Addiction Counseling Toronto
Addiction rarely happens in isolation. For most people, there is a triggering event or set of circumstances that the addict feels the need to escape from. Examples of factors that push some people into substance abuse include:
- Witnessing or experiencing trauma or abuse
- Any form of bullying, including physical bullying, cyber bullying, verbal bullying, harassment, social ostracism and more
- Troubled relationships with parents, children, spouse or other family members
- Loss of a loved one
- Stress resulting from relocation, change in family composition, or career change
- Job loss or financial difficulty
One of the challenges with addiction is that the trigger may not be easily identifiable. For example, someone developing an addiction in their 40s may not tie it in with the fact that they were a target of bullies in high school.
Or when the trigger is known, the individual may simply not know how to deal with it.
In both cases, counseling provides a way for the individual to be guided through the process of exploring what lies beneath their addiction, and learning ways to cope with those issues without turning to drugs or alcohol.
In general, counseling takes the form of a series of one-on-one sessions with a professional Addiction and Mental Health Professional. One of the biggest advantages to this approach is that it is completely customizable. The therapist focuses only on you for the entire session, instead of having to structure a session to cater to a group.
While the process of talking about some deeply personal matters may be difficult in the beginning, a good therapist will allow you take the time you need to feel safe and comfortable. You can be assured of complete confidentiality during these sessions: while your therapist may discuss your progress with the rest of your therapeutic team, the actual conversations that happen are not shared.
There are several forms of individual therapy. These are selected through a combination of preference and fit.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This is a short-term course of therapy that is designed to help you meet a clearly defined goal. The therapeutic process enables you to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back from achieving something, and then working to change those obstructive patterns.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
This is a form of CBT, but in addition to working on aspects of your thoughts and beliefs that you can change, you are also encouraged to accept things beyond your control that you cannot change. DBT has a good track record of helping people navigate the stress of change when they are back in the real world. Clients with personality disorders or suicidal tendencies can benefit greatly from this form of therapy.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
This is a therapy that is designed to help you with interpersonal relationships, which in turn provides you with improved social supports. Like CBT, this is a short-term course of therapy that is structured to help you achieve a goal.
The experiences of our early years can shape our thoughts and beliefs well into adulthood. Psychodynamic therapy gives you a way to explore these experiences in a safe environment, and to move past self-destructive ways of thinking and acting that stem from them.
Solutions-focused therapy does the opposite off psychodynamic therapy: instead of focusing on the events of the past, it looks at present and future thoughts and behaviours with a view to accomplishing well-defined goal. Therapy generally takes the form of question and answer sessions.
They say that no man is an island, and it is certainly true that humans are social beings. We are genetically programmed to gather in small groups, and so it makes sense for addiction rehab to include elements of that. Not only does it facilitate healing, it prepares recovering addicts for the idea that when they return to the real world, there will be people they will regularly interact with.
One of the things that people are most comforted by is the notion that they are not alone in anything. No matter what we are feeling, we want to know that there is somebody who can relate, somebody who knows what we are going through.
Group therapy provides exactly that. You and your fellow residents get together and talk about your experiences as a group, under the guidance of a therapist. By listening to the words of someone else, you might learn something or gain some perspectives into your own life, and in turn, someone listening to you can use your words to benefit their own lives. It is a cathartic, insightful experience that is so effective that it is widely used outside of a rehab setting in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Addiction almost never affects only the addicted person. Those close to them can be deeply impacted as well. This can include a spouse or life partner, children, parents and siblings, coworkers or classmates, and close friends. As the addiction progresses, these relationships begin to crumble, until they eventually fall apart.
Family therapy provides a way to start the process of healing the relationships that can be healed, and letting go of those that can’t. The process generally includes family members who live with you, and close friends and family members who are a significant part of your life.
Over the course of counseling, the therapist may meet with different configurations of the group. There will be sessions that include everyone, and there are also likely to be sessions for specific members of the group. There may even be times when the therapist feels that talking to just one person would be beneficial.
Through this process, the recovering addict and their family members learn how to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts and work together to deal with challenges.
To find out about our individual and group counseling, and all of our other treatment modalities, give us a call today. We are waiting to welcome you to our facility, so you can start your process of healing.