Addiction, Treatment and Recovery

When undertaking the work of treating addiction, it is wise and good practice to take a broad and open minded approach. Addiction or substance dependency knows no bounds of who or whom it can affect - a very complex area of human life, the effective treatment of addictive behaviour is sensitive to many areas of consideration and needs to be closely focused on the very fine details of a persons life to be understood and treated effectively. Attention to detail and a broad understanding of addictive theory is crucial in providing adequate treatment and support to individuals who are ready to take responsibility for change in their lives.

"I had been struggling with food addiction for several years, I had seen multiple counsellors and doctors during that time and never made progress. My time with Ed has been totally different to previous experiences. With an approach that allowed me to understand the root of my problem and highlighted exactly what steps I needed to take before it all began to fall in place. I now have found  a totally different perspective around myself, through food and within myself. Ed has a great mix of a friendly and professional attitude that makes opening up and being honest much easier to do. I am so thankful for the lessons Ed has taught me and I could not recommend him enough."

Approaches to the treatment and understanding of addictive behavior have changed dramatically.  Addiction is now less frequently  understood as a disease, but is more commonly being understood and accepted to have many contributing factors. In terms of treatment, it therefore stands that an effective approach should reflect need, complexity and the specific requirements of that individual.


Addiction and substance dependency are not dependent on personal conditions alone, they are also contributed to by such things as; social environments, personal history, trauma, cultural norms, learned behavior, family dynamics as well as attitudes and beliefs of oneself and others. The collaborative effect of these factors working together over years is massive. In addition addiction can also be seen as a malady of the spirit, where drugs or alcohol are utilised as methods of trying to escape from reality, from the pressures of life, or from events which have historically left their burden on someone. This escaping from pain becomes the tipping point after years of unbreakable self abuse and self medication, that will often bring someone to the point where they cannot tolerate their suffering anymore and need help. When the pain of repetition is greater than the struggle and efforts to change and get better.

It is crucially important in the treatment of substance misuse to provide a consistency and thoroughness of care. A lack of thoroughness can be a significant problem in seeking effective treatment and can lead to failed attempts at recovery. One of the main problems is a 'one size fits all' approach to recovery and rehabilitation. This may work for a number of people by sheer numbers alone, but is not a reflection of effectiveness or satisfactory treatment. The problem then exists of what about the people for whom this does not work...where do they go then and are they just written off? 

This issue fueled my desire to look deeply into what is it that people need in the process of recovery and getting their lives back on track. What is it that someone needs in its entirety to become functioning, stable and content with who they are? For fifteen years this is what I have looked into with the purpose of developing a way that people in the throws of addiction, when ready to change can utilise to get better. Over and over I would listen to people telling me what had not worked for them, where they had felt the treatment had not delivered what they needed. It was this information and more, which formulated the approach which is outlined here.  An approach which is derived from listening to what is needed and practicing delivering that to get the methods correct.   


Both private residential facilities and statutory services often take a broad brush approach, using old models of addiction theory like '12 steps', but fail to address very personal issues within each and every person. Dogma and belief systems are encouraged to tackle specific complex issues like 'triggers' and personal vulnerability instead of comprehensive insight and techniques that can be practiced and improved upon until confidence is built. 

Coming from the training of being a Psychotherapist informs the position of looking at the person as having needs and requiring skills to be able to function in life.  Coupled with this is the skills required to get into the mechanics of the compulsions of the addictive behavior.  Breaking down the pattern of behavior, dismantling the triggering process, deconstructing dangerous patterns and attitudes whilst working toward new goals are all required to make progress against ingrained compulsive patterns of behavior.

Many people simply fail in standardised treatment systems as they are singular and inflexible in their approach and are not designed for the complexities of each and every person. This compounds desperation and leaves many people in a condition more desperate than before. Having never been introduced to different ways of thinking about their problem, not being able to explore new ways of thinking and being set clear and specific tasks to learn from, they can never know what can be achieved when approached from a different angle. 

How we learn and change behavior is by doing it. So, to change one sets of behavior to another, we need to be walked through that process. It needs to happen in the real world under real conditions, not as a theory in a discussion or place of sharing. It's not to say these things don't help, they do, but they are not action, they are contemplation.  

"I found Edward a great help when I was dealing with depression and anxiety, and a crisis brought to the surface by alcohol. He helped me to find my way again without being in any way judgemental or prescriptive. I particularly liked the fact that his sessions were relaxed  - for someone who finds it hard to talk about personal matters, I found myself able to talk openly and without fear, even when I was at my most anxious.  His therapeutic technique was effective for me, both when I started and was in need of urgent help, as well as later on when things had settled down. I never felt talked down to, and his therapy was gentle and intuitive. I also appreciated that Edward was flexible in terms of sessions - I was able to take breaks, and to fit  around my work and home commitments. I am grateful to Edward and I  recommend his approach to therapy wholeheartedly."

