12th Zurich Trauma Days on
Trauma and Addiction

Peter A. Levine, Lisa Najavits und Gabor Maté


Date: Lisa Najavits, Gabor Maté:
24 Jun 2022
Peter A. Levine, Lisa Najavits:
25 Jun 2022
Gabor Maté, Peter A. Levine:
26 Jun 2022
Time: each 10:00–17:30

Teacher: Dr. Peter A. Levine (USA)
Dr. Gabor Maté (CAN)
Dr. Lisa Najavits (USA)
Language: English translated into German
Costs: CHF 870

Day passes at 320 CHF available in limited numbers

Course location: Kronensaal am Zehntenhausplatz
Wehntalerstrasse 551
8046 Zürich

Online Participation is possible


Friday morning:
Dr. Lisa Najavits: "Seeking Saftey - What is is and new developments"
Friday afternoon:
Dr. Gabor Maté: "The Hungry Ghost"

Saturday morning:
Dr. Peter A. Levine: The Roots of Addiction
Saturday afternoon:
Dr. Lisa Najavits: "Finding Your Best Self - A New Model for Trauma/ Addiction or Both"

Sunday morning:
Dr. Gabor Maté: "The Biology of Loss - What happens when Attachemnts Are Impaired and How to Foster Resilience"
Sunday afternoon:
Dr. Peter A. Levine: The roots of Addiction

Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon with Peter A. Levine


Those people working in the field of addiction are coming to realize the critical role played by emotional pain and trauma. For deep healing to occur we need to find ways to address the individual’s underlying pain and trauma which are driving addictions. This must be done in a gentle way so as not to induce reliving, re-enactment, and ultimately leading to impulsivity and relapse.

Peter A. Levine has been for many years a clinical fellow at the Meadows, the unique treatment center for addictions of all sorts in Arizona. His ideas of trauma being the roots of addiction have been implemented in the treatment of several forms of addiction like those around alcohol, hard drug, love, sex, work, digital or porn. SOMATIC EXPERIENCING (SE) is used at the Meadows as one of the leading treatments, together with Neurofeedback, EMDR, Psychodrama, EFT, Equine Therapy or Internal Family Systems.

The founder of SE will present the theoretical background of Trauma and Addiction and then show the application of his approach with live demos followed by a distinguished reflection of the pragmatic adaptions of his theory.

Friday afternoon with Dr. Gabor Maté

The Hungry Ghost: A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction, from Heroin to Workaholism
Based on the book "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction"

For twelve years Dr. Maté was the staff physician at a clinic for drug addicted people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he worked with patients challenged by hard core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site. In his most recent bestselling book "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts" he shows that their addictions do not represent a discrete set of medical disorders; rather, they merely reflect the extreme end of a continuum of addicti on, mostly hidden, that runs throughout our society. "In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts" draws on cutting edge science to illuminate where and how addictions originate and what they have in common.

Contrary to what is often claimed, the source of addictions is n ot to be found in genes, but in the early childhood environment where the neurobiology of the brainbrain’s reward pathways develops and where the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, crea tes the predisposition for addictions, whether to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or to behavioural addictions such as shopping or sex.

Helping the addicted individual requires that we appreciate the function of the addiction in hisor her life. More than a dise ase, the addiction is a response to a distressing life history and life situation. Once we recognize the roots of addiction and the lack it strives (in vain) to fill, we can develop a compassionate approach toward the addict, one that stands the best chance of restoring him or her to wholeness and health.

Topics covered:

  1. What is the source of addictions?
  2. What happens chemically and physiologically in the brains of people with substance dependency or behaviour addiction?
  3. The false “blessings” of addiction as experienced by the addict (e. as emotional anaesthetic, as personality booster, as social lubricant, and so on;)
  4. The development of the addicted mind: how early childhood experiences shape the brain;
  5. The social basis of addiction in economic, cultural and political dislocation and disempowerment;
  6. How much choice does the addict really have, and how much responsibility?
  7. Developing a therapeutic relationship in which healing is possible;
  8. How to encourage the addict to take responsibility;
  9. The prevention o f addiction, both in adolescence and before.

