Treating the Addicted Survivor of Trauma: A Somatic Perspective


In the wake of traumatic experience, survivors tend to be overwhelmed by intense emotions and body sensations, loss of faith in the universe, and unrelenting punitive introspection. Addictive craving and behavior seem to offer an ‘out,’ the promise of blessed relief from both the emotional and somatic overwhelm. The result is the frequent co-occurrence of addictive disorders that ultimately poses an equal or even greater threat to the patient as do the trauma symptoms. In the psychotherapy of trauma, therapists are faced with the dual tasks of both treating the trauma and managing the risk of the addictive disorder, whether it presents as substance abuse, eating disorder, sexual addiction, or compulsive self-harm. Attempts to process memories often result in autonomic dysregulation, heating up the addictive behavior, until stabilization becomes increasingly challenging. Attempts to maintain sobriety or abstinence are undermined by the loss of chemical support, increased intrusive symptoms, and dissociative fragmentation. How do we address these challenges? In this webinar, an integrated approach to the treatment of trauma and addictive disorders rooted in a neurobiological understanding of traumatic stress will be presented, along with practical strategies and interventions for managing high-risk consequences of addiction.

Target Audience

Beginning/Introductory, Intermediate

Learning Objectives

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

  • Discuss the primary interventions in an integration focused therapeutic approach of accepting, understanding, and integrating mental actions and corresponding physical components
  • Discuss elements of “mindflight,” and the maladaptive mental and physical actions that maintain it
  • Demonstrate how both cognitive and somatic interventions promote “mindsight”
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Janina Fisher, PhD
Presenter Bio: Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both clinician and consultant, she is also past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Consultant and Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher is the author of a number of articles on trauma treatment and lectures nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

Available Credit

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


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"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. 

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