CITY ADDICTIONS

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Dr Stephen Higgins

Chartered Psychologist

Experience

I’m a chartered clinical psychologist and have worked widely across different NHS services including adult mental health, neuropsychology and in clinical health psychology. I’m experienced and skilled in a wide range of psychological concerns and I’ve worked with people experiencing substance and behavioural addictions across all these services.

In my current NHS specialism in clinical health psychology, I work with individuals who present to sexual health services for help with sexual risk taking, sex and porn addiction, club drugs and chemsex, (the use of substances such as amphetamines and alcohol during sex). I also work with people who feel they have developed problems with kink sex or using sex workers. I find the combination of supporting people overcome addictive and compulsive patterns as well as reducing risks to their health and safety particularly rewarding.

As part of my work with people living with long term medical conditions I support people who have become addicted to opiate-based analgesics or who use alcohol, cannabis and other off-prescription medications for pain relief.

Beyond addiction I provide psychological support for people who present with anxiety disorders, depression, relationship difficulties, pain, chronic fatigue and trauma, and I help people rebuild their lives following life-changing experiences and diseases.

Philosophy

I believe that at heart we try to live our lives as best as we can. Our background and the experiences and opportunities that we encounter shape how we make sense of ourselves, others around us and the ways that we live our lives. However, sometimes we can find ourselves thinking and acting in ways that seem contrary to our ideals, particularly when we find ourselves using addictive substances and behaviours in our everyday lives. In these situations it can be helpful to make sense of things with someone who holds a humane and independent viewpoint, and who can help us make changes towards living in the way that we’d like to.

The therapeutic relationship is the foundation from which all else is built and means stepping into your world view so that we can build a fuller understanding of your concerns. Fundamentally I believe that any therapy needs to be based upon the values that are important to you and the relationships that you want with yourself and those around you.

I’ve found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a useful approach to help you identify your addictive patterns and find ways to minimise the effects of these over you. Sometimes, more difficult experiences and deeper relationships with ourselves and others underlie addiction and compulsive behaviours. I use Cognitive Analytic Therapy to help with this as a way to link our distant past with our present day coping and addictive patterns. I also use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for addictive behaviours, as it provides ideal skills for coping with addictive patterns whilst focusing on building the life that we want.

Striving to understand ourselves is an intrinsic part of being a person. Most people come to therapy trying to make sense of and repair their difficult experiences, and repair the consequences of these for themselves and their loved ones. I came to work within psychological therapy as it has shown me that it is one of the most important ways that people can find understanding and create the changes that they want in their lives.

QUALIFICATIONS

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
MSc Mental Health Studies
PGDip Clinical Neuropsychology
PGDip CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
BSc Psychology