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Winston is a 20 year old of Mauritian background and was referred to counselling via a caseworker at a migrant community organisation. Winston was referred for support regarding his polysubstance cocaine and alcohol use.
At the time of assessment, Winston reported using cocaine weekly, starting when he was 17 years old, alcohol when he was 13 years old. He had been using more cocaine recently and on most weekends. Winston reported a period of a few weeks of regular cocaine use but had ceased prior to assessment and reported no further use. Winston stated he liked to use drugs in order to relieve his stress, physical cravings and to have ‘a good time’.
Winston identified a significant relationship breakdown in the past with his parents. His parents moved countries while Winston stayed in Mauritius with his uncle. He disclosed that this was a traumatic experience and he built up resentment towards his parents. Winston reported feelings of boredom and an inability to manage his drug use. Winston stated his partner is expecting a baby and his goal is to be ‘clean’ before his newborn arrives. Winston has been engaged with SydWest Multicultural Service’s community programs, namely their soccer program.
After the initial assessment, a treatment plan was developed with the primary goal of reducing Winston’s cocaine use. Winston wanted to explore ways to reduce his use, as well as the impact on his moods and his motivation to meet his goals to be ready for his newborn. Winston discussed also wanting to increase his feeling of self-worth.
Following the initial assessment, Winston further explored his traumatic upbringing and how it affects his presence in his house and his relationships with his family. Winston’s support network includes his partner, older brother and caseworker.
In working with this client several therapeutic interventions were employed including:
Psycho-education: Presenting factual information to the client on cocaine and alcohol use so he may make informed decisions on his use.
Mindfulness-based techniques: mindfulness-based activities were used to increase Winston’s emotional regulation and lower his overall emotional arousal levels.
Motivational interviewing: supporting the client to strengthen his desire to reduce drug use
Relapse prevention techniques: a relapse prevention plan and harm minimization strategies were utilized
Winston’s attitude toward his use of cocaine shifted during the course of his counselling engagement. Winston learned to develop a greater understanding of the impact of drug use on his emotional, mental and physical wellbeing as well as an increased ability to manage the triggers to his drug use.
After motivational interviewing, Winston developed a deeper understanding of his behaviours and cocaine use. During counselling, Winston and the counsellor worked towards repairing his relationship with his father and mother.
Winston was active in removing his triggers around his home and he worked on mindfulness breathing exercises and recorded audio for him to utilise in his spare time.
Winston continues to engage in therapy in order to maintain the significant changes he has made.