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Digital Seminar

Helping Make the Unbearable Tolerable: Trauma & the Treatment of Addictions

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
1 Hour 08 Minutes
Oct 15, 2020
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Digital Seminar
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Unlike stress, which resolves itself after the event is over, trauma causes people to become physiologically and mentally stuck — hyper-aroused and/or frozen, unable to manage their bodily arousal systems.

This recording will clarify the neurobiological underpinnings of these broken biological systems, clarify how addictive behaviours of all kinds are invariably rooted in desperate attempts to manage and discuss the evidence-based methods that are available to help re-regulate mind and body.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 1 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.


Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD's Profile

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD Related seminars and products

Trauma Research Foundation

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR. 

He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects. 

His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is a professor at Boston University School of Medicine, the Director of the Trauma Center, and the National Complex Trauma Network. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. van der Kolk receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has no relevant non-financial relationships with ineligible organizations.


  1. Determine the neurobiological underpinnings of the arousal system that lead to trauma and increase clients’ substance abuse and addiction cycle.
  2. Employ several evidence-based methods that foster re-regulation of mind and body that can aid in reduction of symptomology.
  3. Investigate how addictive substances are used as coping mechanisms for unresolved traumatic stress.


The Neurobiology of Trauma

  • The body’s arousal system in the face of trauma

The Interplay of Trauma and Addiction

  • How addictive substances are used as coping mechanisms
  • Evidence-based methods that can foster re-regulation of the mind and body 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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