Dr. Nicole Kosanke is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Family Services at CMC:NYC, where she specializes in the assessment and treatment of substance use disorders in individuals and families. Dr. Kosanke works in the research and clinical practice of treating substance use disorders and utilizes the principles of CRAFT, MI, and CBT in different therapeutic modalities and resources. She co-authored the award-winning book, Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change, and also contributed to The 20 Minute Guide: A Guide for Parents about How to Help their Child Change their Substance Use. Dr. Kosanke was also featured in an O, The Oprah Magazine article about her client’s experience in treatment at CMC, which was later published in O’s Big Book of Happiness: The Best of O. She is a member of Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatrists.
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I do this work because it matters to me that more compassion is exercised in the world. With regard to substance use issues, many people struggle and those around them are often in pain watching them struggle. I think on a human level, a lot of suffering comes from disconnection – “I want to help but I don’t know how to.” I want people to have strategies that work and being truly compassionate requires effort, exercise, and grounded-ness. The trainings and strategies we use are all about helping people stay grounded in a way that is respectful to themselves and to those struggling with substance use. There’s only so many people I can reach from a therapists office. It feels good to make a positive difference in the world by spreading these skills beyond one-on-one interactions.
Something remarkable about these trainings is that when people realize they are in a safe group that understands them, they begin demonstrating tremendous courage and vulnerability. Often, people will share something that they’ve never told anyone before: something they’re ashamed of, something they witnessed that was scary, something they’ve been holding on to that they haven’t let go of. These moments bring a sense of hope and possibility to me. Despite the fact many participants don’t know each other when they first walk in the room, they slowly begin to share difficult feelings. Our trainings connect people in a way that forms a path forward with less shame, a stronger sense of self-efficacy, and the skills to make a change.
I would encourage them to develop a visceral awareness to the fact that they are not alone. I would ask them to push past any impulse to isolate themselves because the idea that there is no way to help, isn’t on that is true. There are things you can do to help yourself and others that will cause positive change.