Addictions

  • There are many forms of addictive patterns and behaviours. Addiction is destructive to self/other but it is fundamentally painful suffering. Addictive behaviours are usually planned, meaningful, and non-impulsive. I think of addictions as part genetic, biological as well as being heavily influenced by social and environmental factors especially attachment patterns, peer groups and rituals. Many people struggling with addictive patterns hold foundational, limiting and sometimes tyrannical beliefs about themselves or others. It may well be that some of these highly charged reclusive belief patterns, often organized early in development, get organized below the level of conscious awareness. So, by definition, these beliefs can operate, with motive force, beyond the reach of conscious awareness. It is at this level that directed therapeutic counselling can be of value. I am an ardent fan of Twelve Step recovery programs and supportive groups. It is my experience that, though these programs may not suit everybody, they do make a powerful contribution, day by day, in the lives of millions of people. Integrating active participation in a recovery program along with counselling can create a powerful combination for many people.  

    Counselling Goal: 

    • appropriate planning
    • action sequences and support
    • anticipation of harm, danger, hazardous situations

    Four Pillars:

    • affect regulation
    • trigger analysis & self-destructive beliefs
    • finding and developing authentic self-worth beliefs
    • self-care capacities

    Self-Care Capacities:

    • reality-testing (reflective awareness)
    • judgment (anticipation of consequences)
    • self-regulation: control
    • anxiety (as a signal something may be amiss: signal anxiety)
    • ability to draw cause-consequence conclusions and act in own best interest
    • exploration of beliefs about the self through the careful study of key seasoning life experiences

    Good Self-Care Capacities Hedge Against:

    • denial/rejection of danger
    • bravado
    • passive-aggressive behaviour
    • counter-phobia (risk-numb; head-long plunge into danger, hazards, self-injurious behaviour)
    • pride and overblown self-sufficiency (Bullfrog effect; Icarus effect)
    • destructive self-centerdness (exclusive self-focus; very limited, or no, self-other focus)