepts where the client is and acknowledges need for change to optimize function and goals. In addition to individual therapy, the client attends skills training groups, and at times receives phone coaching to promote learning on how to use skills effectively to cope with difficult situations that come in the course of everyday living. All skills and strategies are taught in four separate modules with regard to this balancing act between acceptance and change; acceptance oriented skills modules include: Mindfulness (practice being fully aware/present) and Distress Tolerance (tolerate pain, don’t try to change it), and change-oriented skills modules involve: Emotion Regulation (changing difficult emotions) and Interpersonal Effectiveness (asking for, saying no, conflict resolving and maintaining connection).
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Medical Center, which uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful. In recent years, meditation has been the subject of controlled clinical research. Some research has suggested that therapies incorporating mindfulness might help people with anxiety, depression, stress, and in dealing with chronic illness and pain. Dr. Elizabeth Michas utilizes MBSR strategies, to cultivate mind-body awareness in her Emotional Pain Intervention™ (EPI) approach to reach the whole brain for change, and optimize nervous system functions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term intervention typically 8-12 sessions once a week for 60 minute per session. It is a goal-oriented approach to resolve problems in thinking, that affect feeling and behavior. CBT has proven helpful as first step in recovery from eating disorders, drug and alcohol addictions, post-traumatic stress and anxiety/panic disorders. With CBT, the client is asked to take an active role outside of therapy session, doing recording of thoughts, homework activities outside of therapy such as activities to challenge the FEAR neural response pattern and rewire brain with new experiences.
Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT)
While traditional therapy is characterized by developing more insight or understanding, taking a long time, often involving painful reliving of past events, or having to feel worse before you get better, Rapid Resolution Therapy®, developed by Dr. Jon Connelly, is a revolutionary approach, utilizing multi-level communication to treat the emotional as well as intellectual facets of one’s mind. The technique is quick, painless and complete, yet patients are not required to relive the past or feel the pain from traumatic events.In fact, I think of RRT as an emotional pain intervention where the ongoing influences that painful past events have had on emotions, thoughts and behavior are eliminated. These often completely unconscious conflicts, distorted meanings, and destructive habit loops blocking desired change are resolved. The mind is clear and patients usually report an immediate difference in how they feel, think and respond. I see RRT also having some advantage over current cognitive behavioral and solution oriented therapy approaches that might ignore the ongoing influence of past events on current problems by trying to teach new thinking or behaving skills which require time and practice before change takes place. When I’m working with patients on a specific traumatic event, the patient will remain fully conscious with eyes open. The RRT method allows the patient to recall a memory without reliving it, instead they remain empowered and fully, consciously, present WITHOUT having to recapture, re-live, or re-experience the event emotionally. It is often a surprising relief when my patients realize they at last have the ability to do this.These are my personal insights, but see what other patients are saying about their experience with RRT by visiting www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com.
Dr. Elizabeth Michas is one of a handful of individuals to receive Certified Master Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Therapy® and Advanced Clinical Hypnosis.
Hypnosis is actually a rather natural state that you’ve likely experienced before. For instance, if you have shed a tear, laughed, jumped or found yourself excited at a movie; then you have experienced a profound hypnotic response. Even though we know movies aren’t real, but manufactured in Hollywood, these special effects, lighting, sound effect our minds. So even though you weren’t perhaps aware of deciding to do anything on purpose to make yourself cry or jump in your seat, another level of your mind subconsciously responded to the sensory experience from the movie.Scientists estimate that 95% of what we feel or do is driven by processes going on in the mind and body below our conscious awareness, and that only 5% of what we are doing at any given moment is conscious. The conscious mind is the part of our mind that we use to set goals, make decisions, and reason things out. Meanwhile, the part of our mind that is subconscious is doing many things such as keeping your breathing regulated and your heart beating; or processing sensory information from the environment like smells, sounds, body language of others, etc.
The subconscious mind also stores memories, learned behaviors, belief systems, and governs “automatic” behaviors and responses, i.e. habits. So, you have to get this part of the mind involved for lasting change. Hypnosis is a very safe and effective intervention. But, there are myths about hypnosis and so often people will fear loss of control, not remembering anything or having a spontaneous unpleasant memory. I will be teaching you ways to get your mind and body to respond more the way you want. You remain awake and aware throughout the session. You are in full control of the experience, and will only respond to suggestions that make sense to you and are in your best interest. Essentially, all hypnosis is “self-hypnosis”.
What if I am not able to be hypnotized?
The best candidates for clinical hypnosis are persons who are highly motivated to overcome a problem. Hypnosis cannot “magically” help you quit smoking or lose weight, if you really don’t want to do these things. But, if you have a sincere desire to change, and are ready, you’re likely to do very well and find it very rewarding.
For more information about clinical hypnosis, visit the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis website at www.asch.net