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Net Therapy for Treating Trauma & Substance Abuse

Neuro-emotional technique, or NET, is a cutting-edge therapeutic intervention that is gaining traction in the addiction treatment community.

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Due to continued success noted across a range of populations, NET is increasingly seen as a go-to treatment option for those seeking to build a comprehensive treatment plan to manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders, especially when entwined with a co-occurring addiction disorder.

Bridgette Vail-Powlick from Footprints Recovery holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Professional Counseling, and an MBA in Health Care Administration. She defines NET as a “mind-body technique that uses a methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress.”

When used as part of an intensive treatment program that includes one-on-one therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and other experiential treatments in addition to holistic treatments and possibly medication in certain circumstances, NET can be an incredibly effective treatment.


How Does It Work?

The goal of NET is to identify unresolved stress patterns, according to Vail-Powlick. She says that it is the practitioner’s objective to help patients locate those stress patterns and then assist them in the “completion of the body’s normal mind-body process.”

How is this accomplished? In many cases, a Pulse Correction is used. The practitioner guides the patient through breathing processes while holding a pulse point and focusing on the identified event.

Says Vail-Powlick: “NET is based on physiological foundation of stress-related responses. Emotional responses are composed of neuropeptides or amino acid chains and their receptors, which lay on neurons and other cells of remote tissue in the body.

“The neuropeptides are ejected from the neuron and carry the encoded information to other sites within the body.

“Neuropeptides are in a category of neurochemicals known as Information Substances (IS). ISs are released at times of stress-related arousal and become attached to remotely positioned neuroreceptors.”

It’s important to note that this same process, purposefully triggered during a NET session, occurs when you experience a memory of an event, especially an event related to trauma. The physical stress response is stored in the body with the memory, and NET seeks to release that stress and anxiety in a controlled environment that is supported and safe.

How Does NET Combine With Addiction Treatment & Trauma Work at Footprints?

When trauma plays a role in the development of addiction, as is often the case, it is important to address that trauma proactively during the rehabilitation process. At Footprints, our substance abuse treatment professionals are not only “trauma informed” but also “trauma responsive.”


Vail-Powlick says NET is the tool that allows clinicians at Footprints to assist patients in making connections to the subconscious brain in order to identify unresolved trauma and process through the blockages that have developed as a result.

Says Vail-Powlick: “NET adds a holistic approach which Footprints promotes.” This allows patients to make use of traditional as well as alternative treatment options together and maximize the value in their recovery.

Is It Right for My Treatment Program?

Ask questions about NET and how it works when considering this mind-body technique for addiction treatment and recovery at Footprints. Because treatment is a collaborative process between patients and clinicians, you have the opportunity to voice your opinions, requesting more information about different therapies and suggesting specific options in your recovery.

NET may be a good fit for you and your treatment plan if:
  • You began using drugs and alcohol in response to grief, anger, or pain associated with trauma.
  • You used drugs and alcohol as a means of managing mental health symptoms associated with trauma, such as anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, or insomnia.
  • You experience more episodes or a worsening of trauma-related anxiety when you try to stop using drugs or alcohol on your own.
  • You experience hallucinations or increased flashbacks while under the influence but cannot stop drinking and getting high.

Has Anyone Else Used NET Successfully?

Absolutely. In fact, many Footprints patients have had great experiences incorporating NET into their treatment plan.

Here are just a few testimonials:

“When I started NET I was a little skeptical at first. In my first session, I learned some things about myself that I never knew. I almost cried because my subconscious had buried it for so long I hadn’t even realized what had really caused some of my pain.

“Getting into my past experiences is uncomfortable and brings up a lot, but there are a lot of benefits from being open. I had never known that emotions could be stored in body parts. Coupled with the chiropractor adjusting the spots that need attention, I can honestly sense a change in my behavior. It’s almost like a sense of relief after I leave the session. Such a 10/10 experience for me. I absolutely love it and will continue to do it while I am here.” — JA

“NET has been very beneficial in my recovery. It has helped me get in touch with all kinds of emotions and gain different perspectives on situations that have affected me in my life.” — AG

“NET was quite the experience for me. I was super hesitant at first. I honestly didn’t think it was going to work for me, but it ended up being a major help in my recovery. It helped me remember things from my past that I never thought I could remember. Even though some of those memories were painful to go through, it was worth it because it helped me understand where my current problems were stemming from. It made it easier to heal the emotional wounds that were left open. I’m very grateful for NET and I would recommend it to anyone with any kind of trauma, whether it is big or small.” — PR

Worth the Effort

NET is not a magic fix for trauma that will work overnight. Though it can have a tremendous, long-term impact, it takes time and effort. Like all addiction treatment therapies, it is most effective when administered by substance abuse treatment professionals as part of a comprehensive and personalized treatment program.

Not everyone is a good fit for NET, but if you believe it could be a positive option for you, reach out now to discuss the possibilities for your addiction treatment program at Footprints.

Article Contributors

Frank D LoRiggio, MA, LPC, NCC is the Clinical Director at Footprints to Recovery’s Pennsylvania location. He holds a Masters of Arts in Clinical Counseling Psychology, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and a Certified EMDR Therapist.

Laura Golden, MSW, LSW is a trauma informed, eclectic clinician with a passion for helping individuals with mental health disorders, substance use disorders and trauma diagnoses. Laura utilizes multiple evidence-based practices and mind body therapies to meet the unique needs of every client.

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