New breakthroughs in the neuroscience of affect regulation and attachment theory have proven that addiction is a brain disease rooted in early emotional development. Dramatic scientific images of the brain demonstrate the changes between addicted and normal brains. Current neuroscience weaves together a compelling argument for addiction as a destructive attempt at self soothing to restore a person to emotional balance or equilibrium.
The process of addiction must be differentiated from the symptoms of recreational use or abuse to assist the clinician in identifying the specific signs of addiction and implementing appropriate motivational methods to guide the client towards treatment.
These recent breakthroughs in attachment and affective neuroscience help explain how early life survival and adaptive mechanisms become barriers to flexibility and change in adult life. Fundamentally, failed attachment to the caretaker creates attachment to survival mechanisms and defenses which eventually become attachments to chemicals and other compulsive behaviors in a vain attempt to find safety, protection, comfort and security.
Addiction develops from the inside out and heals from the outside in. Understanding the role shame plays in separating us from our natural connection to our authentic emotions and inner life helps us assist clients in understanding their own behavior and needs. Description of the stages of development of addiction and recovery illustrate the steps necessary to arrest addictive behavior and repair the distorted thinking, feeling and behavior which limit our adult potential and function.
Addiction affects the entire brain function including judgment and self control centers which create what is now called "the biochemical personality". The progressive destructive nature of this process explains and helps us to understand the erratic, irrational and denial based behavior associated with advanced addiction.
Denial can be described as a neurological condition in which the brain is tricked neuro-chemically into believing that everything is okay even as one's life and health deteriorate.
Hope for recovery and wellness can occur when examples are discussed about the brains recovery process when abstinence is obtained and the vulnerability to relapse can be described through using illustrations of the permanent changes in brain function that are caused by addiction. Treatment options and recommendations can be made more effective through the use of the guiding science behind both the disease and recovery process.
Thomas Hedlund is a marriage family therapist, workshop leader and educator from Santa Rosa, CA. Best-selling author, John Bradshaw, has called Hedlund "one of the select few therapists who I know that thoroughly understands the dynamics of emotional healing." In private practice for 34 years, he specializes in recovery related issues including addiction, compulsive behavior and the healing of trauma, shame and abuse. He has worked as a communications, addiction, and family systems consultant for The Family Intervention Institute, as well as a family business consultant, expert witness and interventionist. His commitment to his own recovery, broad knowledge of the origins addictive and compulsive behavior and the of repair the Self bring great clarity to the treatment process. His trainings and seminars have been in demand at treatment centers across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
The Meadows co-sponsors the 22nd Annual International Trauma Conference in Boston, May 18-22, 2011
Conference Director and Senior Fellow at The Meadows, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, has been bringing together leaders in the field of neuroscience for this dynamic conference for the past 22 years. Last week presenters Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, Julian D. Ford, PhD, Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, Judith L. Herman, MD, Adele Diamond, PhD, FRSC and many others, as well as 700 attendees came together in Boston to examine cutting-edge treatment interventions for various trauma-based symptoms. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, closed the conference with a presentation on Mindfulness, Healing, and Transformation.
The Meadows has been a proud sponsor of the International Trauma Conference and the Trauma Center in Boston, Massachusetts, for the past six years. We join Dr. van der Kolk's team in supporting a cutting-edge program of research and mind-body approaches to help trauma survivors recover with empowerment and dignity.
The Meadows Free Lecture Series How To Feel Better in Your Body;
Simple Skills based in Neuroscience presented by Stephanie Book Koehler, MA, MFT on Thursday, June 16, 2011 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Culver City Senior Center, 4095 Overland Avenue, Culver City, California 90232
If you sometimes find yourself at the mercy of your thoughts or feelings, sinking into depression or spiraling up into anxiety - and don't we all? Join Stephanie Book Koehler in this interactive lecture where you'll learn simple, powerful tools to bounce back from overwhelm. You will learn to ground yourself in your body and have more ease. These skills are based in neuroscience and are part of Somatic Experiencing training for dealing with the challenges of everyday life.
No registration required. For information on The Meadows or its Southern California activities, please contact Colleen Capistrano, Los Angeles/Southern California Community Relations Representative, at 800-510-5572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For the 7th year, The Meadows is pleased to co-sponsor the Annual International Trauma Conference - Psychological Trauma: Neuroscience, Attachment, and Therapeutic Interventions. This groundbreaking conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 to Saturday, May 21, 2011. This conference brings together leaders in the field of trauma to examine cutting-edge treatment interventions for various trauma-based symptoms. For more information or to register for the 22nd Annual International Trauma Conference go to: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=947224
John Bradshaw, MA, Fellow of The Meadows, was mentioned in a recent article in the Sudbury Star. In "Different Views on Ethics", librarian Kaija Maillloux rounds up eight books with unique perspectives on ethics. From the article:
"Reclaiming Virtue: How We can Develop the Moral Intelligence to do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, by John Bradshaw, shows that each of us has what he calls an inborn moral intelligence, an inner guidance system that can lead us - if we know how to cultivate it in ourselves and others. His fascinating discussion ranges from the ancient Greek philosophers to modern explorations of emotional development, from provocative historical insights to the recent discoveries of neuroscience."
To learn more about Reclaiming Virtue, see this interview with John Bradshaw from earlier this year. For more information about Bradshaw and The Meadows, visit www.themeadows.org.