Substance Use

Are you finding your use of substances is a helping you cope with painful thoughts, emotions, memories or sensations? Perhaps your use of substances helps you with your performance at work, socially or it helps you unwind from the stressors on the job or with juggling family and relationship demands. Maybe someone close to you has raised concerns your substance use is impacting their relationship with you.

Many people I see are in a place where they’re tired of the struggle of coping with withdrawals and cravings and feeling like their use gets in the way of being the person they want to be and having a full and meaningful life.

I have 15 years of experience helping people look at their relationship with substances and assess if they are helping or getting in the way of the type of person they want to be deep down.

 I also work with family members, partners and children of someone with a substance use issue who are trying to find a way to stay connected, feel empowered and resourced to support their loved one while taking care of themselves. The impacts of the opioid crisis has a left a wake of grief and pain of the sheer loss of life in our community and I am here if you need support to process this grief support you through your grief process.

Does this relate to your experience or a loved one’s?

Negative Consequences: Do you continue to use these behaviours despite negative consequences for  school, work, family, leisure? Do you find you’re using these strategies as a way to avoid painful emotions, thoughts or consequences?

Loss of Control: Do you find your mind is often reaching for these behaviours even when you are trying not to? Are you using these strategies as a way to cope with withdrawl effects of trying to stop or cut down?

It’s getting Chronic: This behaviour has a chronic pattern over time or perhaps is chronic binge use over time. Do you need more of the behaviour to get the desired effects?

People who come to see me have identified they have a problem and need help in how they want to make change.

My clients start to recognize that these behaviours are often symptoms of deeper issues that need attention and care in a supported and trusted environment.

What is my approach?

I work from a trauma informed, harm reduction based approach that includes abstinence. I work from what’s called the ‘bio-psycho-social’ model of substance use. We look at  the whole picture of this problem in your life by taking a careful assessment of how this problem developed and what are things that get you hooked to this behaviour when difficult thoughts, feelings or sensations arise.  We also look at how you’ve tried to solve or change this problem over time, and what makes it worse.

We will address the underlying issues that drive the behaviour, substance abuse is just the tip of the iceberg and we will work to address what is driving it.

I use trauma informed, evidence based best practices that are tailored to your specific concerns including the trans-theoretical model of change and motivational interviewing approach, acceptance and commitment therapy approaches to name a few. The key piece is building a trusting relationship where you feel unconditionally accepted so we can support you to do the courageous and vulnerable work of living your life according to your values.

I have worked in the substance use and mental health field for 15 years and can refer you or your loved ones to other services along the continuum of care and the public health system including getting support from your doctor, dietician or complementary practices such as Acupuncture and exercise, nutrition, peer support groups, day treatment, residential programs and detox services as required.

 Is Change Possible?

 I believe that change is possible and all people can change even in small ways when they are motivated by connecting to their values and what is meaningful to them. Our work together is to help you get in touch with what motivates you.

The pain of shame and guilt around the addiction start to resolve when you engage in this work. You will build skills to adapt to the challenges of life and at the same time build skill to be present to experience positive emotions and sensations like joy, peace and connection.

Change is not linear. Relapse into the old behaviours is a normal and natural part of change. We will plan for this and prepare you so that you may learn, grow and expand from the relapse. This is the upward spiral of change.