Drug Addiction Counselling

April 9th, 2011

Drug addiction counselling is a specialist field that employs methodologies drawn from several clinical disciplines.  It is practiced across the world by addiction treatment consultants with various professional qualifications but generally follows similar methodologies.
The success rate of drug addiction therapy varies depending on the skill of the counsellor and the motivation with which the patient approaches treatment.
It is often assumed that unless the patient is highly motivated and ‘ready’ to change that drug addiction counselling will be a waste of time. In fact, it’s important to realise that drug addiction is a brain disease and a part of the illness is believing that there’s nothing wrong with them.
Most drug addicted people find incredible ways to rationalise and justify their ongoing drug taking: stress at work, relationship difficulties, a great excuse because each time you challenge them about their drug addiction they can use that stressful event to justify more drug using! Drug addicted people will find any excuse to continue using.
People that become addicted to drugs or alcohol often become very manipulative, playing family members off against one another using a technique known as ‘splitting’. This form of diversion is useful in taking the attention away from their drug addiction.
Quality drug addiction counsellors will be able to identify the ways the patient continues to using unhealthy techniques to protect their addiction and help both the patient and the family to find new healthier ways of coping with the addiction.
Drug addiction counselling has advanced significantly since it was first conceived of as a specialist field.  Until the middle of the last century addicts were stigmatized so severely that there were no facilities for treating them.  Rather they were relegated to psychiatric wards where they received no specific help with their addiction or underlying issues.
Thankfully the development of the 12 step program prompted the medical profession to start re-exploring further treatment methodologies.  When presented with a simple program that was effective in helping even the most desperate addict doctors started to realize that drug addiction counselling could be effective and that there are very few people who cannot recover from addiction.
Over the decades researchers investigating drug addiction counselling have tried different approaches and seeing how the treatment outcome was influenced.  This lead to the idea of “outcomes based” treatment which uses only methods that have been shown to have excellent results.  It is now not uncommon for a patient to remain clean and sober for as long as a researcher stays in touch with them – provided that they were willing to adhere to the principles of the treatment regime.
Addiction is a multi-faceted illness that impacts on all areas of the addicts life.  Nothing is left untouched – relationships, jobs, financial, legal and spiritual areas of life are all negatively influenced.  Drug addiction counselling is therefore a complex field and requires specialist training to be able to untangle these various issues and effectively address each area of life.
Many addicts in treatment become motivated to enter the career of drug addiction counselling.  Whether they are attracted by the prospect of helping addicts or other reasons this decision should not be taken lightly.  They should first discuss with their own addiction counsellor and their 12 step sponsor before embarking on this path.  It can be very difficult to work your own program of recovery and maintain the professionalism required to be effective in drug addiction counselling.
It is therefore strongly suggested that the person be clean and sober for a significant amount of time before entering the field.  This ensures that their own recovery is strong enough and that they themselves have had the chance to experience recovery from addiction in all its fullness, good and bad.
Academic training is important for drug addiction counsellors.  They need to be able to understand the principles of dual diagnosis – where a patient may have an additional psychological diagnosis as well as a diagnosis of addiction.  Drug addiction counselling draws on theory from several disciplines and it is important that the counsellor be familiar with the base theories in order to be able to integrate them into the modern approaches to addiction treatment.  Such academic training would usually start with a degree in Psychology or similar general training.  Following this, the would be counsellor should complete a supervised internship that places academic theory into practice.
After a period of internship under the supervision of an experienced counsellor the trainee may be promoted to a position where (s)he can start taking on their own case load.  Supervision is a necessary ethical requirement and should continue throughout the career of any professional offering drug addiction counselling.
If you feel that your drug addiction is causing your life to become unmanageable please contact one of our treatment coordinators for expert and swift advice in finding the right drug rehab for you.

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