The Benefits of Group Therapy

By Nicki Line LMHC, LAPC, CST Have you ever wondered what group therapy is, or what the point of group treatment would be for you? Depending on the issue, joining a group can be a helpful choice for making positive life changes.Group therapy is a form of therapy where a small, selected group of people …

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Love Addiction and Approval Addiction

In my experience as a counselor for a number of years, I have found that love addiction and approval addiction are far more prevalent than any other substance or process addictions. We live in a love-addicted, approval-addicted society.

What does it mean to be love/approval addicted? Below is a checklist for you to see if you are addicted to love and/or approval. Believing any of these may indicate love or approval addiction.

I believe that:

* My happiness and wellbeing are depended upon getting love from another person.

* My adequacy, lovability, and feelings of self-worth and self-esteem come from others liking me and approving of me.

* Others disapproval or rejection mean that Iím not good enough.

* I can’t make myself happy.

* I can’t make myself as happy as someone else can.

* My best feelings come from outside myself, from how other people or a particular other person sees me and treats me.

* Others are responsible for my feelings. Therefore, if someone cares about me, he or she will never do anything that hurts or upsets me.

* I can’t be alone. I feel like Iíll die if Iím alone.

* When I’m hurt or upset, itís someone elseís fault.

* It’s up to other people to make me feel good about myself by approving of me.

* I’m not responsible for my feelings. Other people make me feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated, shut down, or depressed. When I’m angry, someone makes me feel that way and is responsible for fixing my feelings.

* I’m not responsible for my behavior. Other people make me yell, act crazy, get sick, laugh, cry, get violent, leave, or fail.

* Others are selfish if they do what they want instead of what I want or need.

* If I’m not connected to someone, I will die.

* I can’t handle my pain, especially the pain of disapproval, rejection, abandonment, the pain of being shut out – the pain of isolation and loneliness.

Living as a love or approval addict is a very hard way to live. You have to constantly make sure you say the right thing, do the right, and look right in order to get the needed love and approval. Your feelings are on a roller coaster from feeling the wonderful feelings that come from getting your love or approval fixîto feeling the despair that comes when your supply source of your love and approval – shuts down, gets angry or judgmental, or goes away.

THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF LOVE AND APPROVAL ADDICTION

Love and approval addiction is rooted in self-abandonment. Imagine the feeling part of you as a child, your inner child. When you are love or approval addicted, you have handed your inner child away for adoption. Instead of learning to take responsibility for your own happiness by loving and approving of yourself, you have handed your inner child away to others for love and approval making others responsible for your feelings. This inner self-abandonment will always cause the deep pain of low self-worth, making you dependent upon others for your sense of worth.

The sad thing about all of this is that love is the most abundant thing in the universe. We live in a sea of love it is always within us and all around us. It is our ability to connect and love oneself. When you learn to open to Self Love, you become filled with love, with peace, with joy. The empty place within that yearns to be filled becomes so filled with love that it overflows to others. You find yourself desiring to give love rather than always trying to get it.

As long as you make others your source for love, you will not find the love, peace and joy that you seek. By learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process that we teach, you can learn to fill yourself with love and heal your love and approval addictions.

Are you love or approval addicted? Most modern people are. The following checklist will help you to determine your level of love or approval addiction.

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Alcohol Addiction: Debunking the Myth

Many people have their beliefs about alcohol addiction. However, most of these beliefs stem from a lack of experience, understanding and perhaps tolerance.  So let us correct some of these common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Addiction is only a bad habit and the only reason addicts can’t quit is because they have no willpower.

At the start of drinking, perhaps it could be a voluntary decision. Consider it a much needed respite from work, bills, relationship and all the drama. However, the more they choose to turn to it, the more dependent they become on it to relieve stress and in the end, they become addicted. This addiction happens because alcohol alters the brains and now the alcohol is in control of the addict.

Myth 2: Addicts are people with mental problems.

The statement is untrue. Addicts began as normal people who only started on one or two drinks to relieve stress. The more they seek this as an outlet, the more addicted they become. As we said in myth #1 alcohol alters the brain, creating a need in the user to be drinking all the time. This leads to bad life decisions.

