The first step in any treatment for addiction is recognizing that there are negative effects that directly result from the use of substances.
Medical science recognizes that heavy use actually rewires brain circuitry, creating deficits in our cognitive and emotional brain centers.
That means those struggling with addiction find recovering from stress and trauma much harder and therefore are more prone to relapsing.
Addiction is a biological phenomenon. We can see through MRIs and other brain diagnostic technology that the brain of an addict is different than a non-addicted brain.
Addiction is a psychological phenomenon in that there is an organization of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are common to all those who use substances to cope.
It is a social phenomenon in that it takes place in the culture and in the family and affects more than just the user.
The most effective treatment addresses all three of these areas. I also bring my understanding of trauma to treatment. It has been estimated that 30-50% of those entering treatment for addiction have suffered trauma. Trauma and addiction needs to be handled at the same time since trauma symptoms are huge triggers for using.
There are many ways therapy can help address addictions:
Identifying triggers to use and desensitizing you to them
Improving tolerance for negative emotions
Developing alternative ways of self-soothing
Developing authentic self-worth
Addressing internal conflicts, family dysfunction, etc.
Please see my page for trauma and PTSD to get more information of how trauma therapy can help you get and stay sober.