Addiction: The Counselling and the Clients Conundrum
Addiction and Counselling is such a rock and a hard place subject. Whether it is alcohol, pornography, smoking, drugs the addiction is effectively a self-medication in the majority of cases against pain. So often it is effective until things go even more catastrophically wrong than the difficulties caused the underlying psychological condition.
In a Counselling or Psychotherapy context the aim of the Counsellor/therapist will be to try and establish the cause of the addiction: not the substance or the present circumstances or how hard it is to remove a pattern form a brain that is used to that pattern but to the underlying reason for the addict to have needed to resort to the substance or behaviour in the first place.
This is really hard. Therapeutically or Neurobiologically it is a really hard journey: asking and/or helping someone to give up a destructive but effective behaviour that may have helped cover up pain and at the same time looking at trying to exorcise the pain that may have caused the experience in the first place.
The Counsellor’s task is to help the client by supporting them psychologically through the therapeutic relationship while the client works through the life experiences that have left the client needing to find self destructive ways of coping, often k owing that they are self-destructive but unable to do anything to stop what has now become an addiction.
The Counsellor will talk through the clients life experience and walk with the client as they re-live and experience their suffering from earlier life that created the need, usually unconsciously, to medicate with the addictive pattern of behaviour. This is not at all easy and huge respect should be given to those who determine and stick to a programme that supports addicts and to the addicts attempting to reform. It is a long journey but one which can ultimately be so rewarding to a whole life journey.