The processes of change and recovery for individuals, couples, and families affected by addictions and chemical dependency are complex. I work with you to being to explore where you are right now and I help you proceed toward a more healthy life by working in conjunction with self-help support groups and local treatment centers.
Research studies have shown that mindfulness practices, which emphasize an attitude of acceptance toward thoughts of using substances, have actually led to a reduction in substance use. In contrast, attempts to suppress thoughts about using substances may actually lead to an increase in substance use. I have a special interest in working with adult children of alcoholics, who even though they may not be chemically dependent themselves, have been affected by being raised in an alcoholic home.
Healing takes courage and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
Addictions eventually destroy your physical, social and emotional well-being and make having a healthy relationship next to impossible.
I can work with you at the at the start of your recovery by offering supportive and motivational counseling to determine if you can, with my help, reduce the frequency and intensity of harmful behavior. Or, if intensive treatment for the addiction will lead to the best outcome, I can refer you to facilities that specialize in intensive treatment. After intensive treatment, our therapy sessions focus on helping you stay grounded in your recovery program and helping you continue to integrate new ways of thinking that will prevent relapse and enable you to move forward in rebuilding your life.
Many of my clients have been in recovery for several years and we work on establishing and building healthy relationships or healing painful memories such as childhood neglect, emotion, physical or sexual abuse.
Adult Children of Alcoholics
The term “adult child” is used to describe adults who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes and who exhibit traits stemming from past abuse or neglect. This includes adults raised in homes without the presence of alcohol or drugs. Adult children have a secret. Outwardly, they look fine. They are in business or in a profession. They appear well-adjusted; being achievement oriented, they work very hard. Yet, the adult children seldom understand why they continue to feel bad despite the success they achieve.
Children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families had a lot of needs go unmet. They have difficulty trusting, are overly responsible, and learned to deny their feelings. This results in low self-esteem, depression, and isolation from others.
Being overly responsible, you learn to accomplish goals, but not how to play or interact with peers. As an adult, you may be rigid, serious, self-reliant, unable to trust or cooperate with others, and have a high need to control.
Learning to deny your feelings leads to being extremely flexible. You detach emotionally, appearing relaxed and easy-going. But, there is no sense of power over your own life. Making decisions is difficult and you are attracted to partners who need that flexibility and lack of boundaries, such as an alcoholic or addict. These traits lead to being eager to please others but abandoning of your own self.
In our work together, I help you let go of the survival roles, beliefs, and distressed emotions that are part of life with an alcoholic or emotionally immature parent. You can finally move into adulthood free to grow and expand in healthy, balanced ways once the burdens of the past are lifted. You can learn to be comfortable in your own skin and with others, as well. Though you may have been seeking these goals for a long time, therapy can enable you to clear the distress of the past and allow natural strengths to spontaneously emerge. Clients frequently report being amazed at their own progress.