Numbing the Pain: Making the Link between Childhood Trauma and Addictions A one-day seminar with Christiane Sanderson London, 20 September 2019 (Friday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
Recent research and clinical evidence show that adverse childhood experiences such as childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, relational trauma and early childhood stress can significantly increase the risk of developing addictions. To manage the impact of abuse, trauma and emotional dysregulation, many survivors resort to substance misuse, disordered eating, gambling, workaholism, compulsive sex, exercise or unhealthy relationships; so as to self-medicate and to regulate their mood and emotions. However, despite growing evidence of the link between early childhood trauma and addictions; many alcohol, drug and addiction services tend to focus on harm minimisation and often do not have the resources to explore the underlying causes of addiction. At this practical and unique seminar which would be relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, health practitioners, drug and alcohol workers, we look at early adverse childhood experiences, in particular childhood sexual abuse, complex and relational trauma, and their linkages with addiction. We specifically explore the nature of addictions within the context of attachment deficits and lack of emotional self-regulation. The focus will be on enabling practitioners working with addictions and substance misuse to develop a deeper understanding of the link between addictions and complex trauma, so they can work more effectively with substance-dependent clients. To this end, the seminar will examine the barriers to disclosure such as shame and how practitioners can scaffold their therapeutic engagement with the principles of trauma-informed practice. Emphasis will be placed on psychoeducation and re-regulation of the nervous system through affect regulation and increasing the client’s window of tolerance. The seminar will introduce a range of techniques such as stabilisation, grounding techniques, and mindfulness to restore control over dysregulated emotional states and reduce the need for external sources of regulation and self-medication. In addition, it will explore ways of facilitating disclosure of abuse experiences, how survivors who have a history of addiction can best be supported through the therapeutic relationship, how to liaise with specialist services and the range of referral pathways. Through discussions, experiential exercises and case vignettes, we will consider: The link between adverse childhood experiences and addiction The link between attachment deficits and addiction Emotional Dysregulation and the nervous system Addiction as self-medication to regulate emotions and mood states The essential principles of a trauma informed practice Re-regulation of the nervous system through stabilisation and grounding techniques Developing affect regulation and an increased window of tolerance Overcoming barriers to disclosure Offering a supportive therapeutic relationship to survivors who have a history of addiction
About the speaker Christiane Sanderson BSc, MSc. is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton, of London with 26 years of experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence. She has delivered consultancy, continuous professional development and professional training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the NSPCC, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, SOLACE, the Refugee Council, Birmingham City Council Youth Offending Team, and HMP Bronzefield. She is the author of Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd edition, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, and Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths and Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends for the charity One in Four for whom she is a trustee.

Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.