At the onset of the addictive process, using substances or other compulsive behaviors is a way to self-medicate (and self-regulate). There is the attempt to alter, escape from or deny uncomfortable experiences or emotions. Most addictions originate from a lack of affect regulation--an inability to tolerate and process the whole range of human feeling states as they arise.
I treat addictions by helping you build new alternative resources. By utilizing these new resources, your reliance on the addiction or addictive behaviors eventually becomes unnecessary. Resources may be anything from doing simple "grounding" or "centering" exercises, developing a spiritual practice, or using pleasurable or confidence-building memories. Utilizing resources helps you regain a sense of being able to process and manage whatever difficulties occur.
Resources can also be used to bring down the high activation level that most addicts live with on a daily basis. High activation simply refers to a high degree of charge in the nervous system due to an incomplete or disorganized flight or fight response from some kind of trauma. You may experience this on either end of the continuum--as feeling emotionally overwhelmed, anxious, hypervigilant or lonely/isolated, numb or depressed.
In addition, addictions often develop as a reaction to some sort of trauma (which, in turn, causes poor affect regulation). As we develop these resources, they become more accessible and integrated. As the addiction becomes more manageable, we can use the resources to process and resolve your trauma. As the trauma is resolved and integrated, then your level of activation is decreased. Consequently, affect regulation is improved, and this lessens or eradicates your need for "self medication" through addictive behaviors.
For further information on trauma resolution and use of resources please see the article called "Resources and Trauma Healing" on this site.