The Troubled Triangle – The Developmental Neurobiology of Addiction, Attachment, and Trauma

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Date(s) - December 7
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


with Kurt L. White, LICSW, LADC, CGP, MAC

Breakfast and Lunch Provided


About the Program

Addiction work is trauma work. Recent studies show that as much as 80% of co-occurring clients have histories of trauma—often multiple episodes of trauma. Rates of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders are endemic to addicted populations. Early experiences alter gene expression and brain development: exposure to an environment of disrupted attachment, persistent fear, trauma-related experience, and exposure to addictive substances, all have significant effects on the developing brain. This new science of attachment and neurobiology can be a guide to effective treatment interventions with addicted individuals. Both theory and implications for technique will be explored. Clinicians who see themselves as addiction specialists often feel uncomfortable with the trauma-related presentations in substance use disorders. Conversely, many skilled trauma therapists have had little training in addiction.

This workshop aims to help both groups bridge the gap in both knowledge and skills for working with this complex population using new knowledge on the neurobiology of attachment. The instructor will examine the disruptions to healthy attachment patterns and how this predisposes individual to develop addiction in mid-to late-teen years.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe two ways in which normal brain development is disrupted by trauma.
  2. Better understand attachment as a core concept in development.
  3. Understand the ways that trauma disrupts normal attachment patterns.
  4. Discuss how brain development affects the emergence of substance use disorders, including in cases where trauma is present.
  5. Apply knowledge of attachment and development to working with clients who have addiction and/or histories of trauma

About the Instructor

Kurt L. White, LICSW, LADC, CGP, MAC is a clinical social worker and drug and alcohol counselor, and group psychotherapist, who practices at the Brattleboro Retreat where he is Sr. Director of Ambulatory Services. He is Adjunct Associate Professor at Smith College School for Social Work, where he teaches Group Theory Practice. He is a fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and a past president of the Vermont Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. His interests include trauma, disassociation, group psychotherapy, addiction and co-occurring disorders; he has presented on a variety of topics regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Registration Rates:

Membership Registration Rate $120
Regular Registration Rate $150
Renewal of Membership & Registration Fees $170


Credentialing Information and Continuing Education

New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity,
9am – 4pm, in order to receive continuing education credits.

There is no accommodation in the State Regulation for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. At present, there is no procedure for granting partial credit for approved continuing education events. If there are any changes in State Regulation, this policy will be updated accordingly.

This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • Social Work (6 hours)
  • LMHC (6 hours)
  • LMFT (6 hours)
  • CASAC renewal (5.5 hours)
  • Psychology (6 hours)
  • Education (6 hours)

Successful completion for the award of approved continuing education credits requires attendance at entire training/workshop and submission of a completed evaluation form.

Cancelation Policy

No refund can be made for cancellation seven or fewer working days before the event or for no-shows. Cancellations more than seven working days before a workshop will result in a refund, less a $15.00 cancellation fee. Requests for refunds must be received in writing. All registered participants will be notified via email if there is a training/workshop cancellation. Registered participants will be offered a full refund or registration in another offered training/workshop.



Organizational NYS-AIMH Members

We welcome all organizations that share our mission of supporting the mental health of young children.

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