Addiction Recovery

Top 3 Substance Abuse Counseling Techniques Patients Should Be Aware Of

November 22, 2021

Check out this article to learn more about substance abuse counseling techniques and other related theories.

Substance abuse can and will affect anyone, whether you’re a curious teen pressured by peers or a patient under medication. Whatever the case, if you irresponsibly consume drugs and alcohol, you can expect your life to take a turn for the worse.

Because of the effects of the substance and substance abuse, your physical and mental health will rapidly decline. More than that, your priorities shift to drugs or alcohol, resulting in damaged social and behavioral health, which ultimately means distancing from friends and family.

But even though substance abuse and addiction are detrimental to your life, it’s not the end. With the plethora of treatments available, like substance abuse counseling, you can pick yourself up and start again.

substance abuse counseling
Source: Pexels

What Is Substance Abuse Counseling? 

Of the many substance abuse treatments out there, counseling is a simple yet effective method. In essence, counseling is a type of therapy that combines treatment methods and support to help people break free from substance use disorder (SUD).

Often, alcohol and substance abuse counseling is a part of a more extensive rehab program so people can physically, mentally, and emotionally overcome their addiction. They will work with a licensed counselor to address mental health and behavior pattern issues and go over additional treatment options.

Activities and topics under counseling include:

  • Talk therapy sessions
  • Discussing causes of addiction
  • Creating and developing treatment goals and plans
  • Establishing positive coping strategies
  • Practicing positive skills and behaviors for recovery

Goals and Objectives Of Substance Abuse Counseling

Like in any medical setting, the patient’s personal safety is a priority in counseling. Ultimately, addiction counseling aims to not only stop you from using and abusing the substance but to get you back to everyday living.

To get you started, a full psychological evaluation will be conducted, and then a medical detox to rid your body of the drugs or alcohol. Once stabilized, you can start to work with your counselor to define your goals and objectives for therapy.

These goals and objectives will be based on your:

  • Mental health
  • Social needs
  • Long-term goals for recovery
  • Situational threats to your ability to stay sober

After setting your goals, you can begin to work on the emotional and psychological concerns that influence your addiction.

substance abuse counselors
Source: Unsplash

What Do Substance Abuse Counselors Do?

They go by many names depending on the state they’re in. But substance abuse or addiction counselors are licensed professionals who have training in psychology, human behavior, therapeutic methods, and chemical dependency.

Addiction counselors work one-on-one with their patients to help them with their SUD. Together, they will work with and on the complexities and causes of the disorder, as well as develop goals and strategies for recovery and sobriety-- all in a safe, confidential, and compassionate setting.

The primary goal of substance abuse counselors is to stop their patients from using the substance and getting their patient to function normally again in society. They do this by helping their patients understand their SUD and reshape their thoughts, beliefs, and habits to cater to sobriety.

Because addiction is a complex disease to tackle, counselors must check several boxes. On top of in-depth education and knowledge on the topic, they need to be able to work with compassion, patience, and sensitivity.

What Are Substance Abuse Counseling Theories?

In 2013, a research paper by Nora J. See from Southern Illinois University Carbondale titled Models and Theories of Addiction and the Rehabilitation Counselor discussed models and theories on addiction rehab. Here are two of them.

  1. Psychological and Character Logical Model

This model centers on what takes place that leads up to the start of using substances rather than biological factors -nurture vs. nature. What makes people start using drugs must be psychologically motivated, making everyone vulnerable to addiction.

This theory says that “a character defect and a learned behavior is addiction.” Also, “an abnormal character or personality trait is what causes a person to become dependent on chemicals.”

For people with SUDs due to emotional, psychological, and learning deficiencies, behavior and psychological therapies are the treatments needed.

  1. Coping Models

Coping is a way to handle the stress that allows you to recover balance. Coping strategies that deal with the problem aim to change or manage the stressor. In contrast, strategies that center on emotion seek to control or alleviate the emotional influence of the stressor.

An example of the latter is drinking alcohol. Since alcohol works faster than actually dealing with stressful events, it becomes the chosen coping method.

If this is the case, people abstaining from alcohol should discuss their triggers with their counselor and use healthier coping techniques.

More than that, counselors should inform their clients of other different and  increase their self-efficacy by staying away front the substance through other management skills.

counseling techniques
Source: Pexels

What are Counseling Techniques For Substance Abuse?

There are many different types of treatments and programs suited for different cases. Below are the best types of therapy that treat substance abuse and addiction.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is arguably the most popular therapy in treating SUDs. This type of therapy focuses on teaching you how to reduce problematic behaviors associated with addiction and substance abuse.

A key theme in CBT is identifying triggers, anticipating triggering situations, and applying coping strategies.

In CBT sessions, you will learn to identify and recognize detrimental behavior then modify it with various skills and techniques. Additionally, you will identify the underlying causes of your behavior and addiction so you can fix it at the root.

You’ll also find out your triggers and learn how to recognize them so you can develop strategies to handle those kinds of situations.

  1. Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectal behavioral therapy is particularly ideal for those who struggle to regulate their emotions and have harmful thoughts.

DBT highlights accepting these uncomfortable behaviors, thoughts, and feelings so you can overcome them.

Activities and techniques under DBT emphasize relaxation and allow you to become more aware of your emotions and thoughts. You will learn skills like muscle relaxation and controlled breathing to manage your self-destructive thoughts, urges, and habits.

DBT aims to lessen the severity and decrease the frequency of harmful behavior and encourage positive change.

  1. Group Therapy

Although most counseling techniques are one-on-one, group therapy is also a viable method to treat substance abuse and is even relatively common. In group therapy, addiction counselors work with a group of patients who are most likely in recovery. 

Although what happens in group therapy is not set in stone, the basic idea of it is that members of the group help each other, in addition to what the counselors offer.

What you’ll learn isn’t necessarily direct advice from fellow patients. Most of the time, just listening to their stories and relating to their struggles is therapy enough.

Source: Freepik

Substance abuse and addiction is not a death sentence. There are ways you can overcome that illness and one of which is substance abuse counseling. If your recovery is in the hands of capable and compassionate professionals, the different counseling techniques can get patients back to society and live a normal life. 

You don’t have to go through it alone. Start your healing and turn to Another Chance Drug & Alcohol Rehab Center of Portland. You can visit us at 12670 NW Barnes Rd Suite 200, Portland, OR 97229. You may also contact us at 971-269-8124.

Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. This blog aims not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case-to-case basis.