12 Step Therapy – What’s next? | Therapist in Los Angeles & Sherman Oaks

If you are searching for a Therapist in Los Angeles or Sherman Oaks, Linda Engel can help you with your 12 step therapy success.

So, you have finally committed yourself to your 12 step program (AA,NA, Al-anon, SLAA,OA). You have followed all the rules. You have gotten a sponsor, done your readings, attend meetings regularly and you are even at the point of being of service in that community, but somehow, something is missing.

Every once in a while, some of the symptoms that you have tried to manage for so long by self medicating begin to arise and become troublesome. People get caught up in addictive behavior for a variety of reasons. Some people may have a biological predisposition towards addiction. Hence, if you have had a biological relative (whether you were raised with them or not) who suffered from addiction, you may be more prone towards it than the general population.

There may be “modeling” of certain behaviors. For example, if you saw family or community members who typically coped with the stresses of life by excessive use of substances (alcohol, drugs, food) or behaviors (shopping, sex, gambling), then you will be more likely to succumb to those behaviors as well.

Multiple other factors can be involved. Undiagnosed learning disorders, add/adhd, difficulty accepting one’s sexuality, abuse, neglect or overindulgence during childhood. Overindulgence contributes to the “lie of addiction” which goes something like this. “I can’t stand this pain, hard work, difficult transition, etc. ”

At times, addictions are culturally sanctioned. As one alcoholic states, “When you work really hard, you have to go crazy once in a while”. There may be pressure at work/school to overindulge as a way of fitting in. As a college student recently told me, “In college, it is normal to behave as though you are alcoholic, these days. You’re weird if you don’t drink a lot”

12 step programs do address some of these issues, but at times there are deeper issues that remain. If a person is dually diagnosed (an addiction along with another disorder), they may be pressured by their

12 step community to ignore the other disorder. This can be dangerous.

Sometimes it takes a psychiatric professional to determine whether that person needs more intensive treatment like medication, individual psychotherapy or even temporary hospitalization in the case of suicidality or major mood or thought disorders.

Working with a therapist along with the 12 step program can be a very helpful combination. It is very important¬† for someone in a 12 step program to locate a therapist who has a healthy respect and familiarity with how the self help community works, including it’s limitations. A therapist of this sort can help guide an individual through times of crisis in which the self help program is not enough.

Conversely, working with a person who is involved in a 12 step program can make the therapy much easier. The two work very well in conjunction with each other to promote psychological health. So, why not take THE NEXT STEP and add psychotherapy with a 12 step therapist to your toolbag of recovery?

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