Evidence-based Treatment

Hawaii Island Recovery offers 3 powerful evidence-based treatment therapies as part of the well-rounded approach to your treatment.

As you search for a rehab program for you or a loved one, you will come across a wide variety of treatment methodologies. Only those therapies which have been proven effective in numerous research studies can be designated as evidence-based treatments. 

At Hawaii Island Recovery, we offer four powerful evidence-based treatment therapies as part of our well-rounded approach to your treatment.

Trauma-Informed Therapy, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Trauma is a pervasive issue in our society and in human populations around the globe. Only after a century of studying trauma have we begun to understand all the ways in which it affects our minds, bodies, and the people we love. At Hawaii Island Recovery, our doors, as well as our hearts, are open to all those with visible and invisible wounds caused by traumatic events of the past. We can get to the root of this all-too-common condition with effective, trauma-informed therapies.

Trauma Therapy

Trauma is a widespread, harmful, and costly public health concern. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes individual trauma as resulting from “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” In the lives of individuals who have mental health disorders or substance use disorders (SUDs), traumatic experiences are all too frequent, and it’s no different for adults and children in American communities in general. To correct the problem, more people in the field of mental health treatment recognize the need of dealing with trauma-induced conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Only when we take trauma into consideration can we begin to treat and rehabilitate effectively.

Trauma: The Invisible Wound

For some suffering from PTSD, the symptoms can be seen. Survivors of combat and imprisonment with very acute cases have visible signs. However, for most of those suffering from trauma, the signs and symptoms are invisible and maybe even unidentified, even to those who are experiencing them. Some individuals who witness an incidence of violence or another traumatic event may move on with their lives with no long-term consequences, while others will struggle and suffer from traumatic stress responses. Many factors can contribute to the cases in which the trauma has no lasting effect, such as a healthy family support system or a lack of prior incidents, but even resilient people can be affected. 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 8 million adults will have PTSD symptoms during a given year. About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives, and about 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). Reaching out for help is the first step toward combating the trend. For our patients here at Hawaii Island Recovery and our mission of recovery, the numbers do not stop there. 

Experience trauma statistic

Trauma and Addiction

The figures from the VA on PTSD and problems with alcohol abuse tell the story: Up to three-quarters of people who survived abuse or violent traumatic events report drinking problems. Almost 1 out of every 3 Veterans seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) also have PTSD. There are many statistics just like these regarding the relationship between trauma and addiction. We have included them, not to blind you with numbers, but to illustrate a cause and effect that many people can relate to. Drugs and alcohol provide an anesthetic that numbs the harsh edges of untreated trauma in the psyche. It’s no surprise, then, how many brave people we treat for SUD also struggle with PTSD. Enough people that it shapes our entire approach to all patients using trauma-informed therapy.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

Clinical interventions for trauma are simply not enough on their own. Smart, effective treatment has to involve changes from the top-down as healthcare providers. Trauma-informed approaches essentially flip the script on the traditional method. The question asked of a patient goes from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” It changes the way we work with and care for patients, and we have adopted new, more humane practices, such as:

  • Recognizing the far-reaching effects of trauma and the many possible pathways for healing
  • Identifying the signs and symptoms of trauma in individual patients
  • Integrating knowledge into trauma-informed policies, procedures, and practices
  • Avoiding the creation of environments or situations that inadvertently remind patients of their traumatic experiences

We use trauma-informed methods to engage our patients and increase the possibility of strong, positive breakthroughs in treatment. As described in SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach, six key principles show an organization’s dedication to trauma-informed care:

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
  3. Peer Support
  4. Collaboration and Mutuality
  5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

With a foundation of trauma-informed care, we then employ a powerful system of alleviating PTSD called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is innovative psychotherapy for treating PTSD symptoms. People who have PTSD frequently struggle to make sense of what happened to them following a traumatic event. Distressing memories, thoughts, and feelings associated with the trauma can be dissipated with the application of EMDR. EMDR uses external stimuli to help the brain process hyperactive, traumatic memories. It involves paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sounds while recalling the distressing memory until alterations in how you perceive the memory occurs. 

Although EMDR is a highly successful treatment for PTSD, it is a counterintuitive one to the average patient. After sitting with their eyes closed, listening to beeps (often synced up with vibrating pads held in the hands), they are baffled to find the intrusive, traumatic memories they are recalling, yet again (perhaps after decades), have lost their emotional voltage and they have become normal, neutral memories. It’s an amazing thing to experience and witness. There is still debate regarding how it works. Given the influence trauma has on communities and individuals alike, we are just grateful that it works for our purposes at Hawaii Island Recovery.

What is EMDR - Infographic

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and beliefs that can drive addiction and other disorders. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Our therapists can help you explore the thought patterns that lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as… 

  • Overgeneralizations
  • Magnification of negatives
  • Minimization of positives
  • Catastrophizing

Then, using goal-oriented procedures, you’ll learn to replace those patterns with new, healthier thoughts to decrease or eliminate emotional distress and self-defeating behaviors. CBT gives you the skills you need to get sober and stay sober… for life.


Neurofeedback treatments use biofeedback of brainwave data to help you train your brain to self-regulate for healthier functioning on a daily basis.

Neurofeedback at Hawaii Island Recovery

You already know that anxiety, depression, and trauma can make everyday life a challenge. But did you know that they can also impair your brain’s ability to self-regulate? When your brain is unable to change states readily and modulate levels of arousal appropriately, you’re at an increased risk for mental illness, substance abuse, and more.

With neurofeedback, therapists can use biofeedback of your brainwave data to “train” your brain to self-regulate, reduce those risks, and eliminate negative symptoms. Neurofeedback can help you… 

  • Heal from anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD
  • Improve your mood, energy, and sleep
  • Achieve optimal cognitive functioning

With minimal side effects and lasting results, neurofeedback is a powerful and effective treatment option that can help you achieve sobriety and enjoy a happier, healthier life.

Get Help Today!

If you or a loved one need help, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free right now.