my counselling approach to addictive behaviors

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:

  1. Building and Mainting Motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
  4. 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.