Counselling Services


Green Door Counselling is designed to meet the needs of those who are struggling with addictions whether it be chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol, gambling addictions, sexual addictions or addictions to technology. Although treating addiction is the core of my practice, I also work with adults of all ages who are struggling with personal and relationship issues.

  A door closes. Something ends. A door opens. Something new begins. 

CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY

It’s no longer a secret that ordinary people and even extraordinary people (cinema stars, sports heroes, politicians) can get in trouble with alcohol and drugs. the reasons for this, although not exactly a secret , continue to spark debate in the treatment community. Is chemical dependency an illness or is it the outcome of complex biological, psychological, and social forces ? At West Coast Alternatives, where I worked as a chemical addictions counselor for 22 years we favored the bio-psycho-social point of view. Sometimes that meant encouraging abstinence, sometimes, greater self management. But always it meant helping people regain mastery of their lives and reducing the harm inflicted on self and others by chemical use. Learn about options for drugs and alcohol treatment >> 

There is no going back or around these ‘concerns and worries’, of course.
The solution is going through them; opening the door and crossing the threshold into a
deeper, richer relationship with ourselves and the world around us.

And Green Door Counselling is here to help you.

Contact us today


GAMBLING ADDICTION
We all like to win! Many of us also enjoy the excitement and ‘ aliveness’ that fills us when we chase life in that direction. Unfortunately, the shadow side of winning is losing and losing can have enormous consequences. But then we win again ! The intermittent reward of winning keeps the dance going in-spite of accumulating loses. If we suffer from poor impulse control we are even more likely to push on regardless of the damage to ourselves and the ones we love. Sometimes it takes a lot of pain before the proverbial penny drops and we realize that the ‘ house’, the ‘game ‘, the ‘racket’ is in charge. We are not.  Learn about treatment options for gambling addictions >>

 

There is no going back or around these ‘concerns and worries’, of course.
The solution is going through them; opening the door and crossing the threshold into a
deeper, richer relationship with ourselves and the world around us.

And Green Door Counselling is here to help you.

Contact us today

 


SEXUAL ADDICTION
At its core, sexual addiction is about the hunger for intimacy. Unfortunately, when healthy sexual intimacy is not achieved, substitute sexual activity, driven by primal forces can sometimes give rise to compulsive behaviours with potentially damaging consequences. Compulsive masturbation, use of pornography, phone and computer sex services, can sometimes escalate into illegal activities such as exhibitionism. obscene phone calls , and sexual abuse of others. Like any other addiction, the challenge is to get help before seriously damaging consequences are experienced.
Learn about treatment options for sexual addictions >>

 

There is no going back or around these ‘concerns and worries’, of course.
The solution is going through them; opening the door and crossing the threshold into a
deeper, richer relationship with ourselves and the world around us.

And Green Door Counselling is here to help you.

Contact us today


TECHNOLOGICAL ADDICTION
Most of us are too young to remember the 50’s and the almost universal presence of tobacco during that era. We don’t remember or never witnessed the alarm on daddy’s face when he got in the car and discovered an empty shirt pocket where his cigarettes should have been. Now replace the word ‘ cigarettes ‘ with ‘ cell phone ‘. Notice the alarm, regret ,frustration you might feel when you realize you’ve forgotten to take your smart phone. Just like a smoker in the 50’s, every time you turn around you are painfully reminded that others have ‘theirs’ but you don’t have ‘yours’. Practical inconvenience aside, the measure of your discomfort is quite possibly the measure of the strength of your dependence on that piece of technology, a measure of the extent to which it has insinuated itself into your everyday life — business, pleasure, relationships, sense of purpose, connection, belonging. Who are you without it ? What are the consequences of your possibly excessive, even obsessive use of this technology ?  Learn about treatment options for technology addictions >>

There is no going back when we are stuck with ‘concerns and worries’.
The solution is going through them; opening the door and crossing the threshold into a
deeper, richer relationship with ourselves and the world around us.

