The Liberation Place

The Liberation Place was created by me, Steven Morris and I am a registered psychotherapist in the province of Ontario in Canada. This means that I'm not a doctor. And while I am not qualified to give you any type of mental health diagnoses or prescribe you any kind of medication, I can provide education, counselling, coaching, and talk therapy, based on all the different areas that I have been trained in. Along with a university education, I bring an extensive number of certified studies in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Schema Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I am a Certified SMART Recovery Facilitator, and, over the last decade, I have been developing my own personal practice of mindfulness and meditation. I have spent time gaining experience in the field by working in Residential treatment for people with addiction and mental health issues. I have worked on Street outreach programs, Assertive Community Treatment teams, and as a counsellor, therapist, and team lead for Addiction Services at The Canadian Mental Health Association in the City of Brampton. 

But for me, one of the most important things that I bring to any conversation about behaviour change, which includes the one we are about to embark on, is my own lived experience with addiction and mental health.  I spent the better part of 20 years living an addictive lifestyle. I was addicted to several different substances, but primarily my choices revolved around alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines. However, there were many different substances, and processes, that I also had issues with over the years, and my addictive behaviour patterns created countless problems in my relationships, my employment, obviously my finances, along with my physical and mental health, some of which I continue working through to this day. 

Once I recognised that I was addicted to substances, I spent years trying to develop and then live my own version of a recovery lifestyle, trying to do all the things I was being told to do. I was  never able to go more than a few weeks without reverting to old behaviours. I went in and out of 12 step programs, different types of counselling and therapy, and so, so many self-imposed detox programs.  One of the biggest obstacles I faced was that I couldn’t fully embrace the parts of me that were addicted, I didn't want to accept that I couldn't control myself, that I had an addictive aspect to my personality. And I definitely did not understand that my addictions were not the problem.

In fact, one of the most significant turning points in my own personal journey was the moment I understood (seemingly all at once as if a light bulb went on) that all my addictive and compulsive behaviour patterns were actually not the problems I needed to fix, instead, they were the solutions I applied to every problem I’d ever had. I discovered that underneath my addictive and compulsive behaviour patterns was my inability to cope with my own emotional state, an emotional state, I later learned, that developed in response to of all my unmet childhood needs. Until that moment, I had expended all my energy trying to wrestle with my solutions.

As a result of taking hold of this idea for the first time, and with a lot of hard work, I was finally able to turn my attention to dealing with the feelings that I used substances and processes to cope with, and step differently into a recovery lifestyle.  I must be honest; I was white knuckling it until that point and faking my way through at first. Slowly, this change of focus grew into a solid set of ideas and practices of how to build a successful and effective life that I actually wanted to live, and not a life I wanted to escape from.

This took time, a lot of soul searching, acceptance and forgiveness for myself and others, learning to be accountable and letting go of resentments, and as I said before, an absolute boat load of hard work -- even though I really didn't want to do it. Over the years, I found myself sitting in a space of anger and resentment for the fact that I was the one who had to do this work in the first place: Why was life so unfair? If only others saw things the way that I wanted them to, everything in my world would be just peachy…. I had to work on changing my perceptions about myself, other people, and life in general. The Liberation Place comes out of my journey so far, what I bring to the conversation is the point of view of lived experience coupled with education and training.  My approach is not textbook driven instead it is grounded in living the very skills I teach every single day.

Over the years, I have been exposed to, trained in, and successfully implemented in my own journey of behaviour change, a number of different therapeutic modalities. My ability to change the way I was behaving started out as sheer chaos: I was desperately trying to get through another 24 hours without the skills I needed to do so successfully. I completed the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but never truly got to a place of accepting the whole “Higher Power” piece of the program. Using the steps as a way of life did help me for a while though, and I was able to generate a life that was designed around maintaining my sobriety. However, I constantly felt like something was missing. I wanted to explore this further. So, in my late 30’s, I decided to go back to school -- which was challenging to say the least.

Eventually, after a period of schooling, which is an ongoing journey for me, I started working in the field of addiction and mental health, primarily in a series of jobs as a counsellor in different residential treatment facilities. It was during this time I was introduced to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, then Schema Therapy, and ultimately Internal Family Systems Therapy. All of which completely revolutionized the way I live my life and took me beyond the Recovery Lifestyle I had created, into Living the life I wanted to live.

The intention for this website, the online programs, groups, and the social media platform attached to it,  is to build your understanding for the work you need to do to establish the behaviour change you are trying to create. Everything I address here is built around the training I received, and the work that I have done myself, and continue to do every day, to get out of old behaviour patterns and into a life worth living. The skills in this program got me going in the direction I needed to go, I hope it does the same for you.