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Using Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT) To Treat Addiction

John Schaffer, LPCC

Medically reviewed by

John Schaffer, LPCC

March 7, 2019

ETT is a non-drug approach to treating many different conditions, including drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. Through the use of brain stimulation, ETT helps individuals overcome unresolved emotional issues and personal conflicts through interpersonal therapy and research-based therapeutic techniques.

Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT) is, “a form of therapy that often rapidly alleviates emotional distress as well as physical pain which has been caused by that stress,” states the Emotional Transformation Therapy International Association (ETTIA).

What Is Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT)?

Emotional Transformation Therapy is an alternative therapy, which means it isn’t a traditional method of healing. However, in recent years ETT has proven effective at treating emotional and personal issues related to or resulting from different conditions.

ETT utilizes light and/or color wavelengths to produce visual stimulation in the brain. This therapeutic method is not only effective, but efficient. Participants may see results in as little as one session.

ETT targets your desired results (for instance, relief from stress or anxiety), and helps you to overcome the conditions, with long-term results. This therapy can treat physical conditions, mental health conditions, stress, pain, and many other ailments.

What Conditions Does ETT Treat?

ETT works to treat a range of health conditions with great success. The following are conditions which have been treated through use of ETT.

Physical conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout/neuropathy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Lower back pain
  • Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms
  • Migraines
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Sciatica
  • Temperomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
  • Weight loss

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Mental health conditions:


  • Marital issues
  • Insomnia/sleep troubles
  • Stress
  • Trauma

People with chronic or even life-threatening diseases, like cancer, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS), may also respond well to ETT, according to the National Integrated Health Associates.

How Does ETT Work?

ETT works by establishing a strong interpersonal relationship between clients and their therapists founded on empathy. Many people who have been victims of trauma may experience physical or mental symptoms as a result, such as nightmares or a range of emotions. ETT can help people trigger and overcome those symptoms.

People with mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression, also experience physical or mental symptoms that can get out of control. ETT helps these people overcome the feelings and emotions which contribute to these conditions.

ETT is a natural, non-invasive, therapeutic method, and it works by use of frequency, color, and multi-directional eye movements. After first developing a strong interpersonal connection with a therapist, the therapist can then use visual stimulation to help your brain react differently to certain emotions.

How does this work, exactly? When light enters your eyes, your eyes convert what you’re seeing into neural (nerve) impulses, which travel into your brain and nervous system.

The ETTIA explains, “If the therapist controls certain features of what the client sees, the direction and destination of the neural impulses can be precisely guided to the portions of the brain responsible for a certain symptom.”

In other words, when ETT is executed well, a therapist can target the exact emotions, memories, or thoughts which trigger a certain stressor and bring relief to the participant almost instantly. For this reason, once the level of interpersonal connection is reached, you may find relief from symptoms of the condition you’re treating in just one session.

How Does ETT Treat Addiction?

Many people who have fallen into addiction are victims of trauma or abuse. Some addicted individuals have mental health conditions that came before addiction, or started, in part, because of it.

Addiction is a mental health condition. It causes you to crave and seek a substance without ceasing, even when you know you shouldn’t, even when you want to stop.

ETT works well for people who have fallen victim to addiction for the simple fact that it helps them target the thoughts and emotions that lead to addiction and conquer them.

Addiction is largely a mental cycle—substance abuse, which turns to habit, which turns to addiction. You begin with abusing a substance, form a habit, and before long, your brain has convinced you that you can’t survive without the drug.

Addiction differs from dependence, which causes physical withdrawal symptoms, but both are harmful, vicious cycles that keep you caught in substance abuse. ETT can help you overcome a range of conditions that can contribute to why you fell into addiction in the first place.

While ETT cannot cure addiction, it can help you target harmful thoughts and negative emotions so you can overcome them. Because of the nature of addiction, it’s difficult to heal without first identifying the factors that contribute to your addiction and addressing them as needed. ETT may help you do that.

What Happens In A Typical ETT Session?

ETT begins first with a few sessions of getting to know the client. As with many other therapy forms, you may first undergo a formal assessment to identify underlying history and establish your goals in treatment.

During the assessment, or shortly after, you may undergo a photosensitivity test. This test assesses your personal and unique response to light, and allows the therapist information about how you’ll respond to different lights and wavelengths.

Once you and your therapist have a strong connection, the formal ETT session can begin. During your session, light wavelengths will be emitted at low, rapid levels into your eyes to stimulate the level of brainwave activity desired. While this is going on, you’ll also engage in more traditional “talk” therapy (psychotherapy).

Eye movements and position during the therapy session, combined with the light stimulation, help you recall certain memories, reframe your thought processes, or concentrate on and improve physical symptoms.

Combining the two types of stimulation—light (visual) and talk (audio)—can result in faster effects than with more traditional forms of therapy. These sessions can occur regularly, such as weekly or monthly, or in quick succession. When completed in a shorter amount of time, you may experience transformative results.

For people in addiction recovery, ETT would be combined with other healing modalities as needed for ultimate success in recovery outcomes. These methods can include medication-assisted therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, treatment for co-occurring disorders, alternative therapy, and more.

How To Find A Rehab Center That Offers ETT

Not all rehab centers will offer ETT, as it is a newer, less traditional form of healing. The best rehab centers offer an array of healing modalities for an integrated and comprehensive healing experience.

Addiction affects all aspects of your health: mental, emotional, and physical. It’s important to find a rehab center that understands the nature of addiction, and that works to treat all your individual needs.

If you’re struggling with addiction, and want to explore ETT and other research-supported methods in addiction recovery, we can help. Recovery is not just about healing from addiction, but how you heal and the methods that get you there.

Finding a treatment program that works for you is key to recovery success, and we can help you build a custom, individualized plan to meet your specific needs in treatment. Contact us today.

National Integrated Health Associates - Emotional Transformation Therapy

Emotional Transformation Therapy International Association - THE HISTORY OF EMOTIONAL TRANSFORMATION THERAPY (ETT®)

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