What is the Role of Desistence in Treatment?

The goals of drug courts and treatment providers are to: 1. Reduce Recidivism, 2. Lower the Cost of Crime and Treatment, 3. Effect change.

Do drug courts and local treatment providers settle for short-term behavior changes (fake it till you make it) or do they seek long-term behavior changes?

Many drug courts use one to three years to measure results. Then they claim an 84% success rate.

The criminal justice system tells us 85% of released prisoners return to prison after 10 years. What’s really going on?

Trauma-informed experts, Marich and Dansiger (EMDR for Healing Addiction) tell us there is a high drop-out rate and there is a 40-60% relapse rate. Over 2/3 of the relapses occur early in the recovery process and 85% relapse or return to drug use within one year, (p.153) after treatment.


I’ll ask again. What is the role of desistence in your treatment protocols?

Answer: It does not play a role.

Why? Because you are not using it. You teach relapse prevention instead desistence and Transcendence. According to Marich, Dansiger and the Criminal Justice System, it is not working too well.

Wanberg, Milkman, and Beck tell us, “There will be no long-term behavior changes unless you change permission-granting core beliefs first.”

Teach what you want: Desistence from CTC and Transcendence from SUD or addiction.

As Albert Ellis would say, “Go then, and according to how thou hast believed, be it done unto you.” Then he gave us a couple tablets describing ABC-DE Theory.

If I could show you how this worked, would you be interested in seeing how my idea will help your organization? DM me for more information.

The CBT map image is from Belief Eye Movement Therapy by Stan Dokmanus. Amazon.com.

Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict is also at Amazon.com.

How Do Mental Health, AOD and CTC Affect You?

Your safety could be affected by burglary, drug crimes, rape, etc. How soon should corrective measures be taken when these threats are present?

Assume that a perpetrator has been apprehended. What should we do with and for that person to help her/him stop doing crime? How soon?

Is it okay to wait for the offender to consider and maybe taper off doing crimes? Or do we want the offender to learn desistence?

What is desistence? Cease and desist! Stop! We have a zero tolerance for this behavior. We don’t want less from you. We want none.

Some will say, “Oh, the poor misunderstood person. He’s just acting out behavior due to trauma. Let’s put him in treatment.”

Others will say, “Oh, he has a drug problem. He committed the crimes under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Let’s offer him drug court.”

Both statements can be true. But neither offers an efficient, rapid, inexpensive solution. Trauma-informed treatment is great. Lengthy too.

As you can see from the CBT map image below, criminal thinking and conduct, CTC and alcohol and other drug, AOD, or substance use disorder, SUD, drive one another. Each needs to be treated.

But what is the real problem? It’s the limiting, CTC, permission-granting, core beliefs about AOD that lead to the risk to public safety. Those beliefs that allow the offender to put you or your children in danger.

Psychotherapy can take years. And lots of insurance billing. We, the public don’t want to wait years for Little Johnny to stop breaking into our houses.

Remember the image of Jack Nicholson breaking through the door? “Here’s Johhny!” We want safety now!

What’s the quickest way to change these CTC behaviors?

There will be no long-term behavior changes unless you change “blocking, limiting, permission-granting core beliefs involving AOD and crime that will impede treatment. (Marich, Dansiger, Wanberg, Milkman, and Beck.)

DM me if you want to become a community leader for creating public safety and addressing the AOD/CTC Cycle drug problems in your community.

Belief Eye Movement Therapy is the quickest way I know to change limiting beliefs. Anyone can be taught to do this. Anyone can benefit.

The CBT map image is from “Belief Eye Movement Therapy” and ‘Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict.” Amazon.com

How Does BEMT Handle AOD/CTC Beliefs?

BEMT is Belief Eye Movement Therapy. It’s used for among other things, to elicit and change limiting beliefs that keep people stuck.

Let’s tie together several key concepts in the treatment of addiction and criminal behavior, emphasizing the central role of beliefs in sustaining or altering such behaviors.

  1. AOD/CTC Cycle: Wanberg and Milkman discuss how alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse and criminal thinking and conduct (CTC) interact, reinforcing each other in a cyclical pattern. This cycle suggests that interventions need to address both AOD abuse and CTC simultaneously because each element can trigger or exacerbate the other.
  2. Core Beliefs: The approach advocated by Wanberg and Milkman posits that lasting change in behavior is contingent upon altering core beliefs. This idea is consistent with cognitive-behavioral principles which posit that core beliefs influence a person’s thoughts and behaviors, and therefore, modifying these beliefs is essential for real change.
  3. Permission-Granting Beliefs: Judith S. Beck’s contribution from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) highlights the importance of tackling “permission-granting beliefs” early (ASAP) in treatment. These are beliefs that individuals hold which justify or allow continuation of harmful behaviors, such as substance use or criminal actions.
  4. Blocking Beliefs: Marich and Dansiger, in their discussion on EMDR, talk about “blocking beliefs” that can impede the process of reprocessing necessary for recovery. These beliefs can prevent individuals from fully engaging in therapeutic processes that are crucial for addressing deeper psychological issues.

