An Integrated Addiction Model; Bridging the Gap Between Trauma, Addiction, and Mental Illness

This workshop will review an Integrated Addiction Model that identifies the underlying dissociative root seen in most, if not all, addictions, mental health diagnoses as well as many physical symptoms/diagnoses. This dissociative root is the result of the physiological “fight or flight” response which is often inadvertently triggered by clients who do not have emotional regulation skills and/or significant amounts of unresolved trauma. These unhealthy patterns serve to minimize emotional pain by creating a dissociation or disconnect between mind and body, thus reducing the overall integrated experience. Over time, clients actually become “addicted” to this dissociation as a means of regulating their emotional pain. The "Spectrum of Emotions" will illustrate this dynamic, with an easy to follow diagram, which discriminates between healthy and unhealthy emotions and their corresponding psychiatric and medical diagnoses. This diagram is also very useful for teaching clients about feelings and guiding therapy objectives. Many different emotions will be described, within this framework, along with cognitive and experiential strategies for helping clients learn how to self-regulate and manage their feelings from an integrated place. Clinical examples, case vignettes, and photos of artwork will be shared.

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in March 2019.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Identify the underlying dissociative root seen in most mental health and addictive diagnoses
  • Recognize the "fight or flight" response and its addictive nature in managing emotional pain
  • Differentiate patterns of emotional under-responding and over -responding and their corresponding effects on psychiatric and medical symptoms and diagnoses
  • Name various experiential techniques used to teach healthy emotional resolution
  • Differentiate integrated emotional responding from dissociated emotional reacting
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:

Presenter: Melissa Caldwell Engle
Presenter Bio: Mrs. Caldwell Engle is a co-founder and co-owner of Healing Springs Ranch (HSR) LLC. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Art Therapist. She has over 25 years of experience treating trauma, mental health and addictions. Through her experience, she was able to created an integrated addiction model that is currently used at HSR.

Melissa’s clinical background began with her role as the Executive Clinical Director of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma. While in this position, she clinically managed three inpatient programs where she was involved in the development, certification, and implementation of the Trauma Model and its integration into the programs’ curriculum. She has co-presented with Dr. Ross for over 15 years.
Mrs. Caldwell Engle is also a co-founder of the Trauma Recovery Associates (TRA 2002) which was originally created in response to the Catholic Church’s “sex abuse scandal” in 2002. TRA has since grown with its focus being to educate and foster the development of organizational leaders, human service providers, and trauma survivors themselves to respond more effectively to the impact of childhood trauma on individuals and on society.

She is an internationally recognized speaker on the effects of trauma, addiction and the comorbid client. She has a unique way of combining theory and specific treatment techniques emphasizing experiential/expressive treatment modalities. This combination allows her to reach a broad range of clinicians and participants. Her humor and case examples create a highly entertaining presentation style that makes her a recognized and sought-after speaker.

Available Credit

  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:
Please login or register to take this course.

"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
  • ISSTD defines an emerging professional as mental health professionals who have completed an advanced degree and are in the first three years of their career (or first three years after graduation for researchers).
  • If you do not fall into one of the above categories please register as Professional/Retired. 

These prices are for Tier I countries. For a list of countries by Tier click here. If you are located in a country that falls into Tier II-VI please contact ISSTD at to receive the appropriate discount code.