Conference Like No Other

Self Help Comes to Life –

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Leonard Buschel, Tian Dayton, Rokelle Lerner, Claudia Black. Suzanne Stratford & Maya Parker 

Imagine walking into a bookstore looking for information about pain management sans drugs––trauma and its effects on addictive behavior—co-dependency—psycho-drama—adolescents and internet addiction—intervention for families—loneliness—marketing—relationship trauma repair—emotional intelligence and resilience—shame—equilibrium in the here and now—cultivating healthy attachments—healing trauma and PTSD, acupuncture and Eastern medicine.

Imagine gathering those books in your cart then realizing it would take a couple years to read and absorb all of this important information.  How could a person with a full-time job, a tennis habit and a family have the time to gain all the knowledge you need to advance your career in the mental health and addiction field?

Imagine your eye was then drawn to a poster of John Lennon on the bookstore wall and next to that was a poster for a most extraordinary gathering in London, England with the unassuming name of iCAAD: Europe’s Leading Conference on Behavioural, Mental and Emotional Health. And listed as speakers on the flyer were the authors of all the books in your shopping cart. 

Tom Kane, West Jones and David Shaw

Cut to: Present day

I’m fortunate to have just returned from this fabulous event where I was honored to be speaking on a marketing panel with other actual experts in the field, including Emily Bielen, founder of Orrick Consulting and West Jones, surfer, sushi enthusiast and internet design marketing boss.

Several months ago, I had submitted a talk on the opiate bonanza to be considered as a speaker at this illustrious confab, only to be offered a seat on the Marketing Rehabs panel titled, “Modern Marketing And Ethical Boundaries: When Swimming Pools No Longer Cut The Mustard.” I had been marketing and advertising iCAAD on the eBulletin for several months and I guess the organizers were happy to be getting noticed in the States, and see some American sign-ups were coming their way.

Pamala Lessing, Dr. Judith Landau

The venue is the Royal Garden Hotel on High Street Kensington, and for a sober American, I get a buzz just saying “High Street Kensington”.  Everyone at the hotel wears a uniform befitting their position, from the elegant doorman to the bellman, from the receptionist to the housekeeping staff.  Wearing any one of these to a Halloween Party next October would earn you 1st place prize; especially the maid’s outfit. I can see why Dominique Strauss-Kahn was driven to madness.

The Royal Garden Hotel, is bordered on one side by Embassy Row, where a dozen foreign countries have their corporate headquarters. Only walking is permitted and one is probably photographed more times walking down that street then anywhere else in London’s “no privacy anywhere zone”. When I walked past the Israeli embassy and ideas of Palestinian Liberation came to my mind, I thought I might get stopped and searched for anti-apartheid literature.

Judy Crane signing books

On the other side is Kensington Palace and Gardens.  The palace was built in 1605, and was the last home of outspoken Princess Di, grandmother of Archie, before she was silenced by her untimely death in 1997. The area surrounding the hotel is enveloped in history, intrigue and great shopping. 

During the conference, either coincidentally or synchronistically our host country decided to take its attention from away from Brexit and the upcoming visit from Herr Trump (1 million protestors expected) and focus on something every woman who has ever given birth has experienced, a Royal Baby.  As Christmas reminds us every winter, all babies are God’s children and all birth’s Royal.  I dare say when the kid’s name was announced, a collective smile spread across the kingdom. Archie!

Just plain Archie.

But I digress …

The conference started May 5, with some all day intensives and began in earnest from May 6th to May 8th. For some, mornings started with yoga at 7am, a necessary flexing before the exercising of intense intellectual and emotional involvement with presenters and other attendees. There was also a 12-Step meeting at 7:30am for the twice blessed. The tremor and tone of some of the shares was a little different than shares stateside. They were more like ten-minute West End soliloquies where hankies are included with your tickets.  I reveled in the group’s poignant honesty and thanked God I ended up working in an industry that starts the day holding hands with colleagues and reciting the Serenity Prayer or Lords Prayer (my fave).

