Addiction, Powerlessness and 12 Step Programmes – 24th November 2017

Our Autumn 2017 workshop, ‘Addiction, Powerlessness and 12 Step Programmes’, will take place at the University of Essex, in room 1.1 of the Essex Business School, on Friday 24th November 2017.

Addiction is a paradigmatic case of powerlessness. Conversely, powerlessness and the acknowledgement of powerlessness are central to the twelve-step programs, as are references to faith, love and hope. Yet many balk at these programmes’ reliance on trust in a ‘higher power’ and more generally at the crypto-theology they seem to involve. In this workshop, we seek to understand the experiences of powerlessness involved in addiction, to explore the limits of the helpfulness of the twelve-step programs, and to see whether a secular version would be workable.



Room 1.1, Essex Business School, University of Essex

9.00: Registration (Refreshments Provided)

9.10: Welcome

09.15-10.30: Gabriel Segal ‘Powerlessness, Spirituality and Science’

10.30-10.45: Break (Refreshments Provided)

10.45-11.15: Bhags Sharma ‘A day in the life of the Addictions Psychiatrist – who is powerless?’

11.15-11.45: Lisa Caulfield (Title TBC)

11.45-12.00: Break

12.00-12.30: Sarah Senker ‘“It’s definitely a choice, but it’s a choice you can’t understand”’

12.30-13.30: Lunch Break

13.30-14.45: David McNeill (Title TBC)

14.45-16.00: David Batho (Title TBC)

16.00-16.15: Break (Refreshments Provided)

16.15-17.30: Matt Burch ‘A Phenomenological Approach to Addiction’


The workshop will be taking place at the University of Essex, in room 1.1 of the Essex Business School. You can find directions to the room on our interactive campus map

To reach Colchester by car from London and South Essex, leave the A12 at the Colchester (A133) exit. If you are approaching from Ipswich, leave the A12 at the exit for Colchester (A1232). You can then follow the road signs to Colchester campus, which is in East Colchester off the A133. The postcode for the Colchester campus is CO4 3SQ, but please be aware that directions from satellite navigation can sometimes be misleading.

We have several car parks available on campus and would recommend Valley car park as the nearest to the workshop location. Please note that there are visitor parking charges on a Friday, and these are pay and display.

If you are travelling by train, the nearest station is Wivenhoe. Buses to campus (the 62) leave from right outside the station. Alternatively, buses (the 62) and taxis to campus are available at Colchester North Station.

For more information about getting here, please refer to the travel page on the main University website.


Spaces are strictly limited.

To register for this event, please complete the form below

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