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Tavistock and Portman’s Dr Jo Stubley appears in Matt Willis’s BBC documentary Fighting Addiction

In the raw documentary, Dr Jo Stubley, Consultant Medical Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, meets with Busted’s Matt Willis, who opens up about his struggles with addiction.

Matt tells Jo that despite having done therapy there are things he still hasn’t spoken about.

“I was really scared, you know, being a child…and then kind of became a bit of a robot. I would just shut down,” he says.

Jo says, “What you’re describing is a really understandable survival response to things not feeling safe. If we think about what happens to our minds when we’re under threat and particularly children, you know, if something awful is going on and you can’t run away and you can’t fight, one of the amazing survival techniques we have is our minds go off to be somewhere else.”

Jo then shares some important research with Matt, about the likelihood of forming a addiction.

“There was a large-scale study and they took ten simple questions about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), things like domestic violence at home, parents separating, a parent with addiction, physical abuse, emotional abuse, that kind of thing, and just got people to say yes or no to having had those experiences. They asked over 17,000 people. If you have five or more ACEs, you are somewhere between seven to ten times more likely to have addictions” says Jo.

“It’s not my fault,” Matt says in response. “Yeah, it’s not my fault.”

Following his meeting with Jo, Matt says, “I was terrified of meeting Jo, but she told me things which I now understand, which has changed my perspective on looking at the past.”

Cover image courtesy of the BBC