Gary Seidler, Annie McCullough and Ben Levenso

Unlike some drug treatment industry conferences in America, which are often referred to as “marketers marketing to marketers”, at iCAAD it was more like scholars sharing tried and true, old and new information with an international audience of clinicians, educators, counselours, therapists and marketers.  It is not a stretch for me to compare workshops and retreats I’ve attended at Esalen, Naropa or the Pacifica Institute to the depth and exploration called for by the presenters’ topics.  Information was disseminated for 12 hours a day, into the minds and hearts of those lucky or wise enough to be “present”.

This was the 4th iCAAD event in London, which also produces conferences in Paris, Istanbul, Rome and Reykjavik, attracts exhibitors and attendees from all over Europe, South Africa, the Far and Near East and Australia.  There is something here for everyone, though, I did notice a lack of crumpets; however, scones and Madeleines were plentiful. 

Special recognition must go to iCAAD founder, conference director and friend Sam Quinlan for putting together such an informationally rich three days, filled with fantastic workshops taught by intelligent and erudite speakers and educators. I would like to describe those workshops, but that would be too much work so instead I am posting this link to the PowerPoint presentations:

and including a list of some of the teachers with links to their books and videos.  There was a short program by Recovery Street Film Festival and BBC filmmaker and Luke Bradford made an appearance.

Filmmaker Luke Bradford and Leonard Buschel

Judy Crane – Certified Addiction Professional in Florida, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, a Certified Hypnotist, EMDR and a specialist for healing trauma and PTSD has over 3 decades of experience working in both residential and outpatient settings.  She often says, “You have to unravel the trauma story to understand the addiction story and write the recovery story.” She is author of The Trauma Heart: We Are Not Bad People Trying To Be Good, We Are Wounded People Trying To Heal.

Claudia Black, Ph.D. – Senior Fellow and Clinical Architect, The Meadows Behavioural Healthcare is a renowned author and trainer internationally recognized for her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders. In the mid 1970’s Claudia gave “voice” to both young and adult children from addictive homes. Claudia has authored over fifteen books; most noted It Will Never Happen to Me. She is the recipient of numerous national awards and has been a keynote speaker on Capitol Hill. She serves on the Advisory Board for the National Association of Children of Alcoholics.

Tian Dayton, Rokelle Lerner, Claudia Black

Dr. Mel Pohl MD, DFASAM – Chief Medical Officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC) was a major force in developing LVRC’s Chronic Pain Recovery Program.  He is a Board Certified Family Practitioner, certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  He was elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America® from 2009 to present. He is the author of A Day Without Pain and The Pain Antidote – Stop Suffering from Chronic Pain, Avoid Addiction to Painkillers, and Reclaim Your Life with Kathy Ketcham.

Dr. David Greenfieldfounder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he teaches courses on Sexual Medicine and Internet Addiction. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading voices on process and behavioral addictions and is author of Virtual Addiction, which rang an early warning bell regarding the country’s growing Internet Addiction problem. His work has been featured in U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, People, Time, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Alastair Mordey – program director at The Cabin is an international addiction counselor, author, founder and expert speaker. He co-founded and developed the largest treatment center outside of the USA, The Cabin Chiang Mai. In 2016 Alastair pioneered The Edge, the first rehab in the world to treat addiction and trauma in young men (18–30) by using Muay Thai kickboxing and triathlon training.  In 2016, he appeared as Jason Statham’s body double in the film Mechanic: The Resurrection and he has recently completed his first book, ‘Meet The Reptile’.

John LiebermanAdministrative Director for Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers has committed his life to helping adolescents and young adults and their families find lasting recovery from the damages of addiction and co-occurring disorders.  During his 33 years in the Treatment Industry, John has led groups, been a featured speaker at national conferences, appeared in magazine articles and has been on numerous TV segments. John is a husband, father and grandfather. He lives in California with his wife and their 2 over-indulged dachshunds.

