Addiction as an Attachment Disorder


Note: Due to official recommendations surrounding the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, this workshop has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. 

Program Description:

Addiction is a disorder in self-regulation. Individuals who become dependent on addictive substances or behaviors cannot regulate their emotions, self-care, self-esteem, or relationships. Addiction and affection regulation difficulties are not just related to drugs and alcohol but also include sex, food, money (gambling, shopping, working), cutting, exercise, and even people.

In this workshop Dr. Flores teaches how attachment theory and related neuroscience developments (including Polyvagal Theory) explain why some individuals so desperately need to substitute chemical solutions and connections for human ones. The attachment framework allows participants to understand how both early childhood relationships (especially developmental traumas) as well as ongoing adult attachments and social engagements shape and sculpt the brain. This theory will then guide the treatment framework for substance abusing/addicted clients as well as specific treatment strategies that workshop participants can then apply to their own clients.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe ways attachment theory applies to psychotherapy, especially with individuals who suffer from substance abuse, addiction and co-occurring conditions.
  • Analyze specific connections between developmental traumas and addictive urges and behaviors.
  • Explain how early treatment strategies need to differ from later stage treatment strategies in addiction treatment.
  • List the different styles of attachment (Avoidant, Ambivalent, Disorganized & Secure) and their relationship to treatment.
  • Identify the ways that secure base and exploration in psychotherapy are intricately connected.
  • Describe how the Polyvagal Theory explains several features related to attachment disorders, affect regulation, and addiction treatment.

Continuing Education Credit – 5 Hours

  • APA – Avant Training is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Avant Training maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • GSCSW –  This workshop is approved for Core CE hours through the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work.
  • LPC, LMFT- Related hours