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Course Description

Course Description
Attachment and Addiction: Intensive Emotion-Focused Approaches

Friday, October 26th & Saturday, October 27th, 2018

8 AM - 5 PM

AC Hotels Marriott, Cambridge MA


Psych Garden and Ellenhorn are pleased to announce the Second Annual Conference on Attachment and Addiction, bringing together experts on the latest research and practices regarding effective and efficient relational therapies for addictive behavior. A sea-change is occurring in this field, and it’s time to make the new thinking mainstream so all practitioners can better understand and help our clients. 


This year, we are offering a two-day training in the use of Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy with people with addictive issues. This is the first-ever training on the combination of this highly effective form of psychotherapy and addictions treatment.   


Addictive behaviors may start out as rewarding but are especially compelling if they help us cope with painful or unacceptable emotions. They can become learned responses that are highly resistant to change despite increasing limitations in function and relationships, with further suffering and aloneness. A change requires them to relinquish strategies which may have helped them for years, and take risks to cope differently. They may experience emotions that have been rigorously defended against or which cause overwhelming anxiety that they are ill-equipped to manage. Therapists must embolden, accompany and champion their clients on this journey, to reach a place where emotions are identified, tolerable, trusted and shared, where relationships and self-control, and a new sense of self renders the addictive behaviors redundant and unwelcome.


In this innovative workshop, participants will learn how to use active, focused, experiential, attachment-based techniques to mobilize innate resources of health and resilience within the client. The first primary focus will be for therapists to gain a clear understanding of the nature and function of maladaptive coping mechanisms and ways to transform them therapeutically so clients can align with healthy, buried and previously inaccessible internal resources. The other primary focus will be on effective ways to regulate anxiety to help clients manage the change process safely and keep motivation optimal. The principles taught can be readily integrated with any clinician’s existing orientation and skill set. The therapist needs to have an explicit Harm Reduction philosophy, a clear understanding of the developmental and acquired neurobiological changes, and of the stages of addiction recovery. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the healing process for clients, but also to help clinicians practice in a way that substantially reduces counter-transference, is deeply rewarding, effective, and authentic, fully compatible with your personal and professional style. 

Learning Objectives

October 26, 2018
AM Session:
1.  Describe the psychodynamic model of addiction and strategies to  recognize signs of affect, defense, and anxiety in the client
2.  Articulate the AEDP / ISTDP therapeutic model and apply this to stages of addiction and recovery
3.  Apply the Harm Reduction psychotherapy model to treatment of addictions


PM Session:
4.  Explain how to recognize and challenge, melt, or validate defenses in addiction
5.  Identify affect deepening techniques that  build affect recognition and tolerance
6.  Relate deepening positive affect to motivate clients to change

October 27, 2018
AM Session:
1.  Articulate  how to distinguish distinct forms of anxiety
2.  Describe anxiety and social engagement deficits in people with addiction and how to re-engage with affective attunement to permit attachment and new learning
3.  Evaluate anxiety regulation and affective re-engagement strategies


PM Session:
4.  Relate clinical strategies to integrate experiential techniques within a behavioral 
Modification approach to addictions
5.  Explain how phases of addiction and response to medication influence emotional dynamic therapy
6.  Identify strategies to anticipate and manage relapse



This course will use didactic modules focused on practical skill building, enhanced by videos of actual sessions with clients and experiential role-plays to teach real, immediately applicable skills that will improve therapists’ success with difficult treatment issues, complex dynamics and addictions.

Day 1:

8:00am-9:00am Registration & Breakfast 

9:00am-9:15am Ross Ellenhorn & Mark Green: Welcome and Introduction

9:15am-10:15am Mark Green: What Makes Addiction Tough to Treat? How compulsion, emotion and decision making intertwine. Video demonstration and discussion

10:15am-10:30am Break

10:30am-11:30am Steve Shapiro: Understanding Emotional Factors in Addictions

11:30am-12:00pm Steve Shapiro: Video Demonstration: Resistance Part 1

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch

1:00pm-1:30pm Steve Shapiro: Removing Barriers to Emotional Experience and Connection (Defense Restructuring)

1:30pm-2:45pm Steve Shapiro: Video Demonstration: Resistance Part 2

2:45pm-3:00pm Break/Snacks 

3:00pm-4:00pm Mark Green: Using Experiential Techniques to Motivate Change

4:00pm-4:30pm Mark Green: Video Demonstration

4:30pm-5:00pm Overview, Q&A


Day 2:

8:00am-9:00am Registration & Breakfast 

9:00am-9:45am Steve Shapiro: Didactic: Resistance (to connection with therapist)

9:45am-10:30am Steve Shapiro: Video demonstration: Resistance to Connection

10:30am-10:45am Break

10:45am-11:30am Steve Shapiro: Keeping it Safe (Working with High Anxiety)

11:30am-12:00pm Video Demonstration: High Anxiety (Trauma, Personality Disorder)

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch

1:00pm-2:30pm Video Demonstration: High Anxiety (part 2)

2:30pm-2:45pm Break

2:45pm-3:30pm Mark Green: Pitfalls in use of EDT in Addictions. Staging Treatment and utilizing other practices. 

3:30pm-4:00pm Video Demonstration.

4:00pm-4:30pm Panel Discussion










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