Addictions

But I don’t want to give that up! How to make it easier to form a new habit

In this article, I discuss ways you can be OK with giving up benefits of a current habit when you are trying to change to a new habit. I recently made several changes to my diet in order to be healthier, lose weight and enhance my performance in a 12-k swim event in which I will be competing this August. Among the changes was what I put in my two cups of coffee each day. For years, my habit would entail adding milk and two teaspoons of sugar to each cup of coffee. Then a few years ago my sweet morning indulgence became even sweeter when I began adding four tablespoons of vanilla syrup to the sugar I was already stirring into each cup. This sugary Xanadu became a thing of the past for me when I recently stopped putting sugar and vanilla syrup in my coffee...[more]

2020-03-01T20:36:37-07:00By |Categories: Addictions, Psychology|

Struggling in making progress toward a goal? Start by forming keystone habits

In this article, I discuss how achieving small successes by forming particular habits can lead you to make significant progress toward your goals. In my last article, I discussed how to form good habits and eliminate bad habits. I defined habits as behaviours or sequences of behaviours which a person performs regularly by focusing on the three components of a habit--cue, routine and reward. In this article, I focus on the value of forming keystone habits. These are habits which have the additional value of spurring you to form additional habits which can lead you to make significant progress toward your goals in different areas of life...[more]

2020-02-02T21:32:37-07:00By |Categories: Addictions, Psychology, Relationships|

Habits: How to form good ones and break bad ones

In this article, I discuss how you can focus on three components to help you initiate positive habits and eliminate negative habits. Although psychologists help clients address a multitude of issues and achieve a myriad of goals, success in most instances entails a focus on habits. These are behaviours or sequences of behaviours which a person performs regularly. The good habits we engage in have positive effects while the bad habits have negative effects. Therefore, a goal most people share is to add to their positive habits and eliminate their negative habits...[more]

2020-01-19T21:50:55-07:00By |Categories: Addictions, Psychology|

High-risk situations: To approach or avoid—that is the question

In this article, I discuss whether and under what circumstances you should approach or avoid high-risk situations when addressing an addictive behaviour.In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with clients whose goal is to reduce or eliminate behaviours which are having negative effects on their lives. Among the behaviours are drug and alcohol use, gambling, eating issues (binge eating or bingeing and purging), viewing pornography and cheating on one’s partner in a relationship.When these behaviours become habitual, they often take on the characteristics of an addiction. These characteristics include...[more]

2019-04-22T14:11:25-06:00By |Categories: Addictions, Eating Disorders|

The circle model: A framework for understanding and addressing problematic behaviour patterns

In this article, I discuss a model I use to help clients whose goal is to reduce or eliminate behaviours which are having negative effects on their lives.In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes work with clients whose goal is to reduce or eliminate behaviours which are having negative effects on their lives. Among the behaviours are drug and alcohol use, gambling, eating issues (binge eating or bingeing and purging), viewing pornography and cheating on one’s partner in a relationship.When working with these clients, I typically start by having them gain an understanding of the causes of their issues by using a vivid pictorial model. This model also provides directions for steps clients can take to address their issues...[more]

2019-04-07T22:31:10-06:00By |Categories: Addictions, Eating Disorders|

The first step in reducing problematic behaviours: Avoid high-risk situations which you can avoid

In this article, I discuss the importance of steering clear of settings and activities which make it more likely you will choose to engage in behaviours you are trying to reduce or eliminate. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often help clients whose goals are to reduce or eliminate behaviours which are having negative effects on their lives. These behaviours include alcohol and drug use, gambling, internet use, and binge eating--to name a few. The first step I typically take in helping these clients is to make them aware of settings and activities which put them at risk for engaging in their problematic behaviours...[more]

2018-04-22T20:34:36-06:00By |Categories: Addictions, Eating Disorders|

Change your thinking to manage your emotions and your behaviours

In this article, I discuss how you can target different levels of thought for change in order to feel better emotionally and to break problematic behaviour patterns. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often see clients who are seeking help with one or both of the following issues—experiencing unpleasant emotional states they would like to change (depression, anxiety, anger, frustration and guilt, to name a few) and engaging in problematic behaviour patterns (substance use, binge-eating, procrastination, being unassertive, and avoiding social situations, to name a few). Fortunately, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) offers strategies which help people address both these issues—alleviating the intensity of unpleasant emotions and breaking problematic behaviour patterns. CBT helps people address these issues by targeting negative thought patterns for change...[more]

2018-02-25T21:36:41-07:00By |Categories: Addictions, Depression|

Two motivators to change behaviour: Hope for the good and fear of the bad

In this article, I discuss how you can use hope for positive consequences and fear of negative consequences as motivators to help you change unwanted behaviour patterns. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, clients sometimes have the goal of changing unwanted behaviour patterns such as procrastination, losing one’s temper and excessive substance use. One of the best ways to help clients achieve behaviour change in these instances is to help them focus on motivators for the types of change they are seeking. Two types of motivators serve this purpose...[more]

2017-07-30T23:14:12-06:00By |Categories: Addictions, Anger|

Viewing addictions as habits: An improvement over viewing them as diseases

In my last article, I discussed a commonly held view of addictions as diseases. I indicated that while this view has some advantages such as removing shame and consequently making it more likely a person will come for treatment, it also has substantial disadvantages. These include interfering with the person taking the necessary steps to address their addiction if they come to therapy, instilling a passive ‘fix me’ mindset which is counterproductive to making progress, as well as establishing negative expectations for progress. At the end of my last article, I said that I would propose an alternative way to view addictions which is more conducive to making progress than the view of addictions as diseases. I will discuss this alternative view in the following sections.

2017-07-04T15:12:12-06:00By |Categories: Addictions|

Viewing addictions as diseases: The pros and cons

In this article, I discuss the commonly held view of addictions as diseases along with the pros and cons of this view including its effects on progress in treatment. A commonly held view of addictions is that they are diseases. The view holds that if you are unlucky enough to be afflicted with such a disease, it will be with you for your life because it cannot be cured. Furthermore, because your addiction is a disease, you are unable to exert control over it. Acknowledging this lack of control or powerlessness is the basis of 12-step programs which are used to help people with addictions for issues such as...[more]

2017-06-16T09:37:18-06:00By |Categories: Addictions|
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