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Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth WA

William Macaulay Counselling Perth

Phone 0401 316 977

for enquiries or appointments

Drug & Alcohol Counselling Perth

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Dependency is a natural aspect of human life, as we all rely on various things, behaviours, or people to varying degrees. Examples can include our partners, phones, or even coffee. The level of dependency we develop largely depends on the interplay between incentives and restraints. One way to evaluate the extent of our dependency is by considering the level of distress we would experience without the object or person on which we depend.


Understanding Drug & Alcohol Dependence​

Initially, individuals engage in and continue using alcohol or drugs due to the pleasurable outcomes or enjoyable experiences they provide. This can include feelings of connection, relief from pain, or an escape from stress. However, as time passes, a strong dependency on these substances can develop to fulfil these essential human needs.


It eventually becomes problematic for the individual when their substance dependence starts to seriously disrupt other aspects of their life, including their physical and mental health, self-worth, relationships, finances, housing, employment, and legal obligations. Additionally, the individual may need to continue using the substance to manage distressing withdrawal symptoms such as fever, cramps, severe nausea, and depression. Consequently, the person may feel trapped, as they have valid arguments both for and against continuing 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 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 helpful for people who choose to continue using alcohol and drugs and want to reduce or prevent physical, social and mental health harm 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 significantly increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in reducing or eliminating AOD usage.


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 be incredibly detrimental to 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 attached to your substance dependence. Why wait any longer? Get help today.

Alcohol & Other Drug Counselling
CBT for addictions
Understanding Drug & Alcohol Dependance
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