Counseling for Shopping Addiction Rutland VT

Counseling looks at the specific problem of shopping addiction and creates an action plan to stop the behavior. Targeted counseling for this problem alters the negative actions of the behavior and concurrently works toward healing the underlying emotions, although less emphasis is placed on exploring the emotional significance of the compulsive act than in traditional individual psychotherapy. Read for more.

Rutland Mental Health Services
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Wallingford, VT

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Leardi, Diane
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Counseling for Shopping Addiction

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Counseling for Shopping Addiction

Dr. April Benson - 9/12/2007

Counseling looks at the specific problem of shopping addiction and creates an action plan to stop the behavior. Targeted counseling for this problem alters the negative actions of the behavior and concurrently works toward healing the underlying emotions, although less emphasis is placed on exploring the emotional significance of the compulsive act than in traditional individual psychotherapy. Counselors who work with shopaholics often refer their clients to traditional psychotherapists when the severity of the related emotional issues goes beyond the expertise of the counselor. With certain clients, the combination of counseling, psychotherapy, and/or Debtors Anonymous goes several steps beyond the work of any one of these methods alone.

The major premise of counseling for shopaholics is the idea that insight alone will not stop the behavior. All stages in the shopping addiction cycle must be identified—the triggers, the feelings, the dysfunctional thoughts, the behavior, the consequences of the behavior, and the meaning of the shopping addiction. The client needs to learn how to work with each stage in the cycle so that he or she gains more control of the problem. In this sense, counseling for shopaholics is similar to counseling for alcohol and drug abuse. However, recovery from a shopping addiction is different and, in some ways more complicated: with alcohol and drugs, abstinence is possible, and is often the treatment goal, but it is impossible to abstain from buying, from using money.

Counseling for shopaholics sets out to address the entire scope of the problem. It helps the client answer such questions as these:
How and when did the shopping addiction begin?
What form does it take? Is it shopping on the Internet, from catalogues, on TV, in stores? Is it done on holidays? When buying gifts? In the service of a "collection"?
What emotions underlie the shopping addiction? (Boredom? Loneliness? Anger? Anxiety?)
Is it a means to self-soothe?
Is it done to try to enhance self-esteem or feel more socially desirable?
Do you shop to enliven yourself because of an internal feeling of deadness?
Is it a response to a change in another addictive behavior?

The possibilities are endless, because each person’s story is different. The central question, however—and the one that shopping addiction counselors are in a unique position to address—is always the same: what can be done to end the shopping addiction? The counseling process has as its goal to break the cycle of the shopping addiction and to create a workable financial structure, one that will enhance, rather than erode, a client’s quality of life. In order to do this, some of the underlying emotional turmoil must be dealt with, from both historical and current perspectives. There are multiple stages in recovery from shopping addiction, and counseling also has to proceed in a step-wise fashion. Admitting where you stand ...

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