Trauma and addiction
Trauma forms the meat and bones of much of my work at Explore Transform LLC, and so, if we view addiction as an attempt to escape suffering, addiction is bound to show itself in my work as a psychotherapist in New Jersey. And who can forget that drug overdoses kill 81.000 Americans each year.
Gabor Maté explains that “so much of what we call abnormality in this culture is actually normal responses to an abnormal culture. The abnormality does not reside in the pathology of individuals, but in the very culture that drives people into suffering and dysfunction.” To address addiction, we need to address the suffering that is being endured. That includes helping someone heal from trauma, helping them learn more helpful ways to regulate their emotions.
As a psychotherapist who uses Polyvagal Theory, this includes learning to notice and name different states (whether that is the shut-down of the dorsal vagal state, the fight-or-flight of the sympathetic nervous system, or the safe, calm and connected state of the ventral vagal state).
I am based in New Jersey, so I mainly see clients here, but since the pandemic, I have also been helping clients who are based in my home country of the United Kingdom (London, in particular). When I lived there, I loved working alongside Jamie Willis, who is an experienced counselor in London. Jamie does some great work with people who are struggling with addiciton.
In this short video, we discuss our work, and he reminded me of Rumi's words of wisdom: "There is a voice that does not use words'" but instead it manifests. One of the ways it manifests is in addiction. To address addiction, to address any sort of unhelpful behavior or emotions, we need to tackle the source of distress. In the case of my work, we need to work on the trauma, and in the words of Rumi, "the wound is the place where the light enters you."
If you would like to explore this further, get in touch.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Explore Transform LLC
Counseling and Psychotherapy in Bergen County, New Jersey
+1 (201) 779-6917
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