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Free Family Education Seminar: The Science of Addiction + How to Challenge Our Negative Narratives

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The Disease of Addiction

You’re invited to join the next free Family Education Seminar by Master Center on Saturday, November 21st. If you are concerned that someone you love has a substance use issue, would like continued education on the disease of addiction and how it affects the family, or just need support as you navigate through the recovery process, we invite you to be a part of our lecture series presented by the area’s top doctors, clinicians and experts. 

On November 21st, we will present “The Science of Addiction & The Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) Model of Addiction” by Dr. Andreas Bienert, Clinical Director, Master Center and “How to Challenge Our Negative Narratives or Perceptions About Addiction/Mental Health Issues and How This Infuses Into Our Daily Lives and Conversations” by Barbara Mardigian, Deputy Clinical Director, Virginia Judges & Lawyers Assistance Program. 

VCAM Speakers

Dr. Andreas Bienert will be presenting a lecture titled, ‘The Science of Addiction & The Bio – Psycho – Social – Spiritual (BPSS) Model of Addiction’. Many things influence the development of an addiction. While we do not yet know how these various influences combine to form an addiction, we do know there are two basic types. One type of influence is biological forces, such a person’s genetics. The second type is environmental influences. This includes people’s life experiences. Early life experiences, interpersonal relationships, and culture can heavily influence a person. There are many different explanations, or models, of addiction. The Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) Model of addiction recognizes these different aspects of addiction are inter-related and forms a framework of comprehensive understanding of the disease. Dr. Bienert is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in the state of Virginia, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Dr. Bienert has worked in the mental health field since 2005. He is recognized for his work within inpatient and outpatient levels of care with individuals struggling to recover from addiction and trauma, and has worked with children, adolescents, adults, in addition to couples and families. This experience has also led him to pursue further training and expertise, including neurofeedback and EMDR. As a native of Austria, Dr. Bienert grew up in a country that has deep roots in psychological theory. His bi-cultural background and focus in clinical mental health has led him to a number of volunteer opportunities and leadership roles. As an Austrian with professional experiences and associations in the United States and Europe, Dr. Bienert brings a broad and rich cultural sensitivity to the counseling and other mental health fields. He carries a strong vision that includes the development of counseling services and access to counselor education and professional supervision in countries where these services are still in early developmental stages. Dr. Bienert currently serves as the Clinical Director for the Master Center for Addiction Medicine (VCAM) and serves as an Assistant Professor at Colorado Christian University in its online Master of Arts in Counseling Program. Additionally, Dr. Bienert serves as a steering committee member of the International Registry of Counselor Education and Related Educational Programs (IRCEP), where he contributes to quality assurance efforts within International Counselor Education programs. Dr. Bienert is also part of a cross-cultural training team, which has led him to consultation and teaching efforts in Ukraine, and he continues to supervise students cross-culturally throughout their clinical training program.

Guest Speakers

Barbara Mardigian

Barbara Mardigian will be presenting a lecture titled, ‘How to challenge our negative narratives or perceptions about addiction/mental health issues and how this infuses into our daily lives and conversations’ where she will examine the following points:

  • We will learn and have discussions about stigma and biases we harbor; and how we can begin to address them.
  • How these unconscious thoughts impact all areas of our lives; work, home, church, family, internal and external dialogues.
  • Increasing awareness of our personal biases and stigma; how to begin to make changes.

Barbara has worked in the field of addiction since 1997. She received her Master’s degree from MCV in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1997 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in 2004. She has worked in a variety of settings including Intensive Outpatient, Residential, private practice and with the first Health Professional Monitoring Program in Virginia as the Director of Intake Services. Most recently as the Executive Director of an Intensive Outpatient treatment facility in Richmond. She worked for the Farley Center from 2010-2016 as a lead clinician in their professionals program, having experience working with lawyers, physicians and CEO’s as well as high ranking military individuals. She has been with Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program since September 2019 as the Deputy Clinical Director.




9:00-10:00 am:      ‘The Science of Addiction & The Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) Model of Addiction: An Interactive Discussion” — Dr. Andreas Bienert
10:00-10:30 am:    ‘How to Challenge Our Negative Narratives or Perceptions About Addiction/Mental Health Issues and How This Infuses Into Our Daily Lives and Conversations’— Barbara Mardigian, Deputy Clinical Director, Virginia Judges & Lawyers Assistance Program
10:30 – 11:00 am:   Open Discussion — Q & A

Join this zoom webinar the day of the event via the following link: https://zoom.us/j/91343378710?from=addon



Register Below!


Sat, November 21
9:00 am - 11:00 am
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