Therapy for Addiction
Experienced psychotherapist specialising in addiction recovery. True healing beyond just symptom relief
Understanding the Complex Link between Trauma and Addiction
Trauma and addiction are closely intertwined. Two-thirds of people in drug abuse treatment have experienced childhood abuse or neglect, with high rates of PTSD in this population. Multiple traumatic experiences, both in childhood and adulthood, contribute to addiction vulnerability. Each additional childhood adversity increases the risk of drug problems by 30-40%. About one in three adults exposed to childhood trauma later develops drug or alcohol issues.
Numerous studies confirm the connection between childhood trauma and adult addiction. Trauma often disrupts the stress regulation system. People turn to drugs for immediate psychological relief, especially those with dysregulated stress systems due to trauma. Early-life trauma increases susceptibility to addiction as a way to cope with its effects.
Considering this intricate relationship, it’s crucial to adopt a trauma-informed perspective in addiction conceptualization and treatment. This approach addresses trauma and addiction concurrently for more effective care.
My Approach: Healing from Addiction and Trauma
Concurrent treatment for addiction and trauma is vital because they often coexist and feed into each other. It addresses the root causes, reduces triggers for relapse, and empowers individuals for better overall recovery outcomes.
My holistic approach treats addiction and trauma simultaneously, acknowledging that unresolved trauma can hinder recovery.
Your Recovery Process: A Deeper Look
Together, we’ll explore what lies beneath the surface of your addiction. We’ll uncover its purpose, its origins, and how it’s been sustained. While your addiction has served a purpose so far, it’s time to experiment with new ways of being.
Understanding Process Addictions
Process addictions are patterns of behaviour that mirror substance addictions, with behaviours becoming compulsive, problematic, and challenging to control. Unlike substance addictions, they involve specific activities or actions that trigger cravings, rewards, and negative outcomes. Examples include gambling, internet and technology overuse, sex and love obsession, and more.
The Path to Recovery: What to Expect
- Assessment and Understanding: How did your addiction come about? I am curious about your individual experience. We all have our unique story, and it is important to get clear on what purpose it has served in your life.
- Building a Strong Alliance: Trust is key. Our therapeutic relationship creates a safe space for you to open up, share your struggles, and find support.
- Exploring Triggers and Root Causes: Our work together will help to uncover the root causes of addiction, such as past trauma, unresolved emotions, co-occurring mental health issues, or dysfunctional coping mechanisms. By understanding these underlying factors, you can gain insights into why you turned to addiction as a way to cope.
- Developing Coping Strategies: Together we explore and practise new coping strategies and ways of being. I draw on somatic, body-based methods such as mindfulness, polyvagal theory and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to allow you to hear your body’s messages, attune to and regulate your nervous system and be able to withstand difficult emotions. I bring in my experience with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to equip you with additional tools to navigate difficult emotions.
- Identifying Patterns and Triggers: Together we will work on a plan to work out your potential triggers, while also building your resilience and internal capacity to handle the outside world stressors. In 12 step they refer to this as “people, places and things”. We will identify what you find challenging and work together to create inner and outer resources to navigate these challenges.
- Setting Goals and Action Plans: Recovery is personal. We’ll collaborate on achievable goals that align with your journey.
- Relapse Prevention: While we know that relapse is high when it comes to addiction, and we want to reduce any shame associated with it, we also want to incorporate some solid relapse prevention strategies. This can look like increasing your support network, involvement in 12 step programs, changing lifestyle factors, mindfulness tools to manage cravings and doing deeper work in our sessions.
A Holistic, Trauma Informed and Personal Approach to Recovery
Drawing from my clinical, academic and lived experience, my approach is person centred, trauma informed and evidence based. I draw on DBT tools, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Polyvagal Theory and Somatic practices. I believe in a holistic approach that factors in your individuality and emphasises community support, like the 12-step philosophy.
Resources for Your Journey
Here are some resources that can offer additional guidance and support:
- AA website
- SLAA website
- Family support networks
- YouTube videos