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What is is addiction counselling?

What is an addiction?

Though often misinterpreted as simple bad habits or poor lifestyle choices, addiction can be devastating. Those affected by any kind of addiction will instinctively feel alone, isolated and frustrated – like they are the only person in the world that understands what they’re going through.

While there’s a very fine line between an everyday bad habit and an addiction, it’s a line that’s well-defined and possible to pinpoint. Quite simply, it all comes down to control – or indeed the lack thereof – when it comes to doing something, anything that’s taking its toll on your life, your health, your relationships or the things that matter to you.

There’s a huge difference between doing something on a regular basis that you know you could quit at any time and something you couldn’t walk away from if you tried. Sadly, those on the latter side of the fence often wrongly believe they’re fully in control of what they’re doing, not realising the damage they’re causing.

Underlying principles of addiction counselling

Addiction counselling often makes use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) combines two different schools of thought on psychological change. One are the behaviourists led by Richard Skinner who asserted that human behaviour was in response to a stimulus. The other influence are the cognitive theorists who asserted that it was possible to change behaviour by thoughts alone. Cognitive Behavioural Therapists integrate both theories. They assist the individual to overcome unhelpful behaviours by changing restrictive and illogical thought patterns that may have been present since childhood. They also look at how our actions influence our thoughts.

CBT is particularly effective in treating addiction as it looks at the triggers for addictive behaviours and equips you with skills to address these. A CBT therapist will also help you to look at the underlying factors contributing to your addiction in order to increase your chances of maintaining the changes you make regarding your problematic behaviours.

Acceptance and  Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another type of therapy that is helpful with addiction. It is essentially a cognitive and behavioural therapy however it also considers the emotional patterns which are common to addiction and aims to change these.

Evidence for efficacy of addiction counselling

Evidence from numerous large -scale trials and quantitative reviews supports the efficacy of CBT for addiction.

Counselling can address addictions to

  • drugs
  • gambling
  • sex
  • alcohol
  • Internet
  • smoking
  • solvent abuse
  • food

 Addiction counselling is suited to

  • Individuals experiencing addiction
  • Individuals who fear that a particular behaviour is starting to get out of control
  • Spouses and family members living with addicts


Treatment scales

This varies depending on the individual. A programme of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy takes anything from six to twenty sessions with each session lasting for one hour. Often group therapy might be recommended to reinforce and maintain the positive changes made in one-to-one therapy.

Psymplicity Healthcare Addiction Counsellors

Our experienced addiction counsellors know how daunting it can be to commit to making changes. They appreciate that for some of you, addiction has become a way of life and the thought of changing this feels incredibly scary. Repeatedly trying and failing can also leave us feeling shameful, inadequate and scared of trying again. Our addiction counsellors understand where you are coming from as a result of many years working successfully with addiction. They combine understanding, patience and compassion as they lead you through the well-proven, evidence-based steps to freeing yourself of addictive behaviours. Why not get in touch now on 0207 118 0407  so you can take the first steps towards feeling more in control.


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