Conclusion: Given the above, it’s evident that similar principles apply when dealing with limiting beliefs in both addiction treatment and criminal behavior intervention. That’s the role of BEMT. In both contexts, deeply held, maladaptive beliefs must be identified and challenged to facilitate meaningful change. This indicates a shared underlying mechanism where beliefs significantly dictate behaviors, whether they are related to addiction or criminal conduct. Thus, effective treatment strategies should include techniques for identifying, challenging, and changing these, core and blocking beliefs to disrupt the cycles of addiction and criminal behavior. Integrating BEMT, focusing on eye movement therapy to reprocess trauma and change beliefs, aligns well with these broader therapeutic principles.

Do you have a specific, time appropriate belief change protocol at your treatment provider program? DM me for more information.

“Belief Eye Movement Therapy” the book, by Stan Dokmanus is available on Amazon.com.

Belief Eye Movement Therapy – Google

“I apologize for any confusion. You are correct that Stan Dokmanus is the developer of Belief Eye Movement Therapy (EMDR). I appreciate your attention to detail! 😊

Francine Shapiro, on the other hand, is the creator of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which shares some similarities with Belief Eye Movement Therapy. EMDR was specifically designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma-related symptoms. It uses bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements) to help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce their emotional impact.

Again, I apologize for any oversight in my previous response. If you have any more questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask!?

Google included (EMDR) after Belief Eye Movement Therapy. That’s misleading.

They are similar. However, anyone can learn to do BEMT, Belief Eye Movement Therapy. DM me, Stan Dokmanus for more information.


The use of medications like buprenorphine, Ativan, Suboxone, and methadone in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders has been both praised for its efficacy in harm reduction and criticized for potentially perpetuating a cycle of dependence. While MAT can be effective in managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, it often doesn’t address the underlying psychological factors driving addiction. This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comes into play.

CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addiction. It helps individuals identify and challenge core beliefs, such as those that grant permission to use alcohol or drugs, and replace them with healthier alternatives. By targeting these beliefs early in treatment, CBT aims to disrupt the cycle of addiction at its core.

Wanberg and Milkman’s assertion that long-term behavior change requires addressing core beliefs aligns with the principles of CBT. Without addressing underlying beliefs that support substance use, individuals may continue to struggle with addiction even if they temporarily abstain through MAT.

Judith S. Beck’s emphasis on addressing permission-granting beliefs underscores the importance of early intervention in changing the cognitive processes that maintain addiction. By challenging these beliefs, individuals can develop healthier coping mechanisms and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

One of the strengths of CBT is its adaptability to different types of addiction and individual needs. It can be integrated into various treatment settings, including MAT programs, to enhance outcomes by addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Furthermore, CBT has demonstrated efficacy in reducing substance use and preventing relapse across a range of populations and substances. Research has shown that individuals who receive CBT as part of their treatment are more likely to maintain abstinence and experience long-term recovery compared to those who rely solely on medication.

While MAT plays a valuable role in managing the physiological aspects of addiction, it should be complemented with interventions like CBT to address the underlying cognitive and behavioral factors. By incorporating belief change strategies into treatment, we can empower individuals to break free from the cycle of addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

BEMT, Belief Eye Movement Therapy was created to help people with limiting, permission-granting core beliefs about AOD and CTC.

How Do Words and Beliefs Affect Addiction, Criminal Behavior and MH?

How can you use the CBT map below to help patients and clients have better SUD treatment outcomes?

Words and beliefs play a profound role in shaping mental health. The language we use internally and externally can influence our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Matthew Perry had volumes of limiting self-talk, beliefs and values.

What’s an example of using effective words and beliefs?

Positive affirmations and beliefs can foster resilience and well-being, while negative self-talk and beliefs can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Use your words. Your positive words.

Words affect your beliefs. After reading his book four times, I still can not find where he mentioned any of his treatment providers doing belief change work with him and for him.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes the importance of identifying and challenging irrational beliefs to promote mental well-being. Words are the building blocks of beliefs.

You can’t just talk about that with clients. You need to help them to change their permission-granting, AOD beliefs.

The power of language extends to societal attitudes and stigma surrounding mental health, highlighting the need for promoting positive narratives (words) and destigmatizing language.

Understanding the impact of words and beliefs on SUD underscores the importance of fostering a supportive and empowering linguistic environment. That’s HOW. This CBT map shows the process.

Belief Eye Movement Therapy, BEMT, can help clients and patients change their limiting beliefs. DM me if you’d like more information.

The CBT map image is from Belief Eye Movement Therapy. $6.99. Amazon.com

Change Limiting Permission-granting Beliefs with Belief Eye Movement Therapy.

“There will be no long-term (AOD-CTC) behavior changes unless you change limiting, permission-granting core beliefs and values first. (Wanberg, Milkman, Beck.) That’s the purpose for developing BEMT.

How could it make a difference?

Matthew Perry was in treatment half of his life. He’s dead. Could it GET any worse?

Beliefs Eye Movement Therapy is about identifying and changing limiting, permission-granting beliefs.

How would you have used this CBT map image along with BEMT to help “Matty?”

DM me if you would like more information for help or about how this will help your clients and employees.

