Individual Therapy for Alcohol and Drugs

Addictions can ruin your life. Lost jobs, relationship break-ups, family and financial stress, homelessness, arrests, deterioration of physical health, and emotionally you feel like you’re on a never-ending roller coaster.

Let’s be real. You want to get your shit together but just don’t know how.

I get it. I’ve worked with seriously addicted individuals for years, most of whom, had all of the problems listed above. The first step is to come in for an assessment. The assessment is a two hour session that allows me to get to know you as a complete person.

Often clients are surprised that asking about what drugs they’ve used is the last set of questions we talk about. There’s a lot more to you then the drug(s). It’s from that framework that together we create a treatment plan tailored to your needs, your goals.

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If the assessment reveals that you would best be suited for a higher level of care, which in layman’s terms usually means residential treatment, I’ll refer you to an appropriate program and then resume working with you once that program is completed.

National data is clear: the longer an individual engages in treatment, the more successful the outcomes.

Short term residential stays are often exactly what is needed to halt the addiction process and begin healing. Long term success comes from continuing to work on your own issues in “the real world.”

I use a lot of mindfulness skills in therapy. What does that mean? One definition is “paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, without judgement, as if your life depended on it.” Without awareness of what you’re thinking and feeling in the present moment you are much more likely to REACT as if on autopilot. Someone pisses you off, and boom, you’re mind is thinking about using.

But a person who can hit the Pause Button, and put a few seconds between the trigger (a person, emotion, place, thing) can learn to RESPOND in a mindful manner. There’s freedom when there’s a choice.

 

Families and Addiction

Addiction is a family disease.

Addiction is a family disease. You know this. The person suffering with an addiction is not the only person suffering. Family members too feel as if they are on a never ending roller coaster.

It’s not uncommon to see significant emotional distress, and even physical distress, occur among family members.

Therapy for family members is an integral part of the healing process. In fact no reputable residential program would admit an individual without a commitment from family members to participate.

The same is true while the addicted person is receiving outpatient therapy. Sometimes it’s family members who seek out help first. I’ll help you navigate the balance between helping your loved one and your own well-being.

Guidelines for Positive Communication

Knowing what to say and how to say things makes all the difference between successful collaboration, guiding your loved one into treatment and maintaining sobriety vs. blaming, judging and shaming that only pushes your loved one deeper into the arms of addiction. Here are some basic guidelines (or watch in the video below).

  1. Be brief. Many say more than necessary when haven’t planned in advance. Think about your core request and rehearse it to be as concise as possible. Too many words or too long and your loved will tune out.

  2. Be positive. Word choice, tone and framing. Are you being critical and harsh or positive, inclusive and hopeful? Words matter. Choose words that will be heard and not put your loved one on the defensive.

  3. Refer to specific behaviors. Vague requests will be ignored or misunderstood and difficult to turn into concrete action. Make it something measurable. Something you can measure with a video camera, not “Stop lying.”

  4. Label your feelings. Share positive (gratitude) and negative feelings (worry, hurt) in a brief concise way to elicit empathy.

  5. Offer an understanding statement. Put yourself in your loved one shoes and try to actually understand what they were thinking and why. Doesn’t matter if you agree. You’re trying to foster communication. If your loved one hears understanding you will cut through the natural tendency to be defensive.

  6. Accept partial responsibility. Yeah this is tough. But even if it’s a small piece of responsibility is demonstrates a willingness to partner in finding a solution instead of always appearing to blame and judge.

  7. Offer to help. Phrase it as a question, nonjudgmentaly “How can I help?” Or “What would be helpful?” Is another way to foster collaboration

Perfecting these skills requires practice and feedback. Using them before you're ready can backfire. Together we can practice and rehearse these skills to help you guide your loved one into treatment and beyond.

The Airplane rule.

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A loved one with an addiction can wear you out! Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a requirement —regardless of how well your loved one is doing. Furthermore if you are approaching your loved one from a space of positive emotional health your impact will be significantly greater. Let’s talk about how your self-care impacts you and the entire family.

 

Coaching for Behavioral Addictions.

Coaching is available for individuals challenged by behavioral addictions (sex, food, gaming, Internet).

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1. Gaming and Internet Addiction: Mark is the only provider in Ohio listed for the treatment of adults on olganon.org, the international resource for gaming addiction. Outpatient services.

 
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2. Food Addiction: The opposite of being mindful, is rather simply, being "mindless." Nowhere does that happen more often than when we eat. Food is of course necessary to our survival and source of great social enjoyment.  But it is for many a source of great anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and premature death.  We read countless books on what to eat, but rarely get off autopilot long enough to contemplate why we eat.  

Learning to be aware of the emotional triggers for food, from a perspective of compassion and kindness, leads to a greater ability to control what and when you eat, and how much.   This is just one example of how incorporating mindfulness into your life can reduce emotional stress, and make you physically healthier.

 
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3. Sex Addiction: Mark developed and taught a course on sex addiction in 2003-4 at the University of Cincinnati, one of the first full credit undergraduate courses on sex addiction in the country.

 

Your commitment to better health.

Fees for therapy sessions are $110. My practice is private pay. There are several significant benefits for my clients who pay cash.  That means that those clients don’t have to fear their insurance company reading about their diagnosis, session notes and progress.  Treatment is never limited by arbitrary standards set by insurance companies (and each one different!)

For cash paying clients only myself and inviduals you specifically designate will have access to your most personal information.