A New Approach To Treating Addiction Problems

Moving beyond 'Primary recovery' - cessation of the addictive behavior, and into the territory of 'Secondary recovery' - resolution of the factors that created the addiction.  I have developed an intensive accelerated method of tackling many types of addictive behavior in a rapid and targeted manner. Drawing on fifteen years of intensive psychotherapeutic practice to develop an intensive program of practice and learning via individualised goal and task based hourly sessions. Each session is calibrated toward an end goal and is part of an unfolding progressive method to break down and replace malignant and destructive behavior. 

In the program some of the things we focus on and develop are: 

  • New ways of thinking that exist outside of the realm of addiction.

  • Slowing down to decipher compulsive cues to use - dismantling and integrating triggers.

  • What is the nature of reality and what does life want from you and you from it?

  • How to set your focus and your desire on life itself.

  • Mastering relationships whilst  identifying who cares about you. 

  • Learning the art of self care. 

  • Discovering who you really are and building a strong trusted relationship with yourself.

  • Using your imagination to see a future and work toward realising it and becoming it.

Included within this we also integrate and develop the following:

  • Harm reduction 

  • Impulse identification

  • Developing resilience

  • Trauma resolution

  • Identifying triggers

  • Recognising the inner addictive voice

  • Important relationships 

  • Life balance 

  • Life development

  • Self awareness  

  • Self compassion 

  • Impulse control

  • Mental clarity

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Retraining dopamine/reward pathways 

  • Creating new healthy behavior seeking 

  • Understanding and using mental and emotional states 

  • Goal setting and life advancement

  • Realising ambitions and quality of life

  • Personal and spiritual growth


The working philosophy and method  focuses on carefully dismantling the patterned habit base upon which addictive behavior and choices have become established and replacing them with worldly orientated healthy behavior. This is not a simple behavior replacement, but a carefully detailed way to re balance and prioritise through stimulation of the brains learning system, emotions and the imagination, to reset and awaken the innate qualities of the human body for survival, development and problem solving. This is how and what the brain is designed to do and needs to be reactivated and taught as a method of self management and growth. It is the innate structures of the brain and our learning processes that have been repeatedly hijacked and taken over by addictive compulsion and wiring them in a way that seems to make them unchangeable. This is commonly called the 'disease of addiction.' But by working on the addictive patterning, triggering of compulsions and on lifestyle choices and personal circumstances whilst establishing new goals and new choices, change and growth can happen.

By tapping into ones innate human strengths, by activating biological and psychological systems in an organised manner with the correct guidance and techniques, deep and long lasting personal change can occur.  Knowing how to do this is learned from years of working with complex substance abuse, depth psychology and personal change across a broad spectrum of conditions.  How to effectively apply these multiple strands on a person to person basis is what makes this possible. This is best understood as a part training process and part undoing process. A combination of unwiring past behavior and conditioning, whilst reworking in new behavior choices and activity. This is what our brains are designed to do, so it is the art of reactivating dormant neurological brain regions, to excite the possibility and practice of new activity. This becomes the reward.

Repetition and compulsion in addiction becomes boredom in life. Addicted brains are bored brains. Bored people are depressed people, for whom life is grey. This is why an approach has to be rich in stimulus, rich in methods that work, thorough in reaching all relevant areas of a persons life and flexible in meaning and manner that work and adapt to each and every persons unique way of looking at the world. Whan you have this, you have something which ignites a spark of hope and a flame of change. This becomes the engine to fuel a new life.  

The program runs over an eight week schedule and is comprised of weekly sessions. It is designed to allow people to carry on with their day to day lives including work, but to access and work through an incentivised and intensive deeply transformational psychological treatment. Providing them the opportunity to put into practice weekly tasks, and learning and to implement that week to week as they progress though the process. It is a process of learning, based in practical application and geared toward stimulating clear thinking and emotional literacy. To enable someone to clean up their behavior and establish healthy social engagement and forward thinking goal progression. Establishing a self guiding and responsible individual in control oif their decision making is its' goal

The process and change one goes though is closely monitored to feed in new learning to make for a progressive growth. It is a dynamic practical therapy.  Within this, the weekly sessions will deliver recognisable change and learning points from the very beginning and each week represent specific and measurable milestones of stepped practical, emotional and psychological change. The individual is assisted in learning the art of becoming their own master, self understanding and learning. Facilitated to become activated in their own process of change and development which is monitored, incentivised and progressively built upon week to week, session to session toward a clear established end goal.


The program is a 'root and branch' approach to tackling years/decades of habituated behavior, focused on changing the person in a dramatic way whilst attenuating the compulsive behavior. It is highly charged with exciting new ways of looking at life and life choices, rich in creative thinking, planning and practical methods that are grounded in day to day discovery and learning.  The goal of the program is to give control back to the individual and facilitate them during the course of treatment to recognise the capacity for and achieve a rich, balanced and fulfilling life.


Case example from a completed program for opiate dependency here.

Case example for alcohol here.

Read a related article in The Guardian here.


Addiction is a treatable condition. If you are suffering from or want any further information on any of the issues discussed, please get in touch to make an appointment for a discussion. For help with addiction in Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Durham or Harrogate.