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ATSAC Annual Conference

Saturday 26th January 2013 - London

COST: ATSAC Member - 105 - Non-member 115

Sex Addiction Attachment, Trauma or Opportunity?

The roles of attachment and trauma have long been discussed in relation to addiction and more recently within the field of sex addiction. But what about the role of availability and opportunity? This conference brings together some of the best known names from the fields of attachment, trauma and sex addiction to consider the complex issues that often present in the therapy room. In addition, well explore how modern technology is creating a new breed of sexual addiction and consider how this influences both assessment and treatment.

9.30 10.00 11.00 11.30 12.30 1.30 2.30 2.45 3.45 4.15 4.45 5.00

Registration & Coffee An Integrated Approach to Sex Addiction - Paula Hall Coffee Father/Son Attachment - Sir Richard Bowlby Lunch Soothing the Traumatised Brain - Dr Janina Fisher Comfort break The Threat of Opportunity - Eoin Stephens Tea Closing Plenary Q&A - All Conference Close ATSAC Annual AGM

An Integrated Approach to Sex Addiction Paula Hall

The profile of the typical sex addict is changing. 50 years ago it would only have been those with significantly dysfunctional backgrounds who would have been driven enough to pursue their sexual anaesthetic. But now there is an increasing number of clients with only minor historic difficulties, who stumble upon the joys of sex and pornography and become hooked. This presentation will offer a new classification of sex addiction that moves beyond the traditional models of attachment and/or trauma and includes the many people who develop addiction with no prior pathology. Strategies will be offered to help clinicians distinguish these differing presentations of sex addiction and consider treatment options that respect growing diversity of people who struggle with sex addiction, who come from very different backgrounds.

Soothing the Traumatised Brain - Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

Trauma leaves behind an inadequate memory record and a host of overwhelming responses that tell the story without words. Uncertain what happened, clients interpret the intense emotions and body responses as proof of danger or defectiveness: I shouldnt trust, I am worthless and unlovable. Compulsive sexual acting out provides temporary relief from these intense feelings and sensations, regulates the traumatised nervous system, and creates distance from memories. A neurobiological perspective on how trauma drives compulsive sexual behaviour offers a host of new treatment options. Recent developments in neuroscience research and the evolution of new treatment techniques offer some hopeful answers to the puzzling and frustrating challenges of treating sexually compulsive individuals with histories of trauma and neglect. This presentation will use a neurobiological lens for looking at traumatized clients and introduce a treatment approach derived from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy that speaks directly to the body and nervous system. When the symptoms of trauma and addictive behaviour are decoded in this way, we can learn to soothe the brains of even the most selfdestructive and treatment-resistant clients.

Is the Father/Son relationship a primary or secondary attachment

Many men with sex addiction have distant or absent relationships with their fathers. In this talk, Richard examines how children can have different attachment relationships with each parent. Children benefit from having a primary attachment figure (usually mother) who can provide them with a secure base that gives them confidence to venture forth in search of new experiences and to return to for comfort when necessary. Children also benefit from having an additional attachment figure - a friendly authority figure (usually father) to act as protector in the real world outside the home, and to be a trusted companion who supports children to fulfil their thirst for ever more challenging experiences. But is the father / child relationship of such significance that it would be appropriate to consider father as a primary attachment figure, but primary for protection and exploration?

The Threat of Opportunity

This presentation looks at the increased prevalence in modern life of artificially-enhanced sexual/relational stimuli, and the rituals associated with them, especially in the context of the Internet. The primary example used will be hard-core video pornography, but the

phenomena of social media, dating sites and other examples will also be discussed. Parallels will be drawn with similar issues in the area of drug addictions. These "Supernormal Stimuli" will be considered in relation to the evolutionary history of the human species, and the vulnerability of instinctual makeup; the specific factors which make them highly motivational and disempowering; the role they play in any useful definition of addictive behaviour and their specific role in the etiology of sex and love addictions. Finally this presentation will explore the implications of these stimuli to the treatment and prevention of sex addiction.

Speaker Biographies
Paula Hall is the current Chair of ATSAC and author of the first UK book on sex addiction Understanding & Treating Sex Addiction (Routledge). She is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience who specialises in treating sexual addiction through individual and group treatment programmes and is founder of the Hall Recovery Course which is delivered throughout the UK. She is also a trainer and national broadcaster on sex addiction and other topics relating to human relationships and sexuality.

Janina Fisher, Ph.D. is an Instructor at The Trauma Center in Boston, an outpatient clinic founded and directed by Bessel van der Kolk. She is also Assistant Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an EMDR International Association Consultant, past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, and a former Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on the implications of the neurobiological and attachment research for trauma treatment and on the integration of newer, cutting edge treatments with traditional therapeutic modalities.

Richard Bowlby retired in 1999 from medical photography producing illustrations for research communications. He now gives lectures to health care professionals using video material and personal insights to promote a much broader understanding of his fathers work on attachment theory. He supports a range of organisations that address challenging attachment issues, and is seeking ways to help the general public benefit from a better understanding of attachment relationships.

Eoin Stephens (MA, MIACP, MIAAAC) is based in Dublin and is President of PCI College and founder of the Centre for Sexual Addictions and also Vice Chair of ATSAC. He has been working in the field of counselling and psychotherapy for more than 20 years, and has made numerous contributions to the media, especially in the areas of addictive behaviours and anxiety problems. Eoin has served as Vice-Chairman of both the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Irish Association of Alcohol and Addiction Counsellors. He was the 2010 recipient of the IACP Carl Berkeley Memorial Award for contributions to the field of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.

For a booking form, please email Cynthia Palmer at info@atsac.co.uk