And Green Door Counselling is here to help you.

Call today to see if counselling is for you!

The first step to your new future:
A Free 20 minute call to see if Green Door Counselling is for you!

 

WHAT IS ADDICTION?

Addiction can look like many different things: substance abuse, gambling, sex, shopping, fitness, food and now, the new kid on the block ICT (information and communication technologies).

The label ADDICTION can be attached to any compulsive, repetitive, habitual behaviour that produces significant negative consequences in our lives. It is associated with loss of control, and an erosion of healthy functioning. It ‘steals ‘ time and energy from family, friends, work and a host of other positive activities which generate connection and happiness. It may be a surprise to many to learn that something as ‘innocent’ as playing on line games with friends can morph into an addiction but given enough time dedicated to this pursuit and a certain personal vulnerability and its grip on the psyche can tighten alarmingly. The use of technology can also put us at increased risk of developing sexual addiction,particularly where pornography is concerned,as easy access can strongly reinforce engagement and repetition.

HOW CAN I STOP MY ADDICTION?

Addictions are complex, both in terms of the factors that play a role in generating and maintaining the addiction cycle, and the underlying, unresolved life issues that make us vulnerable to developing addictions in the first place. During my 22 years as a substance abuse clinician at West Coast Alternatives in North Vancouver it was revealed to myself and my colleagues, again and again that emotional pain was the primary source of addictive behavior. Personal stress, relationship troubles, a history of childhood abuse and neglect, loss of significant people, and many other forms of upset were producing in our clients the desire to diminish or eliminate associated discomfort through addiction forming activities.

WHAT HAPPENS IN ADDICTIONS TREATMENT?

The first step in treating an addiction is acknowledging that we have one. To determine this it is useful to examine the consequences of the troubling behaviour in question. The following are examples of typical consequences.

  •  Tolerance: need for increased use over time.
  •  Withdrawal: physical or emotional discomfort when going an unusual length of time without using or when use is disrupted.
  •  Greater use than intended when beginning an episode.
  •  Desire to stop the pattern of use without being able to do so.
  •  Spending too much time in activities related to use.
  •  Stopping other activities in order to increase use.
  •  Continued use despite an awareness that use is causing damage.

The next step is acknowledging the tactics we use to avoid identifying the full extent of the problem: denial, minimizing, avoidance, rationalizing, projecting blame unto others. Once we have stripped away these ‘ blocking ‘ devices ‘ we are ready to proceed to the next layer. FEELINGS. Guilt, shame, hopelessness, anxiety, and a sense of loss are typical of the emotions generated by addictive behaviour. Since motivation is composed of two parts, PAIN and HOPE, we need to allow ourselves to feel the emotional pain generated by the behaviour in order to generate the desire to STOP the pain. Most of us are quickly motivated to hop off the stove when the burner we are sitting on gets turned on ! When our desire to stop the pain is strong enough we’re ready to move into the ACTION phase of addiction treatment.

The action phase of addiction treatment is composed of three general areas.

  1. Elimination of day to day abuse through ‘trigger’ identification and relapse prevention strategies designed to neutralize triggers and shift behaviour in the direction of health.
  2. Engaging support resources such as counselling, friends and family ( where appropriate ) , support groups, detox, residential treatment.
  3. Identifying and addressing the underlying issues (such as childhood abuse and neglect, inadequate stress management , low self esteem and many others).

I use a variety of tools in the counselling process. Initially ‘talking it out’ is what most people want. When people feel more secure in the counselling relationship I incorporate other techniques and approaches: CBT (cognitive, behavioral therapy), gestalt, somatic experience, journal and creative writing, mindfulness, meditation and others. Tools and techniques are employed only after a detailed description of their nature and possible value and receiving the permission of the client.

GENERAL COUNSELLING

Although treating addiction is the core of my practice, I also work with adults of all ages who are struggling with personal and relationship issues. Read More about Ray Freed >>

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