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Thu, 01 Sept



Working with Addictions: An Attachment and Systemic Perspective

A Training workshop for multi-disciplinary practitioners who support people affected by substance misuse and other addictions

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Working with Addictions:  An Attachment and Systemic Perspective
Working with Addictions:  An Attachment and Systemic Perspective

Time & Location

01 Sept 2022, 08:20 – 16:30 GMT+2


About the Event

Date: Thursday 1st September 2022

Time: 8.20 am to 4.30 pm Malta Time

Full Fee:  80€ 

Early bird fee:  70€ (If you pay by the 1st July 2022)

Venue: Zoom (a link will be sent)

Delivered by: Dr. Elaine Grech

(Gestalt Psychotherapist & Systemic Couple and Family Therapist)


Themes that we will explore, include:

· The Substance or Addiction as the substitute "secure base."

· Relationship patterns in couples addressing substance misuse issues

· The lived experience of the children and significant others in families facing addictions.

· The experience of the significant others

· Self-reflexivity and triggers for practitioners working in the field of substance misuse and addictions

This workshop is aimed at Multi-disciplinary practitioners who work in various contexts supporting children and adults whose lives have been affected by substance misuse. These include psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, care-workers, psychiatrists, counsellors, guidance teachers, teachers, nurses, youth workers and more.

In this workshop, I aim to share my passion for this field of practice and support other practitioners whose vocational path has like myself, led them to this field. Some of the conceptual frameworks that will inform this workshop include Attachment, Systemic Theory.

We will have the opportunity to explore ways of working based on evidence, including a study carried out by myself at the Master's level, which had focussed on Relationship patterns in couples addressing substance misuse issues. The research questions in my study (Master’s thesis Institute of Psychiatry, Grech, 2003) were: Is there evidence of insecure attachment in couples who misuse substances on quantitative and qualitative measures?

How does the nature of the attachment relationship influence the decision to use or not use substances?

How do episodes of substance misuse impact on the attachment behaviour of the couple?

Tools that we will explore include, the Relationship Questionnaire (Bartholomew and Horowitz, 1991) and the Adult Family Attachment Interview (Hill, J., Fonagy, P., and Sargent, J., 2003), with some questions added by myself which focus specifically on addictions. This workshop aims to support a deeper, more embodied understanding of addictions and equip us with tools we can use in our work. Furthermore, we will throw a reflexive light on our therapeutic positioning, including what attracted us to this field of work, the ideas that drive us and what can support us further to keep growing personally and professionally.

About me and my context

The field of substance misuse and gambling is an area that I am very passionate about. Growing up, I regularly visited my uncle who ran a bar in the village I grew up in. I can still recall the sounds and smells and colours that welcomed me. Back then, I started to wonder what pushes some people to seek refuge in the bottle or the lotto numbers while others were comfortably sipping their nicely brewed cup of tea. I was curious about the families they might have and what the rest of their lives looked like.

My vocational life took another meaningful turn when in my early twenties, I started working at sedqa: The National Agency in Malta, which provides help to people affected by substance misuse issues and compulsive gambling. Initially, my role was within the alcohol community team, then later within the family services team. While studying for my Master's in London back then, I had my placement in a clinic that specialized in addictions and carried out an empirical study on Relationship patterns in couples addressing substance misuse issues. During my ten years working at sedqa I worked with both the people who misused substances or gambled and their significant others either individually, in families or in groups. Furthermore, the lives of many children in residential care, which I worked with over the years, were also impacted by addictions. During my last 4 years at sedqa I was the clinical focus person for the sedqa family team at that time.

Following my 10 years at sedqa, I worked independently for the past 14 years and continued to provide clinical supervision to practitioners working in the field of addictions both individually and in teams. I am grateful that life has given me this opportunity to be of service in a field which is very close to my heart: one which is nurtured by dedicated and inspirational practitioners, many of which have inspired me profoundly. I would also like to express my gratitude to the service users whose life stories have taught me so much. May those of you who saw the light in the dark tunnel of addiction keep helping others through your own inspirational life experiences!

Booking and Payment Procedure:

1. Book Through the Website's Upcoming Events

and click Register Now on the event of your choice.

2. How to secure your payment:

• Payment needs to take place within 24 hours; otherwise, your registration will not be secured.

• Write your name and the workshop’s title when processing the payment so that payment can be identified.

• Email confirmation of payment to so that I can confirm your booking: Name and Surname, Workshop Title and Date, Method of Payment chosen and email address for correspondence regarding the workshop.

3. Participants will receive a receipt of payment on the email provided and a certificate of attendance after completing the workshop.

4. Please note that it is on a first-come, first-served basis, and therefore, your booking can only be confirmed after receiving payment and registration.

5. The payment is non-refundable and non-transferable unless due to the rare eventuality of the workshop being cancelled by the facilitator if the minimum number is not reached.

6. Around a week before the workshop, you will receive an email with the zoom link and some ideas on how to prepare yourself for the training.

Payment Options:

Fee 80€ Full Fee

70€ Early bird fee if you pay by the 1st July 2022

Payment on Revolut or Mobile Banking: 00356 99447307

Paypal (If using PayPal, please add 5 euros to the amount to cover the PayPal Fee).

Online Bank Transfer SWIFT Code: VALLMTMT IBAN: MT60VALL22013000000040013125068

Looking forward to our shared space.

Many blessings

Dr Elaine Grech

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