Dr. Mel Pohl,  Claudia Black, John Lieberman

Heather Hayes – Founder and CEO of Heather R. Hayes & Associates, Inc. She is a Master’s Level, Licensed Counselor, Board Registered Interventionist (CIP) and Certified ARISE Interventionist. She has over 30 years of experience working with addictions and other disorders and specializes in the treatment of adolescents/young adults, trauma, brain disorders, complex mental health issues and the full spectrum of addictive disorders. To learn more about Heather’s background, training, and publications, download her full CV at

Judith Landau, MD, DPM, LMFT, CFLE, CIP, CAI, CRS, President and CEO of Linking Human Systems, LLC, and ARISE® Network, and President of LINC Foundation, Inc., is a child, family and community neuropsychiatrist. She has devoted her career to developing Evidence-Based, Best Practice collaborative care family and community systems and resilience models. Dr. Landau has consulted with addiction and mental health treatment centers, professionals, consultants and interventionists around the world. Former professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester, and Senior Consultant to the Trauma Studies Program at NYU and Columbia, Dr. Landau draws upon 50+ years of research and experience aimed at facilitating long-term healing for addicted individuals and their families. She is author of Invitational Intervention: A Step by Step Guide for Clinicians Helping Families Engage Resistant Substance Abuses in Treatment

Rokelle LernerSenior Clinical Advisor/Crossroads Antigua is a pioneer in the development cutting edge treatment for children and adult children of alcoholics and a renowned author and lecturer in the field of addiction and relationship issues. She has received numerous awards for her work including the National Association for Children of Alcoholic’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Esquire magazines “Top 100 Women in the US Who are Changing the Nation.” She has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America and 20/20. Her articles and interviews have been featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, TIME, People Magazine and Parents Magazine. She is the author of Daily Affirmations for  Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Sam Quinlan and Don Grant

Sheri Laine L.Ac , Diplomate of Acupuncture, President, Eastern  Medical Arts, 1985 to Present is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and nutritionist in private practice. A clinician supporting individuals, athletes, and all family members who are striving to achieve balance, fitness and happiness through healthy living choices.  As an author, lecturer and educator, Sheri’s focus is lifestyle medicine and cognitive enrichment through Oriental Medical teachingsSheri Laine is the Author of Living the EnerQi Connection: Demystifying Acupuncture.

Dufflyn LammersActor, Writer, Certified Arise Interventionist and Recovery Specialist has a passion for empowering individuals and families in recovery. Her specialty is Codependency and Love Addiction. She has been published in the LA Times, Iowa Woman, Adelaide, the Museletter of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and in Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry edited by Gary Glazner.

She has worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and with At-Risk Youth in schools and community centers to facilitate recovery in traumatized and underserved populations. She lives in Paris, France. 

Dr. Don Grant – Founder/CEO and Executive Director, (un)BOOT Camp and Resolutions Teen Center is an internationally award-winning media psychologist, researcher, addiction specialist who assists teens, young adults, and families struggling with technology, Smartphone, online gaming and cyber/online pornography dependence and addiction. He is also Chairman of the American Psychological Association (Division 46) “Device Management” Committee. Don’s current research includes investigations of the potential effects of cyberbullying and cyberpornography on adolescents, teens, young adults, and our culture/relationships-at-large.

Dr. Tian Dayton, MA, Ph.D., T.E.PDirector, The New York Psychodrama Training Institute runs training groups in psychodrama, sociometry and experiential group therapy. She currently sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) and is a certified Montessori teacher. Dr. Dayton is a fellow of the American Society of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy (ASGPP), and is the winner of their scholar’s award and the President’s award. She is also the winner of The Mona Mansell Award and The Ackermann Black Award for her contributions to the field of addiction. She is the author of fifteen books including, The ACoA Trauma Syndrome: How Childhood Trauma Impacts Adult Relationships, Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance, Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving OnThe Magic of Forgiveness and a Huff Post Blogger.  For more information about Dr. Dayton, visit

Leonard Buschel, CADC-1, Founder, Director, Producer & Editor is a Philadelphia native, and a very happy Los Angeles transplant. He is California Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with years of experience working with people struggling with addiction. Mr. Buschel is the founder of Writers In Treatment whose primary purpose is to promote ‘treatment’ as the best first step solution for addiction, alcoholism and other self-destructive behaviors. Leonard is the director of the 11-year old REEL Recovery Film Festival & Symposium®, and editor/publisher of the most highly regarded, widely read weekly newsletter, the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin®.  He also produces the annual the Experience, Strength and Hope Awards® in Los Angeles.  Recipients include, Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Academy Award winning Lou Gossett, Jr., Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Duran Duran founding band member, John Taylor, Emmy Award winner, Joe Pantoliano, Mackenzie Phillips, legendary TV Host Pat O’Brien and TV star Jodie Sweetin.