Unravelling Poly Addictions – Addressing Substance Dependency and Behavioural Addictions

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.


The impact of stimulating the reward systems of the brain is evident across the full range of addictive behaviour. Biochemically methamphetamine closely resembles dopamine. Chasing the highs and euphoria of addictive substances or addictive behaviour leads to temporary satiation of the reward systems. For the psychology of the user at these times ‘all is right with the world’.

Yet all is not right. The feeling of satiation is temporary and distant from the reality of active addiction – blame, lying, deception, secrecy, anti-social and possible illegal behaviour. Plus, poor health depleted relationships and financial resources. Reality and pretend do not combine. In fact, the reality of the addicted person serves to fuel greater and greater drives into the escape and mood alteration of addiction.

While there are many similarities with the contexts and outcomes of both substance dependency and behavioural forms of addictions, workers need specific information resources and tools in order to bring about efficient and positive change. This training will take time to address the specific client needs and differences in working with alcohol and other drug dependency, problem gambling, sexual addiction and other forms of behavioural addictions.

The material for this workshop will be presented in both a didactic (teaching), and experiential (pair and small group exercises and discussions) learning format.

Expected learning outcomes:

  • Learn how to manage and work effectively with complex needs clients
  • Embracing both the similarities and the complexity of working with issues of substance dependencies and behavioural addictions
  • Appreciate the critical differences in assessment of substance use clients and problem gambling and other behavioural addicted clients
  • Appreciate the theories of causation and maintenance in substance dependency and behavioural addictions
  • Understand models of treatment and how to enhance motivation for change
  • Understand the role of implicit memory and limiting core beliefs on addictive behaviour
  • Understand the role of attachment disruption and addictive processes
  • Explore integrative treatment options that address both the active addiction and any underlying trauma or comorbid mental health concern
  • Explore creative interventions that address both external and internal addictive dynamics
  • Appreciate with critical importance the role of clear boundaries and limits in addiction treatment
  • Learn how to maintain one’s own self-care

The material for this workshop will be presented in both a didactic (teaching), and experiential (pair and small group exercises and discussions) learning format.

Who should attend?

This training is suitable for beginning to experienced workers from mental health, counselling, alcohol and other drugs, problem gambling, homelessness and respective welfare sectors