Aug. 14, 2022 – Peter is a client that often comes to mind.

He is a 39-year-old man who works as an accountant in a small business. He has been married to Amara for 10 years and they have two children, 9-year-old Maya and 7-year-old James. Peter had been referred to my clinic by his GP for assistance with his alcohol and cocaine use, and low mood. This had caused significant marital problems and a recent police charge of driving under the influence and the loss of his license for three months.

Despite heavy drinking for the past seven years, Peter presented for treatment because he was told by his employer to get on top of his alcohol problem or he would lose his job. Like many men I see in the clinic, Peter had been referred several times before, but only with the risk of losing his employment did he keep his appointment. Peter starts by saying, “I don’t think I’m that bad. It’s just work and the wife that seem concerned by my drinking.” I assume that Peter is minimising his problems to appear better than he really is. I don’t challenge him directly, but opt to continue the session. I’ve been taught that rapport building is one of the more important parts of the first session. You can’t treat people if they don’t return. During the assessment, Peter tells me that he is drinking two bottles of wine a night and blames this on financial stressors, arguments with his wife and difficulty connecting with his children. His alcohol intake only became a problem after the birth of his son. At the time, Amara was a stay-at-home mother, and he was working overtime to make ends meet. The drinking was the starting point of several arguments with his wife leading Peter to go out more with his friends, which escalated into weekly cocaine binges.