Addiction Counselling

Problem Behaviour Counselling Services

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.

Table of Contents

Woman with her palm on her head while talking to a therapist.

What We Can Help With

At Sana Psychological, we work with problem behaviours of all manifestations with specific specialization in alcohol use, codependency/relationships, gambling, as well as eating disorders and sexual issues.

We recognize that pretty much any aspect of life can become problematic and impact you and your loved ones in a number of ways. We are here to provide non-judgmental, evidence-based support that allows you to move forward and improve your quality of life in meaningful ways.

Our therapists use a variety of treatment approaches to support you in your identified goals, whether that be harm reduction or abstinence.

Determining If You Need Help

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 range from $200-220/50 minute session depending on the provider. 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 family members and loved ones.

At Sana Psychological, our practitioners work with problem behaviours of any manifestation with a specific focus on:

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. Our team members may encourage participation in community support groups, whether that be 12-Step programs, SMART Recovery, Recovery Dharma, or other options. This is not a per-requisite for accessing support and is only one option.

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 or medically focused treatment, Sana Psychological can provide referrals to suitable residential treatment programs.

As mentioned above, encouragement may also be made to check out community and mutual support groups, as peer support for recovery is incredibly important. This might also include community programs and may also include apps for virtual support.

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 to learn more about our Calgary addiction counselling services.

Man and woman sitting across from one another.

Sana Psychological’s Approach
To Problem Behaviours

Through our experience, we have 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 and then:


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.

One of Sana Psychological’s team members, Paige Abbott, 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.


Calgary addiction counselling sessions are offered in-person and using Virtual Counselling for those outside of Calgary. Some of our practitioners are able to work with those throughout Canada. Session fee is $200-220/50 minute session depending on the provider. Treatment can be short or long-term and is available for those new to or experienced in recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: We work with youth and adults who struggle with alcohol, 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 can be primary (meaning not caused by anything) or secondary (meaning caused by other factors, such as trauma). They are often chronic (meaning they are long-lasting) and a brain issue (meaning that the brain is the organ that is malfunctioning). The reward circuitry and other circuits may not be functioning properly in individuals with behaviour problems which makes it difficult 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 we 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. We meet people where they are at, 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 $200-220/50-minute appointment. If you have insurance benefits, the whole or a portion of the session fee may be covered as our clinicians are all trained in Psychology

A: Appointments can be booked online at anytime. You are also welcome to email or phone us. No referral is required.

A: Everyone on our team has their own identification when it comes to this. We do have people within our group who are in recovery. If this is important to you, please reach out and we can direct you appropriately. While not all of our team members identify being in recovery, we aim to practice what we preach by embracing a healthy, holistic lifestyle.