(To Engage Each Person Meaningfully)
Both trauma and addiction individually can be devastating to a person, and ultimately to a family. In the vast majority of cases they co-exist, with trauma most often preceding involvement in a specific addiction like taking pills, drinking alcohol, or smoking marijuana. Millions of people do these occasionally, recreationally, socially, except for opiate medications when they are prescribed for healing from a physical injury or surgery, and then the patient is eager to stop taking them because of stomach nausea and constipation. The substance of these addictions requires the ingestion of a mood altering chemical/drug.
The other class of addiction that is often not recognized, from being considered common activities of daily living, is called Process Addictions: shopping, eating, gaming, gambling, watching porn, sex/relationship, watching TV, or spending inordinate time on a hobby. Notice how none of the above listed substances, or activities, assure that a person will become addicted when being involved, and this means that no mood-altering substance or process activity has the power to addict a person;rather the truth, now substantiated by research, is that people addict themselves to taking these drugs, to engaging in such activities. This is done by one becoming a compulsive user, because the addiction is not to the substance or activity itself, but to the experience they bring to the individual, namely: Emotional Pain Relief.
We of Trauma and Addiction Services approach therapeutic assessment and treatment with total commitment to the individual who seeks relief from a trauma, a life of trauma, an addiction, or an addiction that has developed to help the person cope with the trauma. Trauma can result from a direct affliction on a person, from the loss of a loved one, of from a life beginning in early childhood whose basic tangible needs are met with food, clothing, and shelter, but never experiencing emotional closeness, or that he/she was ever important to the primary care takers.
Regardless of the nature of your trauma common results are for you to feel shame and often blame the yourself, and once the trauma occurs without immediate help, you will cease having have two core needs fulfilled, Safety and Connection.Resulting shame from the incidence or on-going experience of trauma, coupled with repressed painful feelings, force you, the victim, into hiding and living a life of never fully trusting anyone.
Our approach is that when you call for an appointment your call will be returned with 1-2 hours, and an appointment will be scheduled immediately if necessary. Depending on the severity of your emotional condition a treatment approach will be negotiated with you including times of appointments, scheduled times for a structured assessment that often includes psychological testing – an immediate response to your needs as you convey them to us. Part of this response may include a physician referral for medication, or for detox to avoid harmful effects when choosing to no longer take a mood- altering substance.
Extensive treatment will often include options like involvement of certain family members and participation in group therapy; but please know that all options offered to you will ultimately be chosen, or not, by you, not by your therapist.
As you consider our services we ask you to trust that all painful experiences are worth seeking help for their relief, and that your confidentiality will always be honored, without exception, unless your life or that of another person is being threatened. We respond to each person as having constant value and worth, equal to all others.
Charles Gerlach, Ph.D.
Psychologist # 3978