Addiction

My approach to addiction is to support you to explore the underlying causes of whatever addiction troubles you. I don’t believe addiction is a disease. It will have started as a method of coping with difficult thoughts and emotions. Over time the addiction will have become a habit and a problem in itself.  It will be part of your identity, whether it is abusing a substance, gambling, an addiction to sex and love, or addiction to something else.

I recommend counselling to help you explore and manage addictive behaviour.  While we can discuss the practicalities of managing the addiction day to day, it may be necessary to explore further.  This could include how it began, what emotions trigger the behaviour, the shame that surrounds it and what healthy behaviour means to you.  If there is physiological component to your addiction (for example, due to long term substance use) we will discuss what support you need if you wish to become abstinent or manage the behaviour. Addictions are deeply rooted habits and like all habits, you may need support to form new habits and sustain them.  While we deal with daily difficulties, our long term focus will remain to explore, understand and transform the underlying causes of the addiction.  This may mean transforming your attitude to yourself and your identity and searching for your purpose and passion.

If you are currently using substances, you will need to avoid them before a session. When your mind and emotions are altered by substances we cannot work in the way we need to.  You may also wish to use support groups that can help you daily, or during a crisis, while we work on the underlying causes through counselling sessions.

Addiction is a complex subject and my approach may not feel comfortable for everyone.  However, whether you aim to manage the addiction through abstinence or controlled use, without tackling underlying causes it will remain difficult to achieve that aim.

If you know someone who shows addictive behaviour it may be causing you distress.  The impact on close family, friends or colleagues is often profound.  While you may feel that you need to get that person to seek help, often they have to do that for themselves when they are ready.  I can help support you to cope with how you feel about their behaviour and to talk through what you might do to help yourself and so help them.

If you want to know a bit more about addiction, you may find talks by Dr Gabor Mate and Johann Hari on YouTube interesting.

 

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