Working with addictive Behaviours
Study shows that most of people with drinking patterns (75%, Sobell) achieved recovery without utilizing formal treatment. We have got an example of 13k adults in Sobell experiment in 90s or heroin users from Vietnam war.
This Natural Recovery phenomenon not only forces us, counsellors and scientists, to rethink of what we actually know about phenomenon called “addiction”, but also gives people hope and belief that with the right motivation, right choices and support, their own recovery is achievable.
It empowers so called addicts and puts them in control of their lives and actions!
I am aware that different methods and approaches will work for diffeent individuals. Some of them might feel comfortable submitting themselves to greater power, other will not. Some will want to work towards abstinency, some towards moderation. Case by case…
In my clinical work with patients presenting addictive behaviors, I adopt approach taken from SMART Recovery Support Group, which could be used both as a program alone or complimentary with other approaches (incl. AA).
SMART stands for Self-Empowerment for Addiction Recovery.
In consists of evidence-based tools and approaches that were proven to work effectively, taken from REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), MET (Motivational Enhancement Therapy) and SoC (Stages of Change).
The key element here is a choice, self empowerment and self-reliance.
SMART teaches techniques for a self-directed change in a 4-point program:
- Building and Mainting Motivation
- Coping with urges
- Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
- Living a Balanced Life
Although SMART Recovery Programme promotes abstinence, it is up to individual to choose abstinence or moderation.
This programme is recognized by: The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other official bodies in the USA.
Ultimately There is no better therapy for individuals with addictive behaviors than learning…rewires brain; gives purpose, excitement and feeling of being in control; feeling of accomplishment and commitment.
My own unique approach
Nature in Therapy
I use and explore the connection and unity with nature that brings us presence of being, peace, tranquility, mental and physical cleansing and lots of joy and inspirations to our lives
Blue screen (smartphones, tablets) detox
Desired change in my clients’ lives is often undermined by their unheatlhy habits of using computers to ease their anxiety, get high, get an illusion of being connected to the world. Overuse of electronics leads to low mood, sleeping disturbances, social anxiety and other modern civilisational disorders. Time to break our chains and be in control instead of being controlled.
Some of the sessions will be done outdoor. “to walk and talk the problem”. Sometimes I take clients to parks, zoos, forest, waterfalls or busy centre, to inspire them and show alternative way of looking at the world around us.
One Minute breathing meditation and visualisation techniques are found to be useful to calm our mind and bring back peace and joy to our lives. Specially designed tailored and easy to learn practices are a perfect remedy for anxiety, stress and fatigue.
Positive attidute, manners and gratefulness
My counselling session is also a time to practice gratitude, compassion, kindness, respect and social responsibility. Showing appreciation, respect and kindness to people and world around is for me one of the key therapeutic factor.
Socratic questions: Never stop to wonder and learn….
Growing and expanding to reach a sun light is what makes plants flourish and blossom. Learning and discovering the complexity and beauty of the world is what makes us humans happy and at peace. I want my sessions to wake up and inspire my clients to ask questions, explore more, see between the lines, become curious and passionate. The ability to ask oneself the right question is often key for recovery…
Spirituality, beliefs and life philosophies
I strongly believe it’s worth to take a closer look at our most fundamental beliefs about nature of being, purpose, destiny and afterlife. With a deepest respect to clients’ personal beliefs&philosophies I invite them to explore their ways of seeing the world to let them better understand motives,fairness, pain, suffering, freedom and ultimate joy and peace in life.
Standard Counselling Approaches
Main counselling approaches I follow:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
The way we react to things happening to us (both psysically and emotionally) is determined by our thoughts, and attitudes we have about ourselves, others, and the world around.
Some of our thoughts are rational which results in healthy, balances emotions and appropriate responses. Others are irrational causing unhealthy emotions, and different problems in life leading to lack of happiness and suffering.
This system helps to recognize our underlying thoughts and beliefs and work on them so that they will become healthy, flexible, appropriate to the situation and effective. So that they will bring us good, not harm or suffer.
2. Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.
3. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is the study of human excellence and communication. It provides us with the tools to run our own brain and manage our states, emotions and behaviours. NLP was created originally through ‘modelling’ – studying an expert in their field and then breaking down what they do so successfully into thoughts, beliefs, values and actions. Replicating the same awesome results became possible for these men because they discovered the core elements of the results and then ‘modelled’ them.
4. Person-centred approach
The person-centred approach to counselling and psychotherapy views the client as the expert on his or her life. Counselling provides a safe space for clients to talk over an issue openly and honestly, so they feel heard and understood. Most importantly they learn to articulate what they are feeling in a way that gives them the clarity needed to resolve an issue or move forward with their life.