An Integrated Addiction Model: Recognizing the Addiction Blueprint

As most people who work in the addiction field already know, chronic addiction and relapse is more than just a behavioral issue.  Understanding the effects of unresolved pain/trauma and dissociation is critical in breaking these cycles of self-destructive patterns seen in substance use disorder, process addictions, addiction substitution and related mental health symptoms.  In this workshop, Mrs. Caldwell Engle will review her Integrated Addiction Model, a "function" driven model.  She will compare and contrast the fundamental differences between this approach to that of behavioral approaches.  She will identify the underlying "dissociative root" seen in most, if not all, addictive patterns, mental health diagnoses and many physical symptoms/diagnoses.  This dissociative root is the result of the physiological "fight or flight" response which is often inadvertently trigger 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 dissociative phenomenon as a means of regulating their emotional pain.

To further illustrate this dynamic, as well as provide specific treatment techniques, Mrs. Caldwell Engle will review her "Spectrum of Emotions".  This concise and easy to follow diagram will discriminate between healthy and unhealthy emotional expression.  It will also address the most common corresponding addictions, psychiatric diagnoses and medical diagnoses often seen in the comorbid client.  This diagram is also useful for teaching clients about emotional regulation and guiding therapy objectives.  Many different emotional responses 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 space.  Research findings, clinical examples, case vignettes, and photos of client art work will be shared.

 This session was originally presented as a live conference session in May 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

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

  • Identify the core differences between a function driven model and a behavior driven model
  • Recognize the underlying dissociative root seen in all addictive patterns
  • Differentiate integrated emotional responding from dissociated emotional reacting
  • Differentiate patterns of emotional under-responding and over-responding and their corresponding effects on addictive, psychiatric, and medical symptoms and diagnoses
  • Name various experiential techniques that create integrated experiences and healthy emotional resolution
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 6.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 6.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Melissa Engle, LPC, ATR
Presenter Bio: Melissa Caldwell Engle is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Registered Art Therapist (ATR). She has over 30 years of experience treating trauma, mental health diagnoses and addictions. She was the past Executive Director of the Colin A Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma for 24 years.
She is a co-founder of the Trauma Recovery Associates (2002) a program created in response to the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal. 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.

In addition, Mrs. Caldwell Engle has also worked in private practice for 18 years. She has treated all mental health symptoms and diagnoses.
With her extensive years of experience in the behavioral health arena and her specialization in trauma, Mrs. Caldwell Engle created the Integrated Addiction Model which is used at Healing Springs Ranch today. She is an internationally recognized educator and speaker, on the effects of trauma, addiction and the comorbid client.

Mrs. Caldwell Engle has a unique way of combining theory with treatment techniques emphasizing experiential treatment modalities. This combination allows her to reach a broad audience of clinicians, clients and lay people. Her humor and case examples create a highly entertaining presentation style that makes her a recognized and sought after international speaker.

Available Credit

  • 6.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 6.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


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  • 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).
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