Problem Behaviour Counseling

Problem Behaviour Counselling Services in Calgary

Stepping into counselling is a big step, so congratulations on getting to this point. By now, you likely have some suspicion (if not total clarity) that your substance use or behaviour engagement has become unmanageable, and you would like to explore treatment for this further. Below is information about how Sana Psychological may be able to support you in your journey.
Woman with her palm on her head while talking to a therapist.

The Short Story

At Sana Psychological, we work with behaviour problems of all manifestations.
This counselling involves an initial session or two to get to know you and determine treatment planning and recommendations, which will include self-management strategies as well as community support. Sessions are also available for family members and loved ones who are open to supporting boundaries, self-care and communication.

The Long Story

Our counselling starts with an initial session to get to know you and your situation.
This session will help determine treatment planning, including creating self-management strategies, problem-solving skills, and community support. Sessions can occur in person or virtually (by phone or video). Fees are $220/50 minute session. Treatment can be short-term (3-6 months) or long-term (6 months +), depending on need and preference. Behavioural problems are treated as a chronic condition of the brain, and sessions are a combination of process and psychoeducational support to appreciate the difference between you and the unhealthy part of your brain. Sessions are also available for a family member and loved one who is open to supporting boundaries, self-care and communication with affected young children, elderly, friends, or other family members.

At Sana Psychological, Paige Abbott (Registered Psychologist) works with problem behaviours of any manifestation.

Follow-up sessions will be a combination of processing where you are, what you have been trying and doing, what is/is not helping, exploration of certain triggers and vulnerabilities, building of strengths and resources through accountability and feedback. Paige Abbott endorses and encourages participation in problem behaviour recovery community support groups, whether that be 12-Step programs, SMART Recovery, Recovery Dharma, or any other support groups you come across to aid you in your journey.

A major part of Counselling is the exploration of relationships and feelings, as these tend to drive a lot of the fuel that supports compulsion. Therefore, you can anticipate that exploring these areas will constitute part of the counselling process. Initially, we will focus on stabilization and immediate needs for health and safety, including looking at detoxification supports if needed. As stabilization occurs, a more in-depth exploration of the underlying roots and drivers of problematic behaviours can happen.

External Referrals

Sometimes people require more intensive problem behaviour treatment programs than what can be provided in outpatient counselling.
If this is the case for you or if it is determined you would benefit from more intensive treatment, Sana Psychological can provide referrals to suitable rehab programs at treatment facilities. As mentioned above, encouragement may also be made to check out community and mutual support groups, as peer support for recovery is incredibly important. Sana Psychological is here to help you start your journey of recovery as well as for continuing care. If you have been in recovery for years and are looking to continue furthering your well-being journey, please reach out.
Man and woman sitting across from one another.

Sana Psychological’s Approach
To Problem Behaviours

Paige Abbott has worked in problem behaviour disorder treatment since 2011 and has come to strongly appreciate that problem behaviours are about the brain and genetics more than it is about the specific behaviours (these are just symptoms).
In a nutshell, the understanding is that risk for problem behaviours is created at the level of genetics.

Becomes triggered or activated by the environment, exposure, stress, and/or trauma


Starts to show up in certain areas initially (often relationships, food, media, early substance use)


Over time progresses and impacts all areas of life, including memory and motivation.

The treatment plan becomes about stabalizing acute physical health and substance risks, followed by getting to know what problem behaviours look like and how it operates inside of you. Encouraged recovery is to look at various coping mechanisms, including physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, financial, and cultural health.

Paige is the co-author of three books related to problem behaviours that she would encourage you to check out to learn more about this approach to Counselling. These books are ‘Addiction is Addiction,’ ‘Addiction is Addiction Workbook‘ and ‘Love, the Drug.

Two people holding their hands together.

For loved ones

Sessions are also available for family members and loved ones who are concerned about someone else’s problem behaviours and are open to exploring support for themselves. Typically this support will involve learning about you, the challenges and strengths you carry, and the exploration of boundaries, self-care, and healthy communication.

Additional points

Unsure if you have problem behaviours? Sana Psychological can help you assess and determine where you are currently at and provide support suggestions to meet you wherever you are in your health and wellness journey.


Counselling Calgary sessions are offered in-person and using Technology Assisted Counselling for those in Alberta and New Brunswick at the time of appointment. Session fee is $220/50 minute session and can be short or long-term support for those new to or experienced in recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: I operate from the perspective that behavioural problems are a primary, chronic issue of the brain, and it is not about the individual behaviours to which the brain becomes attached. Problem behaviour therapy allows us to explore all aspects of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that have a negative impact on you. I work with parents, children, teenagers and adults who struggle with alcohol, drugs, spending, sex, relationships, gambling, codependency, love, work, food, body image, as well as chronic challenges with feelings (over feeling or under feeling), intrusive and problematic thoughts, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, self-esteem and low motivation-all of which are common symptoms of behaviour problems.

A: Behaviour problems are a primary (meaning not caused by anything), chronic (meaning it is long-lasting) brain issue (meaning that the brain is the organ that is malfunctioning). The reward circuitry is not functioning properly in individuals with behaviour problems and makes it difficult for them to refrain from impulsive, compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. These problems primarily come from genetics (60-70%) with environment, exposure to substances, trauma, and external circumstances contributing to the rest of its manifestation.

A: There is no fixed period of time for counselling. Some people come for a few sessions to learn some new tools and/or to establish a recovery platform that they can execute outside of sessions. Others like to come for longer-term counselling that usually starts off as more intense (sessions every 1-3 weeks), followed by periodic problem behaviour counsellor check-ins to ensure maintenance of progress and recovery.

A: Recovery can feel overwhelming, which is why I encourage and support people in finding the recovery platform and lifestyle that suits their needs. We will explore how nutrition, rest, exercise, connection, peer support, medication, spirituality, emotional coping can fit into your life, and whether to pursue abstinence or harm reduction. I meet people where they are at, we establish goals together and move towards those using whatever tools and strategies are appropriate to help you get there.

A: Yes. Family members can attend joint appointments to learn more about behaviour problems and how to support their loved ones. They can also attend appointments on their own to process their own thoughts, emotions, and issues, as well as pursue their own recovery.

A: Sessions are $220/50-minute appointments. If you have insurance benefits, the whole or a portion of the session fee may be covered as services are provided by Paige Abbott, who is a Registered Psychologist.

A: Appointments can be booked online, by calling Paige, or by email. No referral is required.

A: I do not identify as a person in recovery as I have not identified significant problem behaviours in my life to date. I recognize that there are mental health problems in my family lineage and, therefore, I am at risk for problem behaviour. Because of this, I live according to the principles that I encourage others to follow. For me, this means abstinence from all mood-altering substances (inclusive of alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, and as little pure sugar as possible), as well as thoughtfulness around nutrition, body movement, rest, self-care, as well as engagement with tools like meditation, journaling, play/fun, connection with extra support, balance and boundaries. I believe that my professional experience can serve you well in your recovery journey and complement any peer support you are receiving or would be interested in seeking out.