If someone has an addictive disorder, they are no longer able to ‘just stop’ drinking or taking drugs – substance misuse problems create and result from changes in brain chemistry. It affects the part of the brain responsible for rewarding behaviours, causing surges in dopamine (the ‘feel good’ hormone).
The 'need' for substances overpowers all other considerations.
COUNSELLING FOR DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROBLEMS
My role as an addictions counsellor and family therapist is to help you find out how to make the changes you need to start living your life to the full.
I use a person-centred, empathic approach to understand your world and what matters to you. It’s important that you feel accepted, not judged or criticised – I’m very aware that it takes courage to ask someone for help. We will work as a partnership, agreeing on goals you think you’d like to achieve, and our conversations will be entirely private and confidential (please see Confidentiality Statement).
If you are withdrawing from alcohol or drugs, you may need medical attention – it would be wise to check in with your GP. Some mental health conditions could require the help of a different professional, such as a psychiatrist. If I’m not able to help I’ll do my best to make a recommendation.
SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES LIVING WITH ADDICTION
You’ve been doing your best – but despite your efforts to help your loved one, the problems only seem to get worse.
Addiction is an all-consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour that is driven by a conscious or unconscious desire to feel something different, which results in a range of harmful consequences. The impact of substance misuse on family life can be devastating. The stigma of addiction can lead to families becoming isolated and increasingly perplexed and frustrated.
I’ve supported many people affected by someone’s substance misuse - helping them to understand addiction and to break out of frustrating cycles of communication. With new information and insights they begin to find healthier ways of coping and looking after themselves.
SUPERVISION FOR PROFESSIONALS
As a clinical supervisor I work with individuals and groups, using the Hawkins and Shohet seven-mode Model of Supervision, with a focus on interpersonal relationships, collaboration and the therapeutic alliance. I will support you and act as a sounding board as you explore and reflect on your choice of interventions and theoretical approaches. I understand supervision to be important for an individual’s personal and professional development. As a reflective (humanistic) practitioner I encourage supervisees to view their work in terms of stages of action using models of learning. I am registered as a supervisor with the Centre for Supervision and Team Development: http://www.cstdlondon.co.uk/supervisors/graduate-supervisors/
If you decide to choose counselling by email - how does it work?
Obviously communicating by email is not as spontaneous as a real life conversation but there are many benefits to this form of support. You are not restricted to an appointment; you have complete privacy and can write about your thoughts and feelings in your own time. You might find the act of writing therapeutic in itself.
I will respond within 48 hours which gives me time to think about my response. You will be able to read my reply whenever you need to. We can agree at our initial discussion how long you will need this service for.
Your personal information (email address and phone number if you choose to share this) are entirely confidential, as are your conversations with me. The only written information kept about you will consist of any emails and/or text messages you send me. However, I am obliged to follow the guidelines below and will discuss with you the steps I might take if I think that you are at risk of seriously harming yourself or someone else.
1. Personally identifiable information about clients should normally be disclosed to others only with the valid informed consent of the person concerned (or their legal representatives) - and the boundaries and limits of confidentiality should be explained clearly before any service is provided.
2. Where a practitioner holds a sincere belief that a client poses a serious risk of harm to themselves or others, or where obliged by law, a practitioner may be required to disclose personally identifiable information without the client's consent. Before breaking confidentiality, however, practitioners should still seek to secure valid consent for disclosure from the person concerned and should consult with their supervisor or a senior colleague where this is not provided - except where the practitioner judges that any delay this might cause would present a significant risk to life or health, or place the practitioner in contravention of the law.
3. Information identifying clients must never be published (for example in an article or book), without their written agreement (or that of their legal representatives).
4. All reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that any records relating to clients are kept secure from unauthorised access and the requirements of the Data Protection Act should be complied with at all times.
FDAP Code of Practice: https://www.smmgp-fdap.org.uk/fdap-code-of-practice