To my friends at The Sober World I want to say thank you for having me as a guest writer for your magazine. It is with great excitement and passion that I share with you my approach to treating addictions. I have written two books this past year. “Emotional Core Therapy” and “Emotional Core Therapy for Adolescents”. My book,” Emotional Core Therapy” is currently the top rated book on Amazon.com under two categories (Emotions and Mental Health). My book for teens, “Emotional Core Therapy for Adolescents” is currently ranked sixth on Amazon.com under the same categories. The reason they are ranked so high is that my behavioral psychology approach is the simplest and most effective treatment available worldwide for the treatment of relationship stress. Relationship stress can come in many forms. This includes addictions, depression, anxiety, anger, as well as any relationship stress that occurs when people interact with each other.
Why is my Emotional Core Therapy (referred to as ECT) approach so simple? First of all, there are only eight key concepts to learn to fully understand my approach. Since two of these concepts happen almost automatically, it really only takes understanding five or six key concepts to fully grasp .Since The Sober World primarily deals with addictions, I will discuss this topic in detail here.
Prior to the publishing of my ECT books, the best approach to addictions was the Twelve Step Process. The Twelve Steps require you to learn about a “higher power” sometimes referred to as “God” as well as learn 12 concepts that will help you recover from an addiction. My approach does not use a higher power and only has eight concepts. That makes my approach much less burdensome to learn than the twelve steps. Furthermore, Emotional Core Therapy is all based on modern psychology.
I have nothing against the Twelve Steps to Recovery. They have helped millions of people. I personally have attended meetings for AA as an adolescent and as an adult. I did this as both my father and brother both suffered from addiction and mental health issues. Both died tragically young. I have dedicated my practice as a therapist to my brother Philip, who died at the young age of 36 from an alcohol related incident.
As a child I grew up in a household with 12 siblings and an alcoholic father. Often my father would come home from the tavern drunk and raging. I was so terrified that I developed acute anxiety. One day he burned a mattress while sleeping and started a fire. I pleaded with my mother to get him out of the house. My father moved into an apartment a mile from home. A month later he died in a fire. I was only 13 years old at the time. There was a lot of shame in my life at that point. A few times when I was 12 years old, I actually had to wear diapers, as my anxiety was very high. I had a great deal of fear when he was around.
Soon after he passed away my fear diminished. Although we were poor and received government assistance, I still found time to study and learn. The west side of Chicago where I lived presented some choices for me to make as far as living healthy or getting into trouble. I often equate my childhood to the character “Nell” played by Jodie Foster in the movie of the same name. Nell was a young girl who grew up in the woods without any human beings around.
Although I grew up in a large home, I spent most of my time in the streets. My mother worked as a waitress full time and my siblings were too young to care for me as best they tried. I have found over these past 40 years (I am 51 years old) that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. A stronger human being. Being forced into a life of emotional pain as a youth was something I hated very much. I would do almost anything to get out of pain. That is why mental health is such a priority for me. I love to study, learn and help people grow.
I have practiced and perfected my “Emotional Core Therapy” approach over a period of 40 years. I have spent my professional thirty year career as a teacher, coach, and counselor helping others, just as I was helped as a teen and young adult. When I was young there were not a lot of treatment options for the debilitating anxiety, depression, and mild addiction issues that I suffered. Only time and prayer helped me. Once I went to college, I sought help through a counselor. I then gained some insight into my world of pain.
Over the years, the vast majority of my clients who suffer the pains of addictions have told me of their frustration with the Twelve Step Method to recovery, although they praise the support groups approach that the Twelve Steps offer. I would say I only use the Twelve Step Treatment for 3% of my clients. The other 97% I use the Emotional Core Therapy (ECT approach). The reason being is the simplicity of it. One of my clients shared with me a scenario. “If I needed a hip replacement, why would I have to accept God or spirituality in my life first before getting treatment” The same approach holds true for mental health and addiction issues. Also, many of my clients don’t believe in religion or have a religious upbringing different from Christianity. The Twelve Steps doesn’t effectively reach that audience.
I want to give hope to all the readers of The Sober World that there exists effective treatment for addiction. The key is to have a trained professional with experience in addiction and mental health issues helping you through the therapy process. As humans, we often get stressed out. This happens to both teens and adults. Some people get anxious, depressed, and angry. Others turn to drugs. My approach teaches you to honor your authentic feelings. ECT helps you to identify stress, release it and get back to a peaceful state of being.
What I mean by honoring your feelings is to gain insight into how you are feeling. I am very open about my feelings to everyone I meet. I have found that our American culture tries to hide from fear and grief as they think this is a sign of weakness. “Much of America was built 100-150 years ago with a culture that supported the “Protestant Work Ethic”. It was thought to be noble and virtuous to be strong and silent and work hard and not discuss negative emotions. This type of belief of holding emotions within oneself still prevails today. My approach teaches one to externalize and cathartically release negative emotions. This new approach is much better for the mind and body.”
This work ethic had positive side effects and helped build America. However, my research proves that fear and loss are a major part of life. These two feelings are as prominent as joy. All the self-help gurus want to talk about is joy but few really teach you to learn from emotional pain. Both my books cover cases that I have treated in a very simple storytelling manner that is easy to read. I have found through the hundreds of folks reading my book that the process of reading about emotions can be empowering. I want all the readers of The Sober World to have power, strength, and vitality. The best way to learn that is through the knowledge of the human body and mind. Good luck to all of you and have a safe and prosperous life. Life is so very precious. Don’t be weakened by addictions when help is right around the corner.
Robert A. Moylan has worked for over 30 years as a teacher, coach and counselor. He is the author of two books-Emotional Core Therapy and Emotional Core Therapy for Adolescents. He delivers lectures on his Emotional Core Therapy techniques as well as bullying, substance abuse and career counseling. He currently works as a psychotherapist with offices in Naperville and Lisle, Illinois. You may e-mail Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-788-1100. www.robertmoylan.com www.illinoisduicounseling.com