Sound and Vibration as Therapy? Yes!

Many people use music to help regulate their mood – a certain type to energize for a workout, another type for focusing at work, and yet another for winding down after a long day.  We know from experience that sound has a powerful impact on how we feel.  Sound is simply pressure waves traveling through the air.  We call it “sound” when the frequency of the waves is in the range that can be picked up by our ears.  Lower frequency vibrations that cannot be heard can someti...
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Book Review – In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate

As a mental health clinician working in the addiction recovery field, I highly recommend Gabor Mate’s exceptionally well-written book on addiction, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.  Mate, a psychiatrist, has worked for 12 years with severely addicted people on skid row in Vancouver.  In the first half of the book, he weaves together stories of his patients with the story of his own “high status” addiction of purchasing expensive classical mus...
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How do People Change?

“Why don’t you just stop?” “I wish I could change but I don’t know where to start!” How many times have you heard this from yourself or a loved one? Change sounds easy—just stop, do it differently, try another way, etc. They sound like good suggestions but carrying them out is a different issue entirely. Many people really don’t know how to stop because they don’t know another way. Some are deeply in denial and are not truly aware of the depth of the problem. It’s frustrating...
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Try Out a Guided Meditation

One of the core elements of our program at Welwynn is mindfulness: being aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental way. Mindfulness is the first step towards any change in behavior or belief. If we don’t realize what’s happening, or are too wrapped up in judgments, we cannot our response.  In mindfulness practice, we set aside a few minutes to practice tuning into the present.  This time of focused practice makes it easier to be mindful as we move throughout the day....
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“Coming Out” as a Person in Recovery

Michael Botticelli is a former Director of National Drug Control Policy, as well as a person in recovery from addiction and a gay man.  In this talk, Michael explains the paralells between the way society shamed and neglected gay men suffering with HIV/AIDs in the 1980 to the way society treats people struggling with addiction today.  In both cases, blame for the disease was placed on the person suffering instead of in a broader context of society and biology.  In both cases, the shame associ...
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Connection as Medicine for Addiction

Studies show that rats placed in empty cages with the choice to drink drug-laced water or normal water will drink the drug-laced water until they kill themselves.  On the other hand, rats placed in cage with plenty of friends, potential mates, and an interesting play environment do not choose the drug-laced water.  This simple experimental finding has profound implications for how we think about and treat addictive disorders.  Like rats, humans are mammals with a deeply wired need for social...
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OPIOID CRISIS

It’s wonderful to see people in recovery speaking out about addiction!  Check out this video to hear one man’s perspective and learn about a town hall meeting that ABC11 is hosting this evening (May 17th) at 7:00pm on addiction and the opiod crisis.  You can stream the townhall live here.  Only 11% of people with addictive disorders seek treatment. We encourage you to reach out for support if you of someone you love is suffering. ...
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Weathering the Ups and Downs of Life Sober

Emotional ups and downs are a normal part of being human.  One of the most moving things for me as an addictions therapist is to be with our clients as they move through the ups and downs of life without the chemical filter of drugs or alcohol.  Clients are not used to tolerating, or “being with” their hard feelings.  In addiction, substances are used to medicate the “downs,” and tend to create a cycle of more extreme ups and downs.  In recovery, we learn skills to make the ups a...
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Communication Styles and Recovery

At Welwynn we work to support our clients to communicate “clearly and directly in a kind and loving way.”  The cost of not doing so can be stress and unhealthy relationships – both major triggers for addictive behaviors. “Clearly and directly” means that we commit to speaking up for ourselves so that we can get out needs met and prevent or de-escalate conflict.  “In a kind a loving way” means that we can do so while respecting the other person and our relationship with the...
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The Deeper Meaning of “Luxury” Treatment

substance abuse disorders. We have a beautiful facility with comfortable couches, natural light, and a warm and competent staff. Client’s also receive weekly massage and biofeedback relaxation. Anyone with insurance can receive all these wonderful services for a small co-pay. The longer I work here, the more I see that these “luxuries” have a much deeper impact than you might expect. I have the unique pleasure of being able to offer both mental health and massage therapy services at Welwyn...
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