Psychotherapy - Drug Addiction

This is very similar to counselling in that the addict is encouraged to talk about their addiction, with a trained professional, in a relaxed, non-threatening environment.

The idea behind this is to get someone to talk about their life; the way they feel about thinks, why they think the way that they do and what actions they take. It is hoped that doing this will enable them to recognise what might have led to their addiction and to change aspects of their behaviour.

It is basically, a way of facing up to your problems and looking for alternative and healthier ways of dealing with them. It may seem like ‘mumbo jumbo’ to some people but psychotherapy is a very useful way of getting addicts to face up to their addiction and to change any aspects of their behaviour which may have contributed to their addiction.  

How does psychotherapy work?

A psychotherapy session is conducted in a friendly, informal and supportive manner. The participant is encouraged to be as open and honest as they can and to explore their feelings.

The psychotherapist will listen, empathise and put forward suggestions which are designed to help. He/she will not criticise or condemn; rather he/she will encourage the participant to realise that their actions have consequences and to make changes where necessary.

The aim is for the addict to recognise the warning signs or triggers for a potential relapse and devise a way of coping with that. It is a case of being aware that cravings and other feelings will occur and being prepared for when they do.

The different between this and counselling is that the psychotherapist may encourage the addict to bring their partner, family or a friend along to the session. This gives all parties concerned a chance to re-establish their relationships.

A psychotherapy session will consist of a range of standard methods such as motivational sessions, cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. This is more of an in-depth approach than counselling and so requires a greater degree of specialisation.

Psychotherapy can treat an addiction in a variety of ways which include:

  • Cognitive therapy to treat anxiety and depression. These are two aspects of an addiction and require the participant to look for new ways of dealing with problems in their life. It can also be the case that these caused the addiction in the first place. If that is so then a new perspective on things is required so that the addict doesn’t turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping.
  • Behavioural therapy is a direct way of dealing with problems rather than ignoring them. It takes a head-on approach to problems and encourages the addict to develop new ways of dealing with a situation.
  • Motivational sessions are designed to train the addict in positive thinking. This will encourage them to change from a negative to a positive outlook and look for ways of living without their addiction.
  • Psychodynamic therapy is a technique which explores the addict’s relationships with others. This is done to encourage them to see how far reaching the consequences of their addiction is on other people around them. It also looks at how they feel about other people and what changes they may need to make in regard to social interaction.

A psychotherapy session will include some or all of these techniques as well as the opportunity for the addict to discuss their needs and feelings.

 

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