I recently had the pleasure of attending a wonderful conference in Richmond, BC called “Healing and Treating Trauma, Addictions, & Related Disorders”. It covered a number of important topics in the area of psychological trauma and addictions. For instance childhood trauma and substance abuse, the neurobiology of trauma, trauma and dissociation, trauma and its relationship to sex addiction and eating disorders, to name a few. Yoga classes were even available to the 500 or so conference attendees to soothe and rejuvenate their tired brains and bodies.
The two days of this 5 day event I was able to attend were excellent and very full, with 3 keynote morning lectures and 2 afternoon workshops with the presenters of choice. I wanted to attend this conference specifically to learn about sex addiction, and did so in sessions titled ‘Understanding Multiple Addictions’ and ‘Money, Sex and Power’ from Patrick Carnes, PhD, who has been a pioneer in the field of sex addiction for the past 40 years. I was also interested in the work of Robert Scaer, M.D. and his presentations called “New Theories of Dissociation and Healing’ and ”Trauma, the Freeze Response and Its Clinical Syndromes’. This all may sound dry and boring, but I was riveted to what each presenter had to say. And neither disappointed either. Both were seasoned professionals who offered engaging and fascinating presentations full of new learning for the writer. What I took away from this event was how much more science knows about how trauma impacts the brain, and from there how to treat it effectively. (And body centered approaches for treating trauma, including Yoga, are among the modalities of choice. WooHoo! ) I took away a re-confirmed understanding of the impact of trauma on the development of single or multiple addictions. I also took away a humble respect and quiet admiration for the doctors who presented at this conference. There are very smart and dedicated people out there helping those who want the help in their own unique ways. The only thing I didn’t like about this event was I couldn’t attend all 5 days.