Marijuana, alcohol, and the Internet. Two substances and a utility, so perhaps we are talking ‘apples and oranges’. But, they have a few things in common:
First, they are all legal (well, at least state-legal, in the case of marijuana) and, for many people, an unremarkable part of life. The Internet, particularly, has become an essential utility in both work- and social life for the vast majority of Americans, and the wealth of information, convenience, and connection available through it makes it hard to imagine pre-Internet life (a mere 30ish years ago).
Second, many people experience enjoyment in their use and consider one, two, or all three of them to be positive elements of a well-lived life.
However, many people find that one of both of these substances (marijuana, alcohol) or this utility (Internet) begin to take up too much space in life, with use that’s too frequent, too intense, or, in the case of the internet, troublesome in its specific content (e.g., excessive shopping, gambling or pornography). Sometimes, there are overt negative consequences, such as accidents from substance intoxication, legal problems, debt, or conflicts with loved ones. For even larger numbers of people, though, there may be a more subtle but nagging realization that more important personal priorities or goals are being neglected, that time feels squandered and life unfulfilling; that relationships, work and other crucial real-life experiences are suffering.
Psychotherapy can help address these concerns and help you achieve desired change, whether that change is the elimination of a habit or a more nuanced modification in how (or how often) that behavior occurs in your life.
Good intentions alone, “will-power”, and certainly shame are not ingredients for a desired and sustained change. Those approaches, as most people know by experience, produce a cycle of effort and failure, mounting frustration, and pervasive demoralization.
Psychotherapy, by contrast, can assist you to identify the thoughts, behavioral patterns, and triggers that are causing over-use, and equip you to respond differently to stresses, cravings, or well-worn grooves of habit.
With a careful assesment of your experiences and your wishes, we develop a customized plan and step-wise, incremental strategies for implementing that plan. We update and modify our efforts as we go, based on your experiences and progress. You can arrive at a place where you are making conscious, well-considered choices about what relationship you wish to have with these three common features of our cultural landscape. You can succeed in making and maintaining change.
I provide my patients a respectful and non-judgmental working relationship to identify your goals for change in any of these areas, and to design and implement research-supported strategies that can help put you back in control of your life, your time, your health, your finances, and your relationships.
If you would like to explore the possibility of working toward change in any of these areas, please feel free to contact me through this website or at 303-475-7987.
1. In some situations of particularly severe and/or long-term alcohol over-use, medical services may be required before any psychotherapy can begin. As a psychologist, I offer expertise in the cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial elements of change, but I do not provide medical services.
2. This office does not provide court-mandated services or services related to legal cases or anticpated legal cases, or related to matters of family law or custody or parental fitness.