top of page
William Macaulay Counselling Perth logo

William Macaulay

Counsellor & Psychotherapist

Perth, Western Australia

Phone 0401 316 977

for enquiries or appointments

Drug & Alcohol Counselling Perth


Everyone is dependent, to varying degrees on a range of things, behaviours or people. For example, we may be dependent on a partner, our phone or coffee. Dependence is, therefore, a normal human experience. Whether we become dependent depends mainly on the interplay between incentives and restraints. We can also gauge the extent of our dependence by assessing how distressed we would be in the absence of the thing on which we are dependent.


Understanding drug & alcohol dependence​

A substance user initially uses and continues to use alcohol and/or other drugs as it provides the individual with some form of favourable outcome or pleasurable experience. For example, emotional or physical pain relief, an escape from stress, and/or a sense of connection and belonging. Over time the person may develop a strong dependency on the substance to fulfil these essential human needs.


On the other hand, it becomes problematic for the individual when their substance dependence starts to seriously disrupt other aspects of their life, including physical health, mental health, self-worth, relationships, finances, housing, employment and legal obligations. Furthermore, the person may also need to keep taking the substance to manage painful withdrawal symptoms such as fever, cramps, violent nausea and depression. Consequentially, the substance user can feel stuck, as he or she experiences having both arguments for and against their ongoing substance use.


Overcoming drug & alcohol addiction


Substance addiction is a complex but treatable condition. Early access to treatment and support substantially increases the probability of a positive outcome. The following treatment options are available to support people who want to overcome their substance dependence:




Medications can be an essential element of treatment. They should not be seen as a standalone treatment; their optimal use is in conjunction with counselling and other behavioural therapies. Medications can include addiction pharmacotherapies (e.g. methadone, naltrexone, antabuse) or medications for psychological issues such as anxiety or depression.


Drug and alcohol psychotherapy & counselling


Motivational interviewing:

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based psychological treatment aimed at working through ambivalence. Ambivalence is the experience of having both arguments for and against change co-existing within a person. Motivational interviewing is designed to strengthen your motivation for and movement towards a specific goal by eliciting and exploring your reasons for change.


Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT):

Cognitive behaviour therapy is an evidence-based psychological treatment used widely in the treatment of substance misuse. CBT teaches you to understand the connections between your core beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions, and increase awareness of how this interplay impacts substance dependency. Unhelpful and inaccurate thoughts and beliefs are discovered, challenged and replaced by more helpful and balanced ones, which will affect your actions (AOD use).



Many people with AOD issues have poor problem-solving skills. Research indicates that teaching problem-solving skills is associated with better treatment outcomes. The goals of problem-solving are to assist you to:

  • Recognise the existence of a problem.

  • Generate potential solutions to the problem.

  • Select the most effective option.

  • Plan how to implement it.

  • Implement the selected option.

  • Evaluate how effective the approach was.


Harm reduction:

Harm reduction strategies are useful for people who choose to continue using alcohol and drugs and want to reduce and/or prevent physical, social and mental health harms to themselves and others. Harm reduction strategies can be provided in the following areas:

  • Drug overdose.

  • Dehydration.

  • Contracting sexually transmitted infections.

  • Consensual sex.

  • Family and domestic violence.

  • Protecting children.

  • Assault.

  • Injury.

  • Personal hygiene.

  • Nutrition and sleep.

  • Mental health issues.

  • AOD dependence.

  • Legal impacts.


Co-occurring mental health issues:

Many individuals with AOD issues also have co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and therefore, may also require counselling to address these issues. Addressing these issues will substantially increase the likelihood of a positive outcome concerning reducing or eliminating AOD use.


Structured residential treatment


Residential rehabilitation allows people to voluntarily live in while they complete a program that supports them to deal with AOD issues. These programs usually provide individual and group therapy, counselling, support, education and recreation activities. There are several organisations within Western Australia offering these residential rehabilitation programs.



Family members & significant others


An individual’s substance misuse can cause significant stress to family members, partners and close friends. I offer the following support and guidance concerning how to help a loved one who may be struggling with substance dependence:

  • Accurate information on AOD and related issues

  • Learn how to:

    • strengthen your role and confidence

    • enhance your communication skills

    • improve your conflict resolution skills

    • strengthen your negotiating of boundaries skills

    • respond rather than react

    • reduce your level of anxiety and stress


Importantly, significant others can have a hugely positive impact on facilitating the engagement in treatment of a loved one. And, significant other involvement can also improve treatment outcomes.


Featured videos about drug & alcohol issues

Click here to go to a selection of helpful YouTube videos about substance dependence. You may also find them beneficial for friends and family to understand drug and alcohol dependence better.

Addiction counselling Perth


I recognise that substance dependence can have an incredibly detrimental effect on a person’s life. Seeking support is the most crucial first step towards overcoming your addiction and regaining control of your life. I can work with you to resolve any uncertainty around change and address any mental health issues that may be attached to your substance dependence. Why wait any longer? Get help today.

Alcohol & Other Drug Counselling
CBT for addictions
bottom of page