Addiction as a Symptom of Trauma
I see addiction as a symptom of trauma and disconnection. It is a survival mechanism and a coping skill. Therefore, my focus is to decrease the need for the coping skill by increasing connection and creating a positive belief structure.
What is connection?
I think of four primary areas of connection. These include connection with self, a higher power, others, and community. Addiction erases connection and leads people to believe they are not worthy of it. I explore with clients their current connections and how to strengthen them. I also help identify and process through the shame associated with neglected connections.
Addiction and Shame
One of the biggest hurdles to overcoming addiction is overcoming the shame associated with it. Feelings of being worthless, inadequate and a waste of resources are prevalent in this population. These feelings are generally based on how a person battling addiction has been taught to view themselves. I help clients see that the addict part is one part of many. Building and focusing on the other parts beings joy and healing.
I always use a combination of EMDR and Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy when working with this population. EMDR allows me to work through the trauma and IFS is great for working through shame. I also provide help with relapse prevention, finding community support, and increasing positive coping skills when needed. It is my job to assist clients in working through their addiction therefore I do not believe in ending therapy if a relapse occurs. However, a higher level of care may need to be considered if relapse is occurring too frequently.
I do not have the ability to complete revocation packets for the court. However, coordination with other treatment providers or legal entities is provided.