The feeling-state theory of compulsions and cravings and decreasing compulsions and cravings using an eye movement protocol
Compulsions and cravings such as gambling and sex compulsions have been the subject of behavioral and psychodynamic treatment. This study formulates a new theory of compulsions and cravings, called the Feeling-State Theory of Compulsions, and utilizes a technique called the Eye Movement Compulsion Protocol (EMCP) for decreasing both the feelings and behavior. The Feeling-State Theory postulates that positive feelings and behavior are fixated in the body during an intense experience, creating the feeling-state. The result is that, when the person desires that feeling again, the feeling-state including the behavior is recapitulated. Just as the use of eye movements in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been shown to reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the EMCP technique utilizes eye movements to decrease the feeling-state associated with compulsions. The present study utilizes a multiple baseline single case research design with 4 subjects. Skin conductance levels (SCL) and a self-report scale (SUES) are the dependent variables. Two of the subjects provide support for both the theory and the EMCP technique. Both the change in SCL and the SUES values for 1 compulsion are clearly decreased post-intervention while the other compulsions values remain relatively stable. One of the other 2 subjects provided less clear support for the theory and technique but reveals some unexpected interactions between compulsions. The other subject's baseline values did not remain stable enough for a clear result but did not contradict the results of the other subjects. The conclusion is reached that the overall results of the study support the Feeling-State Theory of Compulsions and the usefulness of the EMCP technique to decrease compulsions and cravings. Although the findings in this study can not be conclusive because of the small number of subjects, the results do open up new approaches for research.
Original Work Citation
Miller, R. (2005). The feeling-state theory of compulsions and cravings and decreasing compulsions and cravings using an eye movement protocol. (Dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute)
“The feeling-state theory of compulsions and cravings and decreasing compulsions and cravings using an eye movement protocol,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 20, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15431.