People who struggle with addictions often experience a significant degree of denial of the extent of their problem before asking for help. This may be because some have grown up in families or communities where the misuse of substances was normal, or for others, admitting having a drink or drug problem carries a significant amount of shame. The first step is often, therefore, acknowledging that there is a problem and coming forward to ask for professional help.
It is difficult to engage fully with psychoanalytic psychotherapy whilst actively misusing substances. However, following a period of abstinence it can be helpful to engage with this treatment approach as a means of providing some understanding of the past issues that have contributed to addictive behaviours.This can itself reduce the risk of relapse. Many patients ascribe to 12-step programmes, which can be very helpful in maintaining abstinence. Psychotherapy can complement, rather than conflict with this. I am happy to talk through whether psychotherapy would be an appropriate intervention for you, whatever stage of recovery you find yourself at.
Physical intimacy is an important part of our lives, and can be an important part of a loving relationship, deepening and maintaining a sense of closeness. However, for some individuals, the use of one’s own and others’ bodies can become compulsive, and used in a way that can prevent intimacy. This may take the form of excessive use of pornography, promiscuity or an addiction to paying for sex.
Psychotherapy can help individuals to identify and work on the underlying issues that predispose them to these difficulties and enable a movement towards loving relationships. Seeking help for these difficulties can be difficult due to the shame that usually accompanies this type of problem. Talking things through with a trained professional can therefore be an important first step towards getting help.