Whether you’re dealing with substance abuse, compulsive gambling, or any compulsion or addiction that you’re unable to control, one of the best treatments is participation in a 12-step program. 

There’s one reason why 12-step programs are considered the gold standard for treating alcohol abuse or other addictions: They work.

You may wonder how you can incorporate a 12-step program into your personal psychotherapy process. Actually, the two naturally go together quite well.

Dr. Judy E. Vansiea, DNP, MA, MS, APRN, NPP, of Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services in Uniondale, New York, explains more about how implementing a 12-step program can be a part of your personal psychotherapy.

Find meaning in your life

One of the core principles behind 12-step programs is finding a sense of meaning in your life. For most people, this involves strengthening their faith. This is typically a religious faith, although some people feel more comfortable thinking of it as their “higher power.”

When you strengthen your faith, you learn there is a purpose to your life. You also learn to forgive yourself, which frees you from the shame and judgment you may feel as a result of your addiction. There’s a reason you’re here, and Dr. Vansiea can help you discover your purpose.

Work through your past trauma

Many people who have addictions also have major trauma in their past. Maybe your home life in childhood was abusive or neglectful, or maybe you witnessed things no one should ever have to see. You have to address these issues before you can move on from them.

The safest place to work through your past trauma is with a trained counselor. Most aspects of 12-step programs are self-directed, but you can’t work through trauma alone. 

Twelve-step programs look at your role in your behavior, which can be painful if you’ve experienced trauma. You need a compassionate and caring counselor like Dr. Vansiea to guide you through the process.

Look into your behaviors

One of the most challenging things that comes up as you work through a 12-step program is discovering why you engage in certain behaviors. You may react to stressful situations in a certain way or have particular patterns of relating to other people. Many of these habits need to change to help you live a healthier, happier life.

But this is also an aspect that a counselor can help with, something you don’t want to try to fix on your own. A trained therapist can help you to notice these patterns and come up with healthier alternative behaviors and relationship skills.

Address your mental health

Mental health issues and addiction often go hand in hand. At least half of addictions also involve mental health issues. In many communities, the importance of mental health just isn’t discussed. If you have mental health issues like depression or anxiety, you’ll need to get treatment for them as you work through a 12-step program.

Learn coping skills

One of the most important aspects of beating an addiction is to develop healthier coping skills. It’s almost certain that you’ll be in a situation again that makes you want to use the substance or return to the activity that you’re trying to quit. 

Counseling can help you learn healthier coping skills when these situations come up, so you don’t give in to using again.

Whether you’re already in recovery or know that you need to be, Dr. Vansiea can help. Call Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services today or request an appointment online.

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