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Treating Addictive Behaviours in Trauma Survivors Sep 25, 2018

This two-day workshop will offer a strengths-based, de-pathologizing approach to understanding and working with trauma survivors who engage in addictive behaviors. We will define traumatic experiences and identify the dynamics and manifestations of trauma including the challenges of attaching to dysfunctional and addicted caretakers; affect dysregulation and the inability to self-soothe; fight/flight and freeze responses; and somatization.  We will also explore the inevitable ways in which childhood trauma and being raised by addicted parents manifests in a child, adolescent, and adult cognitive, behavioural, somatic, and emotional symptoms. Participants will learn about the additional stressors and developmental challenges of adolescence and how the unique functions of the adolescent brain create a greater vulnerability to risk-taking and addictive behaviours.  We will also process the addictive nature of digital technology.  Participants will explore the cyclical connection between trauma and addictive behaviours, and we will address the most effective ways to treat addiction in trauma survivors without re-traumatizing or rekindling relapses. Strategies involving safety, self-soothing, containment, cognitive re-framing, understanding the “relationship of addiction”; and incorporating 12-step work will be discussed.  We will also identify specific issues of counter-transference and how to avoid the more common clinical pitfalls when treating this challenging population.  Case examples, videos, and clients’ artwork will be incorporated into the training.