The CBT map image is from “Belief Eye Movement Therapy.” Amazon.com

How Do You Want to Help Criminal Justice Clients?

How could the criminal justice system help more people succeed? I’m a criminal justice professional, CCJP.

I’ve been doing this a long time. I have a question. What Are the Pros and Cons of Belief Eye Movement Therapy? Here’s an example of how BEMT can be used in the criminal justice system.

“Having a positive outlook on life, and what the future holds for you, is vital in achieving happiness in every aspect of your life. I would like to share with you an amazing transformation of a young woman with the help of Stan Dokmanus.

Stan helped her change her limiting beliefs, almost immediately, by using Belief Eye Movement Therapy. I was participating in a group discussion about beliefs, when this young woman, who had very low self-esteem, said that she had no future, and was going nowhere.

This young woman even predicted her desolate future.

At that time Stan Dokmanus asked her if he could sit down with her for a few moments. He asked me to come along and observe.

Using the BEMT technique, Stan was able to change the way that she looked at herself. She was overwhelmed with hope, and was immediately filled with faith about what she could accomplish.

This immediate change, in how she perceived herself, brought her to tears.

The new energy that she brought with her from that day forward was truly inspirational. What made this sudden change in her totally amazing was that it took Stan about 10 to 15 minutes to bring this out in her.

I would strongly recommend Stan Dokmanus to anybody that would like to fulfill their potential. Totally Incredible.”
SEMT Rph (Registered Pharmacist)
November 25, 2012

There are no cons. DM me if you would like more information or to book a training.
“Belief Eye Movement Therapy” is available at Amazon.com

Last Week: What Are Shared Problems of Mental Health Providers?

Could it BE any worse?

Matthew Perry spent half his life in treatment for substance use disorder, SUD. He could afford the best money could buy. He’s dead.

No doubt, some of the treatment providers he used were included in Newsweek’s Top 350 SUD providers. That would be the top 2% of 17,353 organizations in the U.S.

Each of these treatment providers would claim to be using evidence based, best practices. What went wrong?

What kinds of problems are criminal justice, addiction and mental health treatment providers facing?

These are shared pain points between non-profit substance use disorder (SUD) organizations and drug courts according to OpenAI ChatGPT.

“1. Budget Constraints.
2. Diminished Quality of Services.
3. Inadequate Request for Proposal (RFP) Criteria.
4. Lack of Good Faith Bargaining…

…In summary, both non-profit SUD organizations and drug courts face similar challenges related to budget constraints, diminished service quality, inadequate RFP criteria, and issues with good faith bargaining when collaborating on substance abuse treatment initiatives.

Addressing these shared pain points requires enhanced communication, transparency, and accountability mechanisms to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently and that individuals with substance abuse issues receive the support they need for successful rehabilitation.”

What was the missing piece in treatment for Matty? How did these providers address Matty’s limiting, permission-granting beliefs about alcohol and other drug, AOD, use and abuse?

Many SUD treatment manuals show images of the beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behavior process. But how many organizations actually help the client to elicit and change core beliefs about SUD?

These ideas may be introduced in group treatment. But the work is done one on one in individual sessions. That is the purpose of BEMT, Belief Eye Movement Therapy.

This needs to be done for clients struggling with SUD and seeking what should be Transcendence rather than serial abstinence, relapse, and recidivism.

In my next post, I’ll include a description of the process.

The CBT map image is from Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict. Amazon.com.

What Are Common Problems for Troubled Treatment Organizations?#rapport#trust#rolemodels#support#honesty#stigma#trauma

Staff burnout, recruiting, retention, stigma, morale and burnout, are just a few of these problems. All of these can be considered using the CBT map image below. Why?

Because all of these areas involve beliefs, values, attitudes, etc. Employees are affected by each of these areas. The CBT map is their GPS.

Look at each of the cognitive categories as links in a chain. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

This is true of the chain of command too. Administration members and the subordinates are all links of the chain. It should work like a symphony.

When there is too much discord the harmony suffers. What causes the discord and morale problems?

A disconnect between administration and the subordinates affects rapport, trust, burnout and retention. Recruiting qualified staff is difficult enough. Poor retention is costly.

We can look at employees as links and ‘parts’ of the organization. The employees are made up of ‘parts’ too. These ‘parts’ also have beliefs and values. Consider the employee. She has a partner part, a parent part, an employee part, role model part, a counselor part, a therapist part.

Each of these parts has needs, wants and fears, just like the whole person has. Imagine when there is a ‘parts conflict’ within the employee.

There is always at least one ‘part’ that will object.

All of the other employees agree that X would be a good idea. But one link, one employee has objections to X. Why? What’s the fear? There is probably a positive intent or secondary gain of avoiding that which is feared. What is it?

Is it a trauma-based fear? Is it imposter syndrome? What is the limiting belief that is driving the probably irrational fear?

Administrators and employees can benefit by learning how to do a Parts Reframe.

That’s where Belief Eye Movement Therapy, BEMT can add to the quality and outcome of treatment. There will be no long-term behavior changes unless you change limiting, permission-granting, core beliefs first.

Everyone has limiting beliefs about something important in their lives.

DM me if you want more information for you or your employer group.