Esmée Chengapen, Sophie Seale and Drew Puxty lend their expert thoughts to the roots of addiction, to view it with 'soft eyes and a compassionate heart', and how Luxembourg can't serve the need for holistic help.
After listening to my podcasts on Eating Disorders, psychotherapist Esmée Chengapen got in touch to explain that addiction, in all its guises, is a problem we don’t discuss enough in Luxembourg. Not only that, but all three therapists agreed that there is insufficient help available here, especially in English.
"How does this substance help you?" Drew would ask if you went to seek his professional help.
Anyone can form an addiction, not just those with a genetic vulnerability. And one can be become addicted to anything. The obvious is alcohol or drug abuse, but we can be addicted to work, sport, making money, washing our hands (and other OCD tendancies), eating certain things or not... the list is endless really. All of this is the veneer, the plaster to protect the trauma inside ourselves, something from the past often, something we may have yet to unscramble.
Drew Puxty puts into context the various models of how we perceive addiction:
- the Moral Model: addicts are 'condemnable', they are stigmatised, they are 'bad people'.
- the Pharmacological Model: the substance is strong but the individual is weak.
- the Sickness Model: addiction is a neurobiological brain disorder due to genetic inheritance.
We touch on how 'toxic shame' is deeply linked to addiction, along with emotional repression covered by layers of anxiety. And this can lead to a feeling of inner emptiness and chronic depression. The emotional climate of our home and family life growing up can be the greatest cause of lifelong interpersonal childhood trauma which paves the way for addictive behaviour.
My guests this week are:
Esmée Chengapen - a Relational Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist (UKCP registered) and EMDR practitioner. She specialises in childhood trauma and grief and this includes individuals who have been traumatised as a result of living with family members who are or were heavily reliant on alcohol or drugs. She worked in the corporate world for 25 years before making the transition to working full-time as a therapist.
Sophie Seale is a Jungian psychoanalyst and has worked in Luxembourg for more than 25 years. She specialises in early childhood trauma and has thus extensive experience with the addictive tendencies traumatised adults fall back upon in order to prop up their damaged egos. She also works with couples.
Drew Puxty studied Neuropsychology and worked at the U-Center near Maastricht. This is a centre where English-speaking patients resident in Luxembourg are sent for intensive therapy treatment for addiction issues among others. Although Drew is not based in Luxembourg, he knows quite a lot about extreme addiction cases from the country.
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