The elephant in the room? The question of addiction as it relates to drug/alcohol use and sexual behaviours: raising the issue with patients

Steve Barlow
Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor in Private Practice

Addiction. Arguably one of the most contentious, controversial and even reviled constructs known to humankind. Whether we embrace the multi-dimensional ‘disease’ model favoured by classic 12-step philosophy (Alcoholics Anonymous et al.) [2], the medical model with a focus on biological and genetic factors [2], or one of the therapeutic hypotheses which I will reference at times throughout, it is a construct that can stir defensiveness, debate and denial in individuals and communities alike. However, addiction (as I understand it) is known to me both as a professional and personally, and I will integrate my experience of them both in the hope that I can provide at the very least a backdrop of information, ideas and reflections that may be of use to you in your work and life beyond. For the sake of clarity, please take it as a given that this article is focused upon addiction as a specific and very real phenomenon, a million miles away from those individuals who choose to use substances and/or alcohol and feel that their use remains both an option and controlled. Read more. . .