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Addiction counseling is by no means a fix-all solution, but simply part of the larger overall picture of addiction treatment and drug rehab. This “talk therapy,” as it is commonly called, will come into play in the rehabilitation phase, after detoxification has occurred and the patient is lucid enough to make decisions and speak coherently. It often involves many open-ended questions to engage the patient in the process.
The addiction counseling sessions may be the first time patients have ever heard anyone direct words of confidence or encouragement towards them. Addiction counseling essentially serves as a means of re-building a life from the ground up. The patient will hopefully identify and root out negative life influences, be it friends or living accomodations. They will learn about the cycle of addiction and use methods like positive affirmations to overcome it.
Addiction counseling is also valuable in the continuing care phase of addiction treatment. This is normally a six- to twelve-month phase following the completion of the rehabilitation program. It is during this time when the patient may experience the greatest vulnerability to a possible relapse.
Addiction counseling can provide a stabilizing force, an anchor of sorts to keep the patient grounded in the principles they learned during their rehabilitation process. “Talk therapy” can help dissuade patients from succumbing to the negative influences that misled them in the past. It will continue helping them learn and grow, building upon the fundamental principles they have already implemented and supporting them in building positive, enriching, healthy lives.
Types of Addiction Counseling
Addiction counseling can come in the form of intensely faith-based programs, often under the guidance of clergy, for instance. For drug and alcohol addictions, however, it can be particularly beneficial to seek addiction counseling from trained, licensed professionals who know the process of recovery inside and out. It is also beneficial to find a therapist who has experience treating recovering addicts of the same drug.
Addiction counseling is often referred to as “talk therapy,” consisting of a sort of hashing out of the issues and forming a game-plan for change. Addiction therapy, however, has to do more with the deep, underlying psychological and physiological motivations behind behavior and the psychological tricks to control that behavior in the future.
Generally all forms of addiction counseling or therapy will focus on positive reinforcement and self-empowerment. These techniques, along with the involvement of family or friends and an organized recovery support group, are particularly important when the patient is recovering from an addiction to stimulants like cocaine or meth.
A particularly important aspect of addiction counseling is educating the patient about the cycle of addiction, and then getting at the root problem in the patient’s life that launched the cycle in the first place. Why do they crave these addictive substances? What can be done to prevent a future relapse into substance abuse?
The addiction counseling expert will empower the person to root out negative life influences when possible, help them identify the issue at the center of their addiction and teach them how to responsibly cope with that issue and other stresses in the future.
When the expert accomplishes this through the use of such tools as motivational interviewing, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, addiction counseling sessions can be productive and powerful indeed.
Let’s narrow down the counselors focus for this article to only drugs and alcohol. Just as the unique categories of addictions require differing forms of treatment, so do diverse types of drugs. Although OxyContin, Xanax and Ambien are prescription medications, they can be as equally addictive as the street varieties of heroin, ecstasy, crack and cocaine. Whether they are illegal drugs or prescribed medications, each drug has a unique withdrawal pattern with long and short term effects and symptoms. Factors such as age, gender, culture, combinations of addictions, the reason for taking the drug initially, religious conviction, denial, post traumatic stress disorder, trauma issues, family dynamics, support systems and unresolved family issues are all aspects of client care that counselors will need to understand prior to beginning therapy with the addict.
Types of Addiction counseling available to those in search of drug rehabilitation services may vary slightly according to the environment of treatment, but almost all are based on psychotherapy principles. These are techniques geared toward restructuring a person’s habits, behavioral patterns and psychological problems in order to empower the addict to make appropriate changes in their life that can lead to freedom from their dependencies.
Counseling involves a lot of talking and interaction either on an individual basis or in a group therapy session. It is common to begin with the one-on-one counseling and progress to the larger group therapy and support group settings. Many, if not most, ministers, priests, pastors, deacons and reverends are trained in addiction counseling for those looking for a spiritual influence in their quest for drug and alcohol free living.
It is possible that the counselor will also include the family unit and the person(s) who are most responsible for enabling the addiction to persist. These individuals will also be trained in methods to support the addict through the recovery stage, even while in a drug rehab program, and onto a bright future without chemical dependency issues.
You can become addicted to most anything if that anything begins to abnormally control your physical and mental being. If you alter your life in drastic ways to fill a craving, exhibit repetitive chain behavior or develop unusually strong desires that are unhealthy for your body, your mind or to others, then you may be experiencing an addiction. For those observing another person who displays an addictive pattern, understand that the addict is normally the last to recognize or admit the problem.
The Freedom Treatment Center has the Most Successful addiction counseling program in the nation. Three out of four students graduate the program addiction free and stay that way.
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