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Digital Seminar

Transforming Trauma: The Roots of Addiction

Peter A. Levine, PhD
1 Hour 03 Minutes
Jul 20, 2020
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Digital Seminar
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Trauma is neither a disease nor a disorder but is rather an injury caused by paralyzing fright, helplessness, and loss. Addiction is often used as an excuse for destructive behaviour when it is actually a failed attempt to self-regulate and soothe deep emotional wounds. It is a maladaptive way of dealing with difficult emotions such as shame, anger, sadness, and fear. It is also a way of avoiding or dissociating from the person’s traumas and their accumulation of adverse life experiences; for these reasons, effective treatment needs to be holistic in helping these individuals deal with the underlying roots which propel addiction and reduce the likelihood of relapse. By grounding energetic experiences through the containment of bodily sensations, while engaging our innate capacity to self-regulate states of arousal and intense emotions, we can facilitate the transformation of trauma and the integration of healthy experiences.

In this program, we will look at how underlying traumas often trigger and support addiction-based behaviour and how the roots of addiction lie in unresolved trauma, insecure attachment, lack of support, overindulgence, and habitual childhood frustration. 


- 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 1.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.


Peter A. Levine, PhD's Profile

Peter A. Levine, PhD Related seminars and products

Peter A. Levine, PhD, holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. The developer of Somatic Experiencing®, a body-awareness approach to healing trauma, and founder of the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, which conducts trainings in this work throughout the world and in various indigenous cultures, with 26 faculty members and over five thousand students. Dr. Levine was a stress consultant for NASA on the development of the space shuttle project and was a member of the Institute of World Affairs Task Force of Psychologists for Social Responsibility in developing responses to large-scale disasters and ethnopolitical warfare. Levine’s international best seller, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, has been translated into 22 languages. His recent interests include the prevention of trauma in children, and he has co-written two books, with Maggie Kline, in the area: Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids. His most recent book: Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past, was recently released to rave reviews. Levine’s original contribution to the field of body psychotherapy was honored in 2010 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). Levine was also honored as the recipient of the 2020 Psychotherapy Networker Lifetime Achievement Award.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Peter Levine is the founder and president of the Ergos Institute of Somatic Education, the president and editorial director of Ergos Institute Press, and receives a consulting fee from the Meadows Addiction Center. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Levine receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Peter Levine is a senior clinical fellow and advisor to the Meadows Addiction Treatment Center. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Humanistic Psychological Association, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.


  1. Differentiate between top-down and bottom-up processing.
  2. Assess how trauma-based perceptions remain fundamentally unchanged until the internal experience of the body changes.  
  3. Appraise the theory that the trauma response is a set of defensive bodily reactions.
  4. Theorize about the biopsychosocial links between addictive behaviors and traumatic stress

Target Audience

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

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