The Promising Potential of the MET(T)A Protocol in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

METTA protocol

Addiction is a complex and often challenging disorder to overcome. Treatment programs that incorporate evidence-based approaches have shown to be effective in supporting individuals on their path to recovery. One such approach is the MET(T)A or the Mindfulness and EMDR Treatment and Training for Addiction) Protocol. It combines mindfulness practices with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

In this post, we will explore the MET(T)A protocol and highlight its potential in helping individuals overcome substance use disorder.

MET(T)A Protocol in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Understanding the MET(T)A Protocol

The MET(T)A Protocol is an innovative approach to addiction treatment that addresses the underlying causes of substance use disorder. This includes trauma, co-occurring disorders, and attachment issues. Developed by Dr. Jamie Marich, a licensed clinical counselor and Master EMDR therapist, the protocol combines elements of mindfulness training and EMDR therapy in a comprehensive and integrative program. This protocol combines these therapies to foster insight into the impact of past events while developing self-compassion and better coping skills.

Core Principles of the MET(T)A Protocol

Mindfulness Practice

The MET(T)A protocol places strong emphasis on mindfulness training as a foundation of recovery. By incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation and breath work, individuals learn to identify and regulate their emotional states with non-judgmental awareness. Mindfulness helps individuals develop greater self-insight and emotional intelligence, which are critical components for long-term recovery.

EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy is a distinct form of psychotherapy that has been extensively studied. It has shown to be effective in addressing trauma-related disorders. In the context of the MET(T)A protocol, EMDR therapy is used to address the underlying causes of addiction. EMDR therapy promotes insight into the connections between past traumatic events and current behavioral patterns. This enables individuals to develop healthier relationship behaviors and coping strategies.

Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders

The MET(T)A protocol recognizes that substance use disorder often co-occurs with other mental health disorders. Therefore, the program offers a comprehensive approach that includes mental health treatment in addition to addiction treatment services. The protocol addresses co-occurring disorders by providing individualized treatment plans and therapies that focus on dual diagnosis treatment.

Holistic Care Approach

The said protocol is a holistic and individualized approach to addiction treatment. It recognizes that addiction affects the whole person, not just the substance use, and thus addresses all aspects of an individual’s life. The program addresses physical, mental, and spiritual health and improves mindfulness and coping strategies, promoting well-rounded care and personal growth.

Potential Benefits of the MET(T)A Protocol

Research studies have shown that the MET(T)A protocol has shown promise in treating substance use disorder. According to a study published in The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, participants who received this treatment reported significant improvements in trauma symptoms, including addiction-related symptoms and emotional dysregulation. Furthermore, a qualitative study by Catherine R. Hartmann et al. found that the MET(T)A protocol was particularly effective in addressing the issues of emotional regulation and relapse prevention among individuals in early recovery.


The MET(T)A Protocol represents a promising and integrative approach to addiction treatment by combining mindfulness practices with EMDR therapy. By addressing the underlying causes of addiction, including trauma and co-occurring mental health disorders, the protocol provides individuals with the tools and resources necessary to attain lasting recovery. 

Roots Through Recovery was one of the first treatment centers in the country to become MET(T)A Protocol accredited. The program’s evidence-based approach and individualized care make it a viable option for individuals seeking a holistic and mindful approach to addiction treatment. It represents a valuable contribution to the field of addiction treatment and a useful framework for professionals and individuals seeking to address the complex and intertwined nature of addiction and co-occurring disorders.

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