Archive for the 'Alcohol and other Drug Abuse' Category

Nov 20 2011

Damage of Secrets: Research Shows Secrets Clang (my word) Around Inside Our Brains

How do you spell relief? D-I-S-C-L-O-S-U-R-E

Therapists and clients alike understand the relief provided by the disclosure of sad, angry, fearful memories. Therapy is a place where people should feel safe enough to disclose anything they choose, significant or insignificant.

In dysfunctional families or organizations, people are often exposed to behavior which shocks
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Nov 19 2011

Yes, Rage And Fear Are Automatic Responses Triggered By The Sympathetic Nervous System

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for triggering the “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction in human beings.

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Jan 05 2011

Use of Cognitive Restructuring for Evaluating Alcohol Use

If you are reading my blog or know me, you realize I like to use the cognitive restructuring exercise a lot. It is a great tool to help clients evaluate their own thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behavior.

It works great in evaluating alcohol problems. Here is how it works…

A- Activating Event: you or someone you know worries about your drinking…this may cause an internal or inter-personal conflict.
B-Automatic Beliefs: so, when you or someone worries about your drinking, you have automatic beliefs that may or may not be rational.

If they are irrational,then they will cause you to continue to behave in the same way over and over.

Your wife may complain about your drinking, especially when you drink and pass out on the couch. When she complains, you may have the following automatic thoughts:

  • I do not have a drinking problem
  • I do not drink any more than any of my friends
  • I don’t drink and drive
  • You (the wife) are hypersensitive about my drinking
  • I am really sick of hearing you (the wife) complaining

As you can see, these automatic thoughts are quite negative and usually lead to one of two options:

  • flight (avoidance, disconnection, running away, discounting, running away from the problem)
  • or fight (yelling back, blaming the (wife) for false judgments, arguing, denial, tons and tons of unresolved fights)

C-Consequence: The consequence is the flight or fight described above…all in all, not a good outcome.
Many people who are confronted about their drinking feel defensive and angry. This often leads to fighting or running away from confronting whether or not there is a problem with their drinking.
D-Debate (with yourself): this is the best strategy. Challenge your automatic beliefs and any defensiveness, anger or other strong feelings you experience.

To make any progress here, you MUST start to be realistic and rationale about the role of drinking in your life.

Go back and do the 3 Step evaluation process…be scientific about this…

Maybe your (wife) is right about this…there are many ways to look at the use of alcohol that may be a source of good information about yourself.

Just because all of your friends will drink 5-8 drinks when out may mean your friends drink too much, not that you are all normal drinkers.
When embrace someone’s concerns for you and really look at the way you drink more objectively, you and your partner are entering into an intimate and helpful problem-solving process.

So,here are some of the key questions you can use to debate and challenge yourself:

  • What is the role alcohol plays in your life?
  • Why do you drink?
  • Are you able to stop drinking easily or does one lead to more?
  • What would you miss if you stopped drinking?
  • How would your life change if you stopped drinking?

E-Effective Plan: Answer these questions as best you can, and then develop an action plan with more effective coping behaviors to address this issue.
For example, if your drinking is not a problem, you will have plenty of evidence to argue your case.
If you need to reduce or cut back, you can work on a strategy to do this.
Maybe you need to stop completely…again, you can develop a plan that fits you.

Approach this scientifically, using research based methods. It will help.

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Oct 07 2010

Concerned About Your Alcohol Use? Consider Following the Guidelines of Moderation Management

I recommend this book for anyone concerned about their alcohol use. You can buy it here.

If you would like some information about moderating your alcohol use, you will find this website very helpful too. Click here.

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Jan 26 2010

What is the Mankind Project (MKP) and the Victories of the Heart (VOH)?

To the critical eye, there are many similarities and differences between these two men’s programs in purpose, organizational structure and culture, programs, size,  use of secrecy, nudity, forced silence, recruitment of psychotherapy clients as weekend participants, general recruitment, leadership, and impact of programs.

In some ways, comparing these two programs is like comparing New York City and a small neighborhood in western Montana.

MKP’s New Warrior Training Adventure has men’s centers around the world offering experiences to men of all walks of life. VOH offers programs only in Chicago and mostly to white middle-upper middle class men from the affluent North Shore.

MKP has dwarfed VOH in developing successful men’s programming and has an international impact. VOH may have had the same dreams, but they have not been realized, and likely, never will.

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May 23 2009

Online Screening Test for Alcohol Problems

Click here.

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May 16 2009

Abuse and Neglect: The Two Big Issues for Family of Origin Work

When I do an initial assessment, I ask many questions about family history. Although it is always an ongoing process, after a few sessions, I will usually understand how long parents were married, any divorces or major illnesses, parenting styles, length and quality of clients relationships, educational and career history, and importantly any experience of abuse and/or neglect. Why is this important?

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Oct 24 2008

Use of Cognitive Restructuring for the self-evaluation of alcohol problems

If you are reading my blog or know me, you realize I like to use the cognitive restructuring exercise a lot. It is a great tool to help clients evaluate their own thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behavior.

It works great in evaluating alcohol problems. Here is how it works…

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Oct 24 2008

3-Steps to evaluate whether you might be a problem substance user

A common presenting problem in therapy is whether someone drinks too much or not. It’s pretty easy for professionals to evaluate this during an interview; it can take much longer, maybe years and years, before someone is able to face this challenging problem themselves.

I’m including marijuana as it’s the most common substance used along with alcohol among the clients I work with. Please keep marijuana use in mind as you complete the other evaluation steps. Most people are in the misuse/abuse category, so please understand this evaluation is a way to explore the ways using alcohol, pot and other substances may be a problem.

If you have some concerns, here are some tools for you to use to begin the evaluation process…
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Oct 23 2008

Normandy, Missouri HIV threat for high school students; the real world of adolescent risk behavior

The breaking news story in Normandy, Missouri suggests that 50 high school students may have been exposed to HIV. How can this happen?

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