In my 30 years of working with addiction in various levels of care and treatment modalities, I have seen clients who relapse even after numerous treatment attempts and continually fail to maintain their sobriety. It just seemed that there was something else happening in this pattern of relapse that occurred even with all their most sincere and committed efforts. Despite attending numerous treatment programs, counseling, support group and 12-step meetings, smart recovery, psychiatry, psychotherapy, changing “people, places and things”, religion and spirituality, they were still plagued by relapse. This scenario became so puzzling to me that I began to search for the reason for this perplexing and frustrating situation. When I began my study and training in hypnosis, I realized that the factor that goes beyond their recovery knowledge, determination, and support existed in the subconscious memories of the rewarding experiences of their substance use or compulsive behavior. I was then able to identify the two primary motives/driving factors which were memories of pleasure and/or the relief from painful experiences (emotional, psychological, or physical)
By gaining this understanding, I developed a technique called the “Fire Extinguisher” that can interrupt impulsive behavior and empower the client to resist and avoid relapse.
When this relapse prevention technique is applied during a potential relapse episode, it reduces emotional cravings and desires and restores the client’s capacity to make logical and rational decisions. When utilized effectively, the desire to avoid the pain and suffering overrules the desire to succumb to the cravings that cause relapse. “The Fire Extinguisher” can also be conceptually described as a consequential feeling & existential model of relapse prevention.
This technique utilizes the client’s actual experience with the application of reality, rational emotive, and cognitive-behavioral therapies, along with motivational enhancement, positive association, metaphor, and hypnotic suggestion. The systematic application of the “Fire Extinguisher” process works to overcome the desire for pleasure or relief with a stronger desire to avoid pain. By educating the client on the process and components of relapse, it activates the recall of negative memories and emotions, which are directly related to their condition. In doing so, the client learns to “pause and reflect” and “pause for the cause “which is simply to avoid any further pain and negative consequence. When the Fire Extinguisher Technique is applied it makes the decision to abstain from relapse virtually the only valid and sensible choice, in other words, it becomes a “No Brainer.”
I have taught this technique to hundreds of clients who verbalized that the “Fire Extinguisher” has been their most effective relapse prevention tool and often expressed that is has saved their life.
I have diligently worked to design and perfect this technique over the past 5 years and have developed a 3 CEU presentation for mental health and behavioral health professionals who work with substance abuse and/or other compulsive disorders.
Empower your Clients to Succeed in Recovery!
If you would like to learn how to effectively teach this technique to your clients, I have designed a 3 CEU training workshop that explains and demonstrates the presentation of this technique in individual or group therapy settings. The next training will be a Virtual Online event conducted on Zoom on November 24, 2020 from 7-9 PM EST. The cost of the training is $75.00 but you may receive the early fee of $50.00 if you register before November 10, 2020.
The Fire Extinguisher Model and all information contained herein is copyrighted by Brad Haber, LCSW, CAP © 2019