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Elements’ Experts Talk Sex/Food Addiction in Atlanta

More than 300 therapists and mental and behavioral health clinicians gathered in downtown Atlanta last week (Oct 9-12) for four days of training in process addictions and related issues as part of the sixth annual Summit for Clinical Excellence conference, a clinical education event organized by the Ben Franklin Institute (BFI) and co-hosted by Elements Behavioral Health.

Featured keynote speakers included Elements experts Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, and Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, whose leading-edge work in the area of mind-body nutritional health (Peeke) and sex addiction (Weiss) is shaping the latest clinical approaches to process addiction, defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as “a primary, chronic disease involving brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry,” and pertaining to compulsive activities like eating, sex, shopping and gambling.

Titled “Brain Matters: Mindfulness, Trauma and Process Addictions” this year, the conference takes place in Atlanta in the fall each year as part of an initiative to provide quality continuing education to mental and behavioral health professionals.

“The Atlanta BFI Summit Conference annually provides cutting-edge clinical information in areas such as trauma, mindfulness, process addictions, and epigenetics,” said Kate Lovein, MS, Elements regional outreach director, who took part in the conference including organizing an Elements-hosted dinner for Atlanta-area clinicians. “This conference brings top-notch faculty to Atlanta. Conference presenters are industry leaders, and the Summit provides an exceptional training opportunity for clinicians. Elements Behavioral Health treatment centers are co-hosts of the Atlanta BFI Summit and are proud to be aligned with an organization delivering top-quality clinical education.”

Dr. Peeke opened the conference Thursday talking about the new science of epigenetics – the study of how genes can be altered by diet and exercise – and its promising implications for treating addiction. This was followed by a smaller workshop also directed by Dr. Peeke and offering solutions to the so-called triad of pain, shame, blame and guilt. Dr. Peeke is a New York Times bestselling author and an internationally renowned speaker on issues related to food addiction.

Weiss was the keynote speaker at the conference on Friday, sharing insights from his latest book about the effect of digital technology on relationships, addiction and parenting, with a subsequent workshop educating clinicians on the challenges unique to sex addiction treatment and recovery. Weiss is a sought-out speaker and national media commentator who has also developed clinical programs for a number of Elements treatment centers including The Ranch in Nashville, Right Step in Texas, and the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.

Representatives from the residential recovery programs at The Ranch and Promises also took part in the conference by helping to host the continuing education event at the conference, an activity that’s been going strong since its inception.

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