Myth 3:  Treatment never works. Look at how many people relapse

The public thinks, that it will be easy to quit alcohol cold turkey however it is not that easy. The rehabilitation of alcoholics or treatment for them is not a one size fit all. The programme has to be tailored to suit the needs of the alcohol addicts. Different individuals have different issues that they are dealing with and they also respond differently to various treatment.

Myth 4: The addict has to be willing to quit for treatment to be effective.

Most of the time, they do not want treatment. They only seek treatment because they were ordered by the court or they were referred by concerned family members. Wanting to quit has little effect on the effectiveness on the treatment.

Myth 5: Addicts are a lost cause once they relapse.

Getting off the addiction is easy. Staying off it is difficult. Relapsing does not mean hitting rock bottom. It could be used as a positive thing by analyzing why the individual relapsed, what trigger that triggered the event and learn to avoid it next time. These are a few of the myths of alcohol addiction. The knowledge of this alone will help you be a better friend to those in need.

 

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How to Quit Drinking WITHOUT Full Abstinence

You may have a problem with drinking but may be too embarrassed to enter an AA meeting. Here a few simple steps to help you kick the habit without going full turkey.

Firstly, as cliché as it may sounds, acknowledge that you have a problem. You need to first accept that you are an alcoholic. Then we can proceed to the next step. You need to understand why you drink. Do you start drinking when you had a bad day at work? You have an argument with your spouse? Identify the little triggers that set you off and have a game plan of what you will do when faced with that trigger. Be it, when having an awful day at work, going for a spa or a massage or calling a friend out for a coffee. Know your triggers and know yourself.

Secondly, commit yourself to the goal of ridding yourself free of alcohol. You are a smart human being who does not need alcohol to function. Yes, it may be difficult for you to get through the day at first. Do not listen to the little cravings or little commands that your brain sends to you demanding for alcohol. You are the master of yourself. You have lived once before and functioned perfectly well without alcohol. There is no reason you could not do it again. Make your mantra: I will quit for good. Repeat it to yourself every time a trigger presents itself to you.

Thirdly, learn to say NO. If a friend asks you out for a drink, be absolutely ready to be firm in your reply. Say no thanks, I’m quitting. Tell your friends of your intentions and tell them that you need them to be there for you. If you have to avoid your group of drinking friends for a certain period of time, do that. Tell them you are not burning bridges, you are just trying to quit alcohol. They will respect you for it and help you in your road to sobriety.

Fourthly, be patient. Enjoy your recovery from your addiction and do not be afraid if you relapsed. If you relapsed once, that does not mean you will fall all the way down and hit rock-bottom. It takes time and patience. Do not be hard on yourself if you relapsed after a certain period of time. After that relapse, say to yourself, I will try harder and this time I will succeed.

Most of all, remember that you are doing all these for yourself and your family. These should be the biggest motivation and inspiration of all to keep on moving forward.

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My Experience with Alpha Stim

By Abby Maher The alpha-stim device has been billed as a drug-free treatment option for pain anxiety, depression and insomnia. It functions by passing a low-voltage electrical charge through the body between two electrodes.  For treatments involving anxiety, depression, or insomnia, the electrodes are placed on each ear via clips. The device is worn for …

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Meet Abby

Harmony US has a new intern we would love for you to meet, Abby. Hello everyone, I am a master’s level student in Northwestern University’s clinical mental health counseling program. Having completed a practicum experience through which I provided supervised counseling to a variety of individuals, I am now in my internship year where I …

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Intern Spot Light

Harmony US is pleased to introduce you to one of our amazing mental health interns, Nattalie. Hello Everyone. My name is Nattalie Roepke. I am a student at Northwestern University and have joined HarmonyUS to complete internship within my Master’s degree program. I am a Florida native and love calling Tampa my home. I have …

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How to have an Intimate Conversation

Therapist Nicki discusses how to have an intimate conversation with someone in 3 easy steps.

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