Substance Use

A modern approach to substance use counselling

Substance use, particularly alcohol, is woven throughout our society. Whether it's raising a glass in celebration, cocaine at a party, oxycontin for chronic pain, or smoking a joint at bedtime, substance use is a part of many people’s lives.  Because of this, it can be difficult to gain perspective to tell when or if it has become a problem.  

Thanks to completing a Clinical Fellowship in Addictions with the BC Centre on Substance Use, I understand the modern landscape of addictions treatment including harm reduction, medication assisted therapies, and motivational interviewing.

Areas that I have special knowledge and interest in:

  • Early adulthood (18-30) and substance use

  • Women and alcohol 

  • Chemsex, Party 'n Play (PnP)

  • Cocaine & ketamine use among professionals

  • Opioids and Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT)

  • Behavioural Addictions (gambling, sex, shopping)

  • Relapse prevention

When does substance use become an addiction?

A simple way of understanding addiction is through the "4 Cs":

  • Craving

  • loss of Control of amount or frequency of use

  • Compulsion to use

  • use despite Consequences

 

The harms of substance use can range from mild (like feeling hungover or being late for work) to severe (like being evicted from your home or overdosing).

 

Common experiences of struggling with substance use often include:

  • feelings of anxiety, irritability or depression

  • problems with relationships

  • blackouts

  • injuries while under the influence

  • spending money on substances rather than on food, rent or other essentials

  • legal problems related to substance use

  • loss of hope, feelings of emptiness
     

What is harm reduction?


Decreasing the risks of substance use through certain practices helps save lives.  Individuals who are not ready, willing, or able to stop using substances can still be helped through harm reduction strategies, including:

  • learning safer ways to use substances

  • using clean needles and other supplies to reduce transmissions of infections

  • learning signs of an overdose and how to administer naloxone (a drug that can reverse the effects of opioids)

  • substituting a safer drug or medication - for example suboxone for heroin

 

How can counselling help?


If you feel that substance use is causing problems in your life and that you are having a difficult time controlling your use, counselling is a great first step. 

 

Through counselling you will:

  • increase your awareness of how substance use is affecting your life

  • evaluate what the substance is adding and subtracting from your life

  • help you examine your thoughts and emotions and connect them to substance use patterns

  • identify and manage cravings

  • gain clarity on what you want out of life

 

I provide a non-judgemental, confidential space to discuss your substance use, evaluate it's impact on your life, and explore your choices.

As your counsellor, I don't impose my goals on you: abstinence isn't the goal unless it's your goal.  

I deliver counselling online using a secure video link, which allows you receive counselling wherever you are most comfortable.

Click below to reach out and make an appointment.