101919: Treating the Addicted Survivor of Trauma

A Somatic Perspective

About the Course:

This course is based on Integrating Mind Body Perspectives in the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization
In the wake of traumatic experience, survivors tend to be overwhelmed by intense emotions and body sensations, loss of faith in the universe, and unrelenting punitive introspection. Addictive craving and behavior seem to offer an ‘out,’ the promise of blessed relief from both the emotional and somatic overwhelm. The result is the frequent co-occurrence of addictive disorders that ultimately poses an equal or even greater threat to the patient as do the trauma symptoms. In the psychotherapy of trauma, therapists are faced with the dual tasks of both treating the trauma and managing the risk of the addictive disorder, whether it presents as substance abuse, eating disorder, sexual addiction, or compulsive self-harm. Attempts to process memories often result in autonomic dysregulation, heating up the addictive behavior, until stabilization becomes increasingly challenging. Attempts to maintain sobriety or abstinence are undermined by the loss of chemical support, increased intrusive symptoms, and dissociative fragmentation. How do we address these challenges?

In this webinar, an integrated approach to the treatment of trauma and addictive disorders rooted in a neurobiological understanding of traumatic stress will be presented, along with practical strategies and interventions for managing high-risk consequences of addiction.


International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation

Publication Date:

January 28, 2009


Janina Fisher, PhD

About the Author:

Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the
Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van
der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both clinician and consultant, she is also
past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and
Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Consultant and Credit Provider,
a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former
Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher is the author of a number of
articles on trauma treatment and lectures nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

Recommended For:

This ISSTD course is recommended for mental health and allied professionals, including: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Counselors, plus any other professional whose work involves providing service to individuals suffering from trauma and dissociative disorders and other academics whose studies include chronic trauma and dissociation in its many varied forms. It is appropriate for an intermediate level of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss the primary interventions in an integration focused therapeutic approach of accepting, understanding, and integrating mental actions and corresponding physical components

  2. Discuss elements of “mindflight,” and the maladaptive mental and physical actions that maintain it

  3. Demonstrate how both cognitive and somatic interventions promote “mindsight”

Exam Questions

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