Behavioral compulsions like sexual addiction, addictive shopping, and compulsive gambling create massive changes that affect individuals’ behavior, including their entire lives. According to Hase, M., Schallmayer & Sack (2008), individuals without control over their sexual, shopping, or gambling behaviors tend to suffer enormously. As a result, they suffer from emotional, physical, and financial problems. Based on the psychodynamic etiology of compulsive engagement in gambling, individuals can be explained differently. One of the likely reasons for gambling is exhilaration, coupled with the increased need to please other people. Another reason is the omnipotent incitement or the need to engage in risky behaviors to hide strong feelings of emptiness and desperation. The following reason is to enhance competitiveness as winning creates a feeling of competency. Other reasons include the need to rebel or participate in illegal activities, be financially independent, socially conform, and create an individual perception of countering intolerable feelings (Bae et al., 2015). Treating such compulsive aspects of gambling requires dispensing these concerns and avoiding gambling at all costs.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a comprehensive program to treat sexual compulsion (O’Brien & Abel, 2011). The treatment program occurs in different phases. The initial one requires creating intervention in the addiction process, educating, and confronting denial. The other phase requires individual attendance with at least twelve programs, an avoidance plan, a relapse, prevention plan, therapy, family or partner inclusion, and indignity saving. The last phase needs comprehension of developmental concerns and biological factors.

The EMDR is a psychotherapeutic method devised to address the related traumas and is critical in treating PTSD. The significance of EMDR in treating individual behavioral compulsions is stressed by Cox & Howard (2007), who views trauma as the result of sexual compulsions; hence, possible to treat. Cox & Howard (2007) argues that traumatizing situations tend to create a highly compulsive connection. The use of EMDR to treat individuals addicted to sex and alcohol revolves around past events. On the other hand, FSAP on behavioral compulsion suggests that compulsions are caused by the rigidity of positive feelings linked with specific individual behaviors. The connection between individual behaviors and feelings is termed a feeling-state. Upon activation, the feeling-state activates the whole psycho-sociological pattern of a person. From the activation follows the inductions of the uncontrolled behavior.

As with the involvement of compound trauma individuals, the process is sometimes nonlinear. One instance is the client who depends on EMDR therapy to counter the memories that asking for help is unsafe (Hase et al., 2008). As long as it is addressed, calling out for help is always safer. After that, EMDR therapy can be used along with a traditional way of communicating where one plays the role of asking for help. The event would be followed by continued use of EMDR therapy to counter existing triggers and future uncertainties regarding the problem. Having offered some support, the client might be interested in addressing an existing urge to gamble, engage in sexual activity, or even addictive shopping.


Bae, H., Han, C., & Kim, D. (2015). Desensitization of triggers and urge reprocessing for pathological gambling: a case series. Journal of Gambling Studies, 31(1), 331-342.

Cox, R. P., & Howard, M. D. (2007). Utilization of EMDR in the treatment of sexual addiction: A case study. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 14(1), 1-20.

Hase, M., Schallmayer, S., & Sack, M. (2008). EMDR reprocessing of the addiction memory: Pretreatment, posttreatment, and 1-month follow-up. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(3), 170-179.

O’Brien, J. M., & Abel, N. J. (2011). EMDR, addictions, and the stages of change: A road map for intervention. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 5(3), 121-130.

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