Decades ago, addiction therapists began informing their clients of the need to end their “Stinking thinking.” A catch phrase for a negative thought pattern eventually used to rationalize counterproductive actions and mental activities. Identified by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, “Stinking thinking” keeps people addicted to dysfunctional behaviors, expectations and/or substances, sometimes all three. The imperative to think constructively, on the other hand, focusing on positive attitudes instead of on negativity leads to breakthroughs. Therapists know that it can lead to recoveries from addictions. But addicts often need outside help to maintain their recovery momentum. Therapy is an essential part of the recovery phenomenon in such cases. E-counseling spoke with some relevant people about that very topic.
Evolutions Treatment Center – Addiction Resources Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida therapist Gedale Fenster knows that therapy is a critical component in addiction therapy. He insists that “Cognitive behavioral therapy is outstanding, the one that’s helping more than any other.”
The Facebook “About” page for ETC indicates, “At Evolutions, we’ve painstakingly developed our approach to drug and alcohol treatment to give our Clients a better chance at a full, healthy recovery. Here, we believe that one size does not fit all, and that just as every person is unique, so too is each person’s path to sobriety. This belief drives us to embrace innovative new forms of addiction treatment as well as traditional time-tested techniques. Our ability to offer Clients more and better options and greater individualization greatly increases the effectiveness of care and improves one’s chances for a true and lasting recovery.
“The neuroscience of addiction and the search for new ways to combat this disease has been growing exponentially and Evolutions is at the forefront of that growth. At Evolutions, we believe that while 12-step-based recovery models can be effective for some, many newer forms of cognitive behavioral therapies, medicines, and other novel approaches to treatment can prove highly effective when carefully and thoughtfully administered. Having more tools in our ‘treatment toolbox’ gives our Clients every opportunity to benefit from the latest, safest, and most promising addiction treatment innovations.”
Certified Addiction Therapist Brad Salzman, LCSW, CSAT is the
founder and clinical director of the midtown Manhattan New York Sexual Addiction Center. He remarks that “I specialize in treating sexual addiction, pornography addiction, relationship addiction, and internet addiction.”
In response to my question “What are the most effective therapies you use, and why?” Salzman responded “For treating addiction, you need to deal with the behaviors that are happening in the here and now to try and modify them. At the same time you need to look for the root of the problem which is leading the person to his addiction. For many addicts, they experienced significant childhood trauma of some kind that has impacted their ability to self-regulate and to deal with negative emotions. At the same time, they have found that the addiction is a way for them to numb their pain or escape it, albeit that it’s a flawed solution that brings on even more problems. So we need to help addicts to identify the pain that led them to their addiction, to help them to heal from the trauma, and to teach them healthy ways to experience their feelings and deal with relationships in a healthy way.”
Asked to indicate how therapists measure progress, Salzman replied “Usually progress is fairly easy to measure over time for an addict. At first, depending on when the addict comes into treatment, he may not even be fully aware of all the damage his addiction has caused in his life and to those closest to him. But as therapy progresses and the client becomes more tuned in to himself, he’ll begin to realize all the ways the addiction has been hurting him. Once an addict starts to recover from his addiction, he gets more in touch with his emotions. His self-esteem and interpersonal relationships start to improve. Oftentimes even his career and financial situation begin to improve.”
Salzman remarked about addicts who don’t engage in therapeutic counseling. “I am a big believer in the 12 Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. There are five different 12-Step Programs for sexual addiction, such as Sexaholics Anonymous. They focus on a spiritual solution to addiction and emphasize a personal relationship with a Higher Power that can help to fill the inner emptiness that many addicts feel. I think this is a worthy endeavor, and I encourage all my clients to participate in the 12-Step process. However, I have found that many people who only do 12-Step Programs without therapy never really come to terms with some of the very painful parts of their childhoods that continue to affect them and to drive their addiction. Sometimes, even if an addict is able to abstain from his compulsive acting out behavior, he may still suffer a lot of personal and interpersonal problems because he has not ever really dealt with the trauma that lingers inside him.”
Working with addicts for more than 15 years, Salzman received his BA from Yale University and his MS from Columbia University. Trained and certified as a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist by Dr. Patrick Carnes, the world’s leading authority in sexual addiction treatment, Salzman has been interviewed or featured in the New York Observer, Buzzfeed, the Deseret News, Ha’aretz, and the WPIX New York 10 o’Clock News.