Self-Regulation and Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback: Promoting Emotional and Spiritual Fitness in Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Ph.D. Dissertation, Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology Widener University, May 2013.
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Most forms of addiction, including alcohol-related disorders, are pervasive and are stubbornly difficult to treat. One of the variables accountable for such difficulties is related to deficits in executive functions, and tends to manifest as problems in self-regulation and self-control. These self-regulatory issues pose many challenges to individuals in recovery, as well as, to clinicians tasked with treatment. Despite recent shift in focus on providing holistic care, including spiritually-based interventions, there are very few programs that systemically strengthen emotional self-regulation and help individuals integrate spirituality into their lives for a more sustainable state of recovery. Recent research demonstrates the potential utility of training individuals to self-generate positive emotions, reduce frequency of internal conflicts, and increase overall psychophysiological coherence. This dissertation builds on this research and integrates three interventions into a comprehensive, holistic, and empirically-supported adjunct to standard drug and alcohol treatment.