“Adoptees and Addiction – The Functional Impact of an Early Psychological Wound”

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Paul Sunderland and Nick Hazell would like to invite you to a webinar on:

“Adoptees and Addiction – The Functional Impact of an Early Psychological Wound”  

The term ”adoption” disguises a series of complex, developmental traumas that begin with a pre verbal relinquishment and continue on, sometimes through challenging episodes of care, to the adaptions necessary to attach to a family without genetic fit. The legacy of this trauma for the relinquished infant is a conflict between wanting to attach and fearing connection. This is often experienced as a hyper vigilance that has an enormous impact on functioning and relationships, often disrupting the ability to be present, with cognitions that one is both “too much” and “not enough”.

Adoptees are over represented in mental health services, prisons and addiction recovery programmes. This presentation will reframe the experience of many adoptees as a complex traumatic stress disorder made more difficult by the fact that the wound begins when memory and processing systems are developing and experiences, whilst remembered implicitly, cannot be recalled explicitly later on.

Learning Objectives:

  1. An understanding of the relinquishment and adoption experience, and its impact on the developing brain.
  2. Suggestions as to why adoptees might be vulnerable to substance and process addictions
  3. An understanding of complex PTSD in relation to adoptees.
  4. Considerations for the treatment of adoptees in addiction recovery.

Paul is an addictions psychotherapist, consultant and trainer with over 35 years of experience in the treatment of addictions. He is Executive Director of Outcome Consulting and Clinical Director of The Outcome Process. He has previously held the posts of Head of Treatment at Clouds House in the UK and Clinical Director at Crossroads Centre, Antigua.  He has consulted in the set-up of treatment centres in Europe and America, is an expert in the treatment of process addictions and has a special interest in developmental trauma. Paul has spoken at TEDx and is a regular presenter at international conferences.


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