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Addiction: The mind’s answer to trauma

Addiction: The mind’s answer to trauma

Certificate of Completion

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3 CPD hours

When reduced to a symptom complex, addiction can be seen as a primary brain disorder with genetic influences. However, when seen from a developmental perspective, addictions serve a particular function within the system of a particular personality.

This webinar will address the deep relationships between developmental trauma, emotional regulation, personality development and addiction. These connections are based in contemporary neuroscience and depth psychology, to form a transdiagnostic and integrated model of addictions with important clinical applications.


  1. What are addictions?
    1. Myths of addiction
      1. Cognitive neuroscience/Dopamine/Incentive salience theory
      2. Pleasure seeking
      3. Addiction as a genetic, biological disease
  1. Addiction as an emotional regulation strategy
    1. What are emotions?
    2. Why are addictive substances addictive?
  2. The relationships between trauma, personality, and addiction
    1. What is developmental trauma?
    2. Is there an ‘addictive personality’ (personality and addiction)?
    3. The role of addiction within the system of a traumatised personality
  3. Psychotherapeutic treatment of addiction
    1. Review of ‘evidence-based’ addiction therapies
    2. Trauma-informed, emotionally focused, psychodynamic approaches to addiction treatment

Learning objectives

  • Identify the common myths promulgated about addictions.
  • Understand the underlying biological mechanisms associated with addictions, from an affective neuroscientific perspective.
  • Gain a deeper perspective on the impacts of trauma on the developing personality.
  • Clarify the role of addictions in the traumatised personality, and thereby understand the transdiagnostic approach to addictions.
  • Learn about the importance of trauma in addiction treatments.

Course Certificate

To generate your course completion certificate, please enter your details in the form below and a copy of your certificate will be emailed to you shortly. 

About Dr Eli Kotler

Eli Kotler, MD, is a consultant psychiatrist, holds an academic position at Monash University through the Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, and is the medical director of Malvern Private Hospital, the first addiction hospital in Australia. Through involvement with Monash University, Eli oversees the addiction rotation for medical students. He is a member of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD).

Clinically, Eli is interested in the deep connections between trauma and addiction and works within a neuro-psychoanalytic framework. Eli has overseen the development of a clinical program for addictions focused on trauma, particularly developmental trauma. This has led to an interest in psychedelic-assisted trauma therapy. He has recently been appointed as the Principal Investigator to lead Emyria’s upcoming MDMA-assisted therapy trial for treatment-resistant PTSD. Eli also worked for many years researching neurodegenerative diseases and was the Principal Investigator on numerous trials for novel therapeutics.

Eli graduated from the first intake of the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies (CPAT) in June 2021 and is currently part of the teaching faculty on the CPAT course run by the charity Mind Medicine Australia. Eli is a Director at Mind Medicine Australia, and the founding member of the Melbourne Neuropsychoanalytic Group.

Eli will present for Delphi for the first time in 2022.

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