The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety, It's Connection.
Whole Hearted Counseling provides a safe and empowering environment for individuals struggling with addiction to substances, or other compulsive behaviors, to navigate challenges, identify solutions, and create lasting change.
Historically, addiction has been viewed through a medical lens, pathologized as a disease derived from altered brain functioning or genetics. While the body and brain are most certainly impacted by overuse of substances or other compulsive behaviors, this traditional view has left those struggling feeling isolated, unworthy, and fragmented.
The therapeutic framework Whole Hearted Counseling utilizes, Internal Family Systems (IFS) sees addiction differently. It applies a systemic view of the mind through which all behaviors can be understood. IFS recognizes that extreme behaviors, including addiction, are fueled by psychological distress caused by trauma, attachment wounds, and aversive experiences. With the additional understanding that various parts of our personality interact in ways which are both helpful and harmful, yet always intending to protect us.
Like most addiction therapy, IFS is process-oriented and may be coupled with either harm reduction, or 12 step approaches like Alcoholics Anonymous. Unlike the traditional medical model for recovery, IFS upholds the notion that addiction is a response to buried pain, whether from childhood or from current experiences, such as the pandemic.
The IFS lens is thus non-pathologizing and innately trauma-informed, which means instead of asking “what is wrong with you?”, it begs the question, “what happened to you to cause this?”. In IFS therapy, you will be supported in understanding how your addiction and protective system, the parts you have acquired to keep you feeling emotionally safe, developed and continue to function. For many people struggling with addiction, these can be identified as The Addict and Inner Critic. The Addict is the part of you that just wants the pain to go away. It wants to use its substance or compulsive behavior, it has no regard for consequence, and it’s very difficult to resist. The Inner Critic is the part of you that is shaming, self-blaming and holds you in contempt for thinking about, planning, or using substances or compulsive behaviors. It is also largely a trigger for use and relapse.
A significant portion of the healing process is learning to trust your Inner Self, your authentically wise and loving core. In doing so, you will discover that you have the intrinsic tools to relieve the suffering and past pain that addiction pacifying.
The goal of IFS therapy is to witness your survival, appreciate your many protective parts, and release painful energy so that you can have a deeper sense of self, stronger relationships, and choose to make life-style changes which support lasting recovery.
Whole Hearted Counseling offers therapy and support through the addiction and recovery process. Whether you're questioning if you have an addiction or seeking recovery, I believe that counseling can be a beneficial source of building awareness, support, and a set of tools to help you navigate your journey. My personal and professional experience with addiction, compulsive behavior, and recovery allows me to offer a unique perspective and inspires trust and mutual understanding for clients navigating the recovery process.
I approach addiction and recovery counseling with the belief that "addiction," "recovery," and "sobriety" are client-defined, and that every individual’s story is vastly different, yet broadly the same. This approach allows me to support you in exploring and creating the recovery path that best suits and empowers you to lasting lifestyle change. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem, the next is seeking help. Both of these actions require immense strength, self-awareness, and courage. I honor your decision to take this journey and want you to know that you are worthy and capable of recovery. I look forward to helping you navigate the path with your whole heart.
MSW, LCSW, CAADC, CMC-1