Substance Misuse: Self-Medicating for Underlying Issues

How the medicine of movement can connect us to our pain.

In my 20 plus years as a counsellor, (many of which involved working in the field of addictions counsellors and mental health) it continues to pain me to see so many people medicating themselves with substances, unhealthy sexual activity, gambling (sorry the euphemism of gaming just isn’t appropriate), shopping or any other number of compulsive behaviors that provide temporary relief from inner wounds.

Often times, these medicating behaviors are used to ineffectively deal with underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loneliness. The root causes of these life challenges are many, complex and still not completely understood. Genetic predisposition, traumatic childhood and or neglect, unresolved grief and loss, modern fear-based “culture”, environmental deterioration, lack of social/intimate relationships and support, economic stress, personality and many other factors contribute to these ills of living.

Self-medication may at times give temporary relief and/or a distraction from problems but often this exacerbates the severity of the issue wherein cravings, compulsions and withdrawal return with more intensity . . . and the cycle continues until the pain is so intense and the relief from self-medicating is no longer occurring. Then what?

This is when many people reach a “choice-point” in their life.They recognize they can no longer go back to old and ineffective ways of allaying their pain and turn to find a new way.As a 5Rhythms Movement Psychotherapist / Counsellor I have seen the changes people have made when they connect to their pain in a safe, contained, paced and resourced manner as a way to move through it.Movement Psychotherapy helps people reconnect and integrate the many parts of their “self”.Body sensation, feelings, psychological awareness, social relatedness and ultimately “spirit” are integrated to make one whole again.

At one time or another we have all had holes in our heart that have limited our ability to be in relationships, to love or be loved, to find a fulfilling career, to create abundance, to fulfill dreams and destiny. The way through our pain is to touch it from our places of strength that can be accessed in a deeply felt way. Movement psychotherapy and counsellors help us create new patterns of movement within so we can bring forth these new patterns into all realms of our lives.

Be well and keep moving!

Jim Kragtwyk

Registered Clinical Counsellor

Internationally Certified Addiction Counselor

Victoria BC Counsellors

Category : Counselling &Movement Psychotherapy Posted on June 13, 2009

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