E079: Understand your Brain to Overcome Addiction (Dr. Roby Abeles)

In this episode, we continue our exploration of the application of the Brainspotting modality.
Brainspotting is a modality discovered by Dr. David Grand. Please visit www.brainspotting.com to learn more.

Our guest, Dr. Roby Abeles, discusses addiction and how the brain is wired for reward.

She discusses some amazing processes that allow for overcoming addiction. 

We also explore post-addiction/post-trauma growth. We discuss how we can become better human beings as a result of positive post-addiction growth. 

Here are the six mantras from this episode: 

Mantra #1:  There is no such thing as a perfect childhood (it is all about a spectrum of experiences).

Mantra #2:  You can bounce back from just about anything (and it is easier and can be more fully integrated with support from others).

Mantra #3: The student can become the teacher.

Mantra #4: You can be so much more helpful to others when you can be vulnerable and authentic.

Mantra #5: When a person is feeling an addiction, their brain cannot neurologically connect (between the deeper reward centers of the brain) to the consequences of that addiction.

Mantra #6: Given that addiction is a result of a lack of neural pathways in the brain (not a person having negative characteristics like a “lack of control”) we must work to remove shame around addiction in our society.

Mantra #7: The brain is wired for reward.

Mantra #8: Brainspotting can create new neural pathways in the brain to help people overcome addiction. 

Mantra #9: A healing journey can be seen along the same lines as the Hero’s journey (see Joseph Campbell’s 17 stages of the Hero’s journey). 

Mantra #10:  When it comes to healing, including Brainspotting sessions, the most important person in the room is the client.

More about Dr. Roby Abeles

Dr. Roby Abeles is an accomplished integrative, somatic neuro-psychotherapist, with over 34 years of experience in diverse clinical, academic, government, and human services environments in Australia and the USA.

Dr. Abeles knows the complexities of addiction through her own personal journey which began in utero.  She was prescribed tranquilizers and anticonvulsants from ages 2-12, and by then she had already become addicted to several other substances. 

She is a survivor of several sexual and physical assaults during the active phase of her addictions. She entered rehab in 1985 and has been clean and sober ever since.

Dr. Roby received her early addiction treatment training at the Betty Ford Center in California. She soon learned that addiction is always pre-dated by overwhelming life experiences. We are often not able to identify these experiences as “trauma”. And we were not able to process and integrate these experiences when they occurred.

Dr. Roby’s own life experiences led her to a life-long study of trauma and addiction which continues today. She has co-developed the MATES Brain Regulation Program. ‘MATES’ is a simple and easy program to help people learn easy self-regulation techniques so they have alternatives to self-soothing with ritualized, compulsive (addictive) behaviors.

She has also been trained in the revolutionary 21st Century brain-based Brainspotting (BSP) therapy and is an international trainer. Based on neuroscience, she developed a way to stop addiction cravings using a BSP technique called the “Crocodile Set Up”, and most recently has developed “The Hero’s Journey” BSP Set Up to transform adversity into a personal story of not just survival, but heroism.

Dr. Roby Incorporates mind, body, and spirit into all her therapeutic work and teaching by combining Brainspotting, Somatic Experiencing, Spiritual Psychology, Narrative therapy, and Ego State therapy, to ensure all levels of client experience are truly resolved and integrated so they can have a clear path forward.

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

MA in Counselling Psychology

MA in Spiritual Psychology

BA in Chemical Dependency Counselling


The Crocodile Set Up


Brainspotting Australia Pacific


For BSP trained therapists

Facebook page Brainspotting and Addictions





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