Lecture Series: “The Neurological Treatment of Addiction”
January 31, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The use of experiential therapies as the primary treatment modality in the treatment of addictive use disorders.
The latest neuroscience research conceptualizes addiction as a developmental disorder, rather than a disease. Maladaptive learning is embedded subcortically in implicit memory networks, which drives individuals to engage in compulsive behaviors as a means of affect regulation and attempts to meet core individual and relational needs. Due to their subcortical nature, these pathways cannot be altered through cognitive approaches. The inability of traditional top-down approaches (cognition-emotion-body) to address subcortical pathways may contribute to low rates of treatment success.
Research related to memory reconsolidation shows these pathways can only be shifted experientially, which requires a bottom-up approach (body-emotion-cognition). To alter the maladaptive learning driving addiction requires achieving neuroplasticity. Creating neuroplasticity requires a felt-sense in the body and tracking it with focused attention, which is a primary characteristic of experiential therapies. Presently, experiential therapies are adjuncts to traditional forms of talk therapy, which have exhibited little to no impact on achieving neuroplasticity and memory reconsolidation. I argue for the use of experiential therapies as the primary treatment for addictive use disorders due to their ability to alter the neurological pathways contributing to addictive use disorders.
John D. Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C., C.A.P. is an experienced therapist who has assisted thousands of clients in overcoming mental, emotional, and relational distress. His specialties include assessment and treatment of compulsive behaviors, addictions, abuse and trauma, couples therapy, and related mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and ADHD. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development from Amridge University and a Master’s of Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
John works extensively with individuals suffering from long-term effects of developmental traumas, such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. John integrates the most up-to-date research in affective neuroscience, attachment theory, neurobiology, interpersonal neurobiology and couples therapy. John utilizes advanced treatment modalities, such as EMDR, Brainspotting, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and AEDP, to help clients heal and transform biologically, psychologically and spiritually.