Linda Gary, MFT
(818) 917-7600
Linda Gary, MFT Marriage and Family Therapist Learn about my approach to therapy I specialize in a variety of problems Contact me today

Substances with abuse potential range from simple kitchen supplies to alcohol to highly sophisticated drugs. To the abuser, his drug of choice initially allows him to feel relaxed, happy, excited, or detached from a world that is experienced as painful or stressful. Drug and alcohol abuse take a tremendous toll on the body and the brain, yet the grip is hard to break.

Individuals who come for treatment with ambivalence about their substance use can often be helped by motivational enhancement therapy. This approach is designed to produce rapid internally motivated change.

At the heart of this approach is the motivational interview. Motivational interviewing follows the thinking of post-modern therapy that views each individual as the expert on his or her own life. My goal is to create a climate that allows each client the opportunity to bring up whatever he or she needs to talk about, especially conflicted feelings about change.

I ask questions that help individuals see the discrepancies between their present behavior and the interests and goals they profess to value. This creates an opportunity to discuss how changing present behavior might make it easier to enjoy interests and reach goals. I avoid resistance by stating arguments for and against change in the same sentence or simply stating reasons not to change so that clients can counter with opposing arguments for change. The benefits of drinking or using are compared to the benefits of abstinence or cutting down.

When a client is ready, we establish goals and make plans for change. Once the change plan is in place, we discuss ways to plan for and avoid relapse. For many people with a serious substance abuse problem, there will be slips or relapses along the way. The good news is that most who relapse go back and start the change process over again until change is maintained successfully. If therapy continues beyond several months of sobriety, deeper work can follow.

Family counseling is also an important component of the client's and the family's recovery. 12-Step meetings play a powerful role in providing support and preventing relapse. Over time, values, goals, and even a shift in identity take hold

This is one approach and is especially effective with someone who is only beginning to realize the seriousness of the problem and is not yet to the point of welcoming change.


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