Risky Behaviour: Treating Trauma, Attachment Disturbance, and Self-Endangerment

Led by: John Briere, PhD

Leading Edge Seminars is proud to present a new John Briere workshop, in North America for the first time, based on his upcoming book, Triggered: An Integrated Approach to Trauma, Attachment Disturbance, and Self-Endangerment.

Survivors of trauma and early attachment disturbance are at elevated risk for a variety of compulsive and self-endangering behaviours, ranging from suicidality and self-injury to substance abuse, indiscriminant sexual activities, binge eating, and problematic gambling. Many of these difficulties are seen as evidence of a personality disorder, behavioural addiction, or impulse control disorder. Emerging research suggests, however, that these types of risky behaviour are more accurately understood as survival strategies in the face of triggered childhood memories and underdeveloped emotional regulation capacities.

In this workshop, John Briere will present an integrated approach to self-endangering behaviour: the compensatory avoidance model (CAM). You will learn a range of interventions that directly target the unspoken needs met by distress reduction behaviours (DRBs). In doing so, you will learn to work with aspects of the trauma-dysregulation dynamic, which include safety/stabilization, post-trauma trigger management, proactive resilience, emotional regulation training, mindfulness and “emotion surfing”, implicit and explicit memory processing, and harm reduction.

The workshop will also present three risky behaviours in detail: self-injury, risky sexual behaviour, and bingeing and purging. You will receive worksheets and assessment instruments to organize the treatment process.

Fees and Registration

Thursday, May 24, and Friday, May 25, 2018
YWCA Toronto – Elm Street
(87 Elm Street, Toronto)
9:00 am to 4:40 pm

Regular Rate (After April 5, 2018) – $465 +HST

You will learn —

  • About the central principles of the Compensatory Avoidance Model and how to implement them
  • Techniques for trigger management (such as trigger reduction, indirect and direct trigger identification, distress mitigation, breath-based relaxation, grounding, emotion/urge surfing, and strategic distraction)
  • How to work with implicit attachment memories
  • How harm reduction applies to intervening in DRBs
  • About three specific DRBs in detail
  • How metacognitive awareness can be enlisted in treatment
  • How suppression tends to lead to further avoidant behavior and how to counter it with acceptance

This workshop may be eligible for Continuing Education Credits/Units (CECs/CEUs) by professional organizations in Canada/Ontario serving mental health professionals. Please click here for more information.


John Briere, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, and Director of the USC Adolescent Trauma Training Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  A past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, he is recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology from the American Psychological Association, and the William N. Friedrich Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Child Psychology from the Mayo Clinic.  He is author or co-author of over 120 articles and chapters, 15 books, and 9 trauma-related psychological tests. His upcoming book is Triggered: An Integrated Approach to Trauma, Attachment Disturbance, and Self-Endangerment. John lectures internationally on trauma, therapy, and mindfulness. For more information, please visit www.johnbriere.com.

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