Sunday morning with Dr. Gabor Maté

The Biology of Loss:
What Happens When Attachments are Impaired and How to Foster Resilience

This presentation, based on the best selling Scattered Minds Hold on To Your Kids and In t he Realm of Hungry Ghosts outlines the mental health implications of early childhood emotional loss, whether due to abuse in the family or simply of stress on the parents, on the subsequent loss of attunement with the child.

Childhood developmental disorders such as ADHD, ODD, and other mental health problems such as addiction and anxiety, depression, personality disorders, etc. can all be traced to either negative childhood experiences or the absence of sufficiently positive ones.

The impact of the environment on brain development is discussed, along with ways of recognizing and helping to heal the negative consequences of early loss. Also discussed is the impact of peer orientation, as articulated in Hold on To Your Kids

Topics covered:

  1. The basis of healthy child development: the attachment relationship with parents, teachers and other adults;
  2. How the human brain develops in interaction with the social/psychological environment;
  3. The stresses in our culture that have undermined the necessary conditions for healthy development, and their consequences in childhood and adole scent disorders;
  4. 4The role of medicalized birth practices;
  5. Why, even for the average “normal” child, the traditional relationship has become undermined, leaving parents and teachers frustrated and many children alienated and immature;
  6. What peer orientation is and how it competes with children’s adult attachments; how to recognize its signs;
  7. How to recognize intra family stresses, and how to deal with them to create a safe, nurturing environment for our children;
  8. Understanding resilience and its promotion as a function of attachment.

Friday morning with Lisa Najavits

SEEKING SAFETY: What it is and new developments

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based counseling model designed for trauma and/or addiction. The focus is to help clients learn new coping skills to attain greater safety in their lives. Seeking Safety is a present-focused model that has been widely implemented with numerous populations, including men, women, homeless, criminal justice, transition age youth, and seriously mentally ill. This presentation will describe the model briefly, and offer a summary of new findings and clinical expansions. Newer developments include peer-led Seeking Safety; use of the model with adolescents; for gambling disorder; and various studies including peer-led Seeking Safety, implementation with military veterans; and in combination with sertaline medication. Additional initiatives include mobile apps related to Seeking Safety and various translations. We will discuss how such developments arose in relation to the broader field of trauma/addiction and trauma-informed care.

Saturday afternoon with Lisa Najavits:

a new model for trauma, addiction or both

This presentation will describe Finding Your Best Self, a new recovery model for trauma and/or addiction. It can be used as self-help, by family members, peers, as well as by counselors in group or individual format. It offers 36 short chapters, each addressing a specific facet of trauma and/or addiction. Examples include: How do people change?; The world is your school; Listen to your behavior; Wish versus reality; Possible selves; The language of trauma and addiction; Social pain; Why trauma and addiction go together; Forgiving yourself; Body and biology; The culture of silence; How to survive a relapse; The decision to grow; Dark feelings (rage, hatred, revenge, bitterness); Imagination; Create a healing image. Chapters can be done in any order and in as few or many sessions as time allows. It is a flexible model for any client, in any setting. Much like the well-known model Seeking Safety, this one too strives to increase hope through emphasis on ideals; offers exercises, emotionally-evocative language, and quotations to engage patients; and provides concrete strategies to build recovery skills.

Dr. Peter A. Levine

Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. (USA) is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing® and the President of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He holds doctorate degrees in both Medical Biophysics and Psychology. During his forty plus year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific, medical, and popular publications. His best selling book, Waking the …

Dr. Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty seven languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on …

Dr. Lisa Najavits

Lisa M. Najavits, PhD is director of Treatment Innovations and adjunct professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School. She was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for 25 years and was a research psychologist at Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Boston for 12 years. Her major clinical and research interests are substance abuse, trauma, co-morbidity, behavioral addictions, veterans' …

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