CASE STUDY 7: CYCLOTHYMIA / SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCY
Resolution of an emotional dysregulation disorder and two decade dependency on psychoactive substances using fifteen session treatment model.
The case below was treated as a dual diagnosis condition, Cyclothymia, which is a mood regulation disorder, a lesser Bi polar with a concomitant history of substance experimentation and use since adolescence. Treated in a fifteen session addiction resolution program/process designed to create emotional regulation and integration.
The results were very acceptable to the client, with no substance misuse, a loss of desire to use and a very significant increase in quality of life across many areas of functioning.
The process is centered around a thesis of substance misuse as being an attempted form of emotional regulation. Using is considered to be an ‘acting out’ behaviour caused by a trigger and the inability to contain that impulse. The therapeutic purpose is to instate emotional regulation as an internal function, to move behaviour from motor system dominance (unconscious action) to self expressive and self regulated via the emotional regulatory system. Thus giving ‘free choice’ back to the client. This is instigated through deeply attuned therapeutic technique.
Rather than trying to just manage the emotional ups and downs, deep neurological integration and awareness allows trauma to be resolved. High emotional valence within the central nervous system due to trauma and the stress carried, can be seen to ebb away as it is integrated, engagement of the right hemisphere enables this.
Facilitated within a highly focused therapeutic window, with clear goal intentions, the forward – drive processes of learning are set up, this engages the brain in a focused, problem-solving manner and invokes neurotransmitters central to focus and reward, acetylcholine, adrenaline and dopamine. The parasympathetic nervous system is invoked, and the modulatory effects are supported and built upon moving forward.
The intention is to facilitate a process where the brain is ‘reset’ and is maintaining emotional homeostatic balance with the individual at the center of that process and maintaining it moving forward in their own life.
The effectiveness of this approach is such that it addresses multiple issues simultaneously, and draws on the innate intelligence of the brain to return health and balance back into the system via deep emotional regulation and the executive functioning of the pre frontal regions of the cortex to regulate choice and self awareness.
In this case the cyclothymia issues were resolved as well as the addictive acting out which had been a part of the client's lifestyle since late adolescence. Additional deep changes were enabled across the individuals personal life.
I was given a diagnosis of Cyclothymia (bipolar) a year before I decided to seek out counselling and I was both anxious and uncertain as to what the benefits of therapy would be. The whole process of choosing a counsellor and feeling confident that they are professional, expert and experienced is really challenging; scrolling through the counselling directory in itself highlights the varied range of approaches available, as well as clearly demonstrating those who have taken the care and time to give detailed information about their services and practice.
This is where Edward stood out straight away to me - his profile and subsequent links to his extensive website packed with informative and authoritative insights into his work and experience is hugely impressive and, most importantly, reassuring when you want to feel confident you have chosen the right person to support you. For me, seeing the sensitive and passionate way in which Edward had detailed his approaches, background in Psychosynthesis, and range of services made me feel confident to arrange a series of sessions.
Edward’s expertise and welcoming manner was obvious from the moment I set foot into his room. The clearest way for me to articulate this is to compare it to coming up for air; he created a calm and still space where I felt completely safe to be open and to share, where I was reassured that he listened deeply, without judgement and with full attention, expertly identifying key issues and areas for us to discuss and work through.
Edward has a wholly flexible yet solid approach founded in principles of Psychosynthesis yet also supported with a range of other perspectives too. Again, this is where I would say his real skill, expertise and experience lay - he is not restricted to one rigid approach or interpretation of your situation; instead, he subtly works with you to identify and decide the best focused solutions.
Rather than being given a generic series of CBT sessions, for example, instead I saw each session evolving and organically developing as we explored issues freely and within a clear framework too. Edward’s vast experience and knowledge dealing with addiction and emotional dysregulation helped me to identify, understand and start to transform my behaviours over the weeks we worked together. I was never made to feel judged or ashamed, nor was I forced to complete self-audits of my previous destructive behaviours or any other generic activities which I could have easily completed myself from a self-help book!
Through the entire series of sessions over a period of 6 months, Edward was consistently supportive, sensitive, wise and good humored; open to sharing when appropriate and offering excellent guidance which included recommending books and activities to keep me balanced. The journey and progress we made together over that time is truly amazing and definitely life changing and affirming. I would certainly recommend anyone to work with Edward - go with an open and enquiring mind and hopefully you will make huge and subtle progress.