Drug Rehabilitation Counseling
The bulk of the care provided in a drug rehab program comes in the form of counseling. In fact, people who enroll in a program like this might spend a significant amount of time just talking about addiction, and they might do so for months on end. For example, in a study in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers outline a cocaine therapy program that involves 60 sessions stretching over a period of six months. It may sound like overkill, but in reality, counseling can make a big difference for people with addictions, as these sessions can address the source of the problem, and provide people with the skills they’ll need to correct the behaviors that have brought about the drug dependence.
How Does Drug Rehabilitation Counseling Help?
While all drugs are physically addictive to some degree, it is the psychological addiction that can causes so many individuals to relapse. Drug rehabilitation counseling addresses these psychological barriers to recovery and helps retrain the way the individual thinks and makes decisions. By incorporating these new lines of thinking into their everyday lives, the individual is able to overcome the strongest elements of drug addiction.
There are four major types of drug rehabilitation counseling:
- Individual counseling. During individual counseling, the patient will meet in one-on-one sessions with their counselor or therapist. These sessions are private and generally last about an hour. During individual counseling, the therapist will explore the patient’s background in an effort to find the root causes for the drug addiction. Then, counselor and patient will work together to discover effective ways to make better decisions about drug use.
- Group counseling. During drug rehabilitation, the recovering addict also has a chance to meet with fellow patients during group counseling sessions. These sessions are all about sharing experiences and providing support for one another. Because so many addicts often live in isolation with their drug problem, this process can be intimidating at first. However, the sheer release of talking to other people who have been through the same experiences can provide an amazing breakthrough.
- Family counseling. When an individual develops a drug addiction, they are not the only one who sees their life negatively impacted as a result. Often, the addict’s family suffers too. Family counseling is an opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about addiction, and the group can find new ways to communicate with one another. Also, counselors and therapists can provide family members with strategies that will help the recovering addict stay on the right path when treatment is complete.
- Skill building. Staying sober in the face of relentless temptation means flexing muscles of self-control that may have been weakened by drug abuse. For example, a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that feelings of depression tended to produce a profound craving for opiates in addicts in recovery. They wanted and needed these drugs, and they may not have the skills to resist the call. Therapy can help, as counselors can provide addicts in recovery with a sophisticated toolkit they can use in order to combat their triggers. Meditation, visualization, positive self-talk and more all might be a part of a person’s relapse prevention skill set.
People who have a mental illness in addition to addiction might spend time in therapies that specifically target their conditions. Those who have anxiety, for example, might work with a counselor on stress reduction techniques, so they can face the target of their fear without losing control. Those who have schizophrenia, on the other hand, might focus on spotting the warning signs of relapse, as well as the importance of taking medications, so they can move forward without falling prey to either mental illness or addiction. These sessions might be incorporated into the drug addiction sessions the person already has scheduled or they might be added to the program, increasing the time commitment the person is expected to make.
Preparing for Counseling
In general, counseling is considered both safe and effective, and there’s little that patients need to do to get ready for the work. But focusing on a positive attitude might be vital, as those individuals who stay positive during counseling tend to learn and grow in each session. Recovering addicts who are standoffish or who refuse to participate in group sessions are doing themselves a disservice, as they’re closing their minds to the lessons the therapist is trying to convey. Accepting the potential benefits of the process itself allows the recovering addict to see things from a new perspective, and it is this added perspective that can lead to wellness and recovery.
If you’d like to learn more, we’re here to help. Michael’s House is a residential drug treatment facility located in Palm Springs, California. Mixing modern treatment styles with the finest holistic care, Michael’s House is able to provide patients with a powerful integrated treatment that enriches the mind, body and spirit. Contact us today for more information.
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