Workshops

A half day of workshops will be held on Wednesday 17th May 2017. These are available at an additional charge to both delegates and non-delegates. Book early to avoid disappointment as workshop places are limited.
Workshops will begin at 9.00am and finish at 12.30pm. Each workshop will be delivered for 90 minutes.

Taking an emotion-focussed approach to treating substance use and addictions

9:00am – 10.30am
Dr Matthew Berry, Consultant, Hurstwood

The need for emotional regulation has long been recognised as a core driver of problematic substance use and other addictions.  There are many approaches to addressing this issue, however techniques from Emotion-Focussed Therapy (drawing upon the work of Eugene Gendlin and Les Greenberg) show considerable promise in the treatment of chronic substance use. This workshop/presentation demonstrates/describes several techniques that participants can use in their own practice.

The session commences with a description of the six primary responses to emotional avoidance and how these interact with substance-using behaviour. There follows a review of the healthy ‘approach’ response to emotion regulation, and its role in intimacy and as a powerful mood enhancer. The five most common circumstances during childhood that may prevent this response developing are then described.

Focussing as a tool for assisting the client to develop healthy emotional regulation is demonstrated illustrating the four elements of an emotional scheme, along with a discussion of troubleshooting what to do when clients get stuck. Grounding and safe place work are included, being essential approaches for those with trauma as a part of their story. Reprocessing for addressing developmental trauma is introduced along with further references.

Trauma - the Touchstone of Recovery

11.00am – 12.30pm
Jennifer McMahon, Principal Consultant, Communities Respond

“The majority of clients in AOD treatment report past experiences of trauma, often chronic trauma starting in childhood. A history of trauma is associated with more severe clinical presentations and worse treatment outcomes in AOD clients. “ Pirard et al.,2005.

When we experience trauma in our lives how do we recover from such life altering events? As practitioners how do we respond to people who have experienced trauma in a way which meaningfully supports their recovery and enables the ongoing healing of the whole person – heart, mind & body?

During this workshop we will explore the meaning of trauma, particularly complex trauma and raise our awareness of this healing journey within a person centred, recovery focused framework and our role in supporting this ongoing journey of recovery.

This workshop is designed to enhance our capacity as AOD practitioners, to respond to those who have experienced  complex trauma during their lives by increasing our understanding of the pervasive affects of such  trauma and how these affects may continue to resonate across all aspects of their lives and developmental stages. Whilst also developing our own protective behaviours and introducing strategies for building capacity for psychological resilience & emotional literacy.

It has been clearly shown that interpersonal trauma, particularly arising from childhood has a profound and enduring affect upon our AOD clients and often leads to complex presentations in regard to a range of somatic, cognitive, affective, behavioural and interpersonal issues.

Therefore in working with clients who have experienced trauma it is essential that we are able to “hold space” for them in a way which enhances the therapeutic alliance and allows the unfolding of shared meaning within a safe and trusted environment.

The therapeutic potential of Your Brilliant Mind, a creative writing program for residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation

9:00am – 10.30am
Ms Vanessa Holt, Counsellor, Writer, Facilitator, Fresh Mind

Your Brilliant Mind (YBM), developed by Vanessa Holt, has run successfully for 21 years at the We Help Ourselves (WHO) organisation and a number of other services including: the Exodus Foundation, Sex Workers Outreach Project, Kathleen York House, Detour House, Charles O’Neill House, Glebe House, Guthrie House, Rainbow Lodge, and the Lifestyle and Kevin Waller units of Long Bay Correctional Centre.

YBM is anchored in the neurobiological understanding of the brain’s dynamic plasticity.  It is a systematic group program utilizing creative processes.

An evaluation conducted in 2016, within the Australian College of Applied Psychology, indicates that the YBM creative writing program holds therapeutic benefits for residents of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. Participants were recruited through snowballing email invitations to take part in the anonymous online questionnaire, housed in a dedicated website.  The research approach was qualitative, with open ended questions.

All evaluation participants had to have taken part in the creative writing program within drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.  Participant responses indicated a positive change as a result of participation in the program. All evaluation participants indicated the program contributed positively to their drug and alcohol rehabilitation experience.

Lasting change is not only about changing the behaviour

11.00am – 12.30pm
Tanya Curtis, Behaviour Specialist, Fabic Behaviour Specialist Centre

If we make changing addictions about changing behaviour, the results will be short lived at best.  Lasting change will occur only when we address the root cause of the behaviour. Addictions and the additive behaviours that accompany are the end result of how a person is experiencing life … that is they are the consequence and not the cause.
This workshop style presentation will explore the need to address the root cause of behaviour and not simply focus on changing behaviour.   Based on the principles of Functional Behaviour Assessment it is a known fact that ‘all behaviour is happening for a reason’. Thus it is this reason that requires addressing and it is not until this reason is addressed in full that lasting change will occur.

We will discuss some of the array of reasons that when left unaddressed lead a person to using behaviours that in time become ‘their addictive behaviours’. We will explore the effects on how ‘addictive behaviours’ are in effect working for the person as it is leaving the original reason unaddressed and thus un-mastered.

This presentation and workshop will support participants to come to the understanding that an addiction is not a description of a person, rather is a description of what they do … an addiction is not an illness rather a symptom of not feeling equipped to respond to life.

As a Behaviour Specialist, Tanya Curtis will share practical means used in the clinical setting that has supported lasting change for clients who have used addictive behaviours.

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