Addictive behaviours are a tendency to repetitively use something without thought - this may be a substance - alcohol or drugs, a state of being, or an experience or a relationship - it can take the form of gambling, pornography, shopping, use of the internet, social media etc.

Addictions can be understood as an attempt to get rid of overwhelming and unbearable emotional states of feeling in order to produce an immediate relief or a distraction from the unbearable pain and feeling. In doing this, a cycle is set up which allows the individual to retreat from real life, real relationships and offers the illusion of complete control over these feelings.


Psychodynamic counselling or psychotherapy

Coming into psychodynamic therapy can allow the individual to have some space to ‘think’ about the unbearable and confusing feelings which are being suppressed by the destructive addictive behaviour - the behaviours which have become a defence or a protection against the pain.

The therapy will provide a containing, responsive and consistent environment where deep and overwhelming anxieties can be held and understood and not distracted from. The emphasis is less on the symptoms or manifestations of the addictive behaviour and more on the whole person and the feelings which are considered unbearable and unmanageable that the individual is protecting themselves from.


Cognitive behavioural therapy cbt for addictive behaviours

Cognitive behavioural therapy looks primarily at behaviour. The theory is to change a person’s behaviour, you must first change their thoughts. By taking the time to gain insight into your beliefs, you can increase your health and wellbeing simply by changing the way that you think and respond to situations.

A CBT therapist will work closely with you to identify negative thought patterns and negative beliefs that are likely to be contributing to your substance or behavioural addiction. By examining negative aspects of your thinking, your therapist will be able to identify specific areas to focus on in treatment.

Once you have identified the specific set of destructive thought patterns that have allowed the cycle of addiction to develop and continue in your life, the therapist will be able to teach you how to replace those dysfunctional beliefs with more positive ones. Sometimes, these negative beliefs stem from the earliest days of childhood, and are therefore very ingrained into your consciousness. For some, these thought patterns stem from coping skills that are no longer functional or healthy in adult life. By acknowledging these mistaken beliefs, you will be empowered to change your thinking in the present, leave destructive behavioural patterns in the past, and take steps towards a full and lasting recovery from your addiction.