3 Methods Of Addiction Counseling: Discover How Each Approach May Work For You

If you or a loved one has been struggling with a chemical dependency, seeking help through professional counseling or a treatment and recovery center, such as Olalla Recovery Centers, is a good course of action. For those with no prior experience dealing with such a situation, however, it may help to understand what is involved in treatment and what methods are often employed. Whether you or your loved one seek individual treatment or group therapy, on an outpatient basis or in a residential setting, treatment methods may vary. The following examples may help you comprehend the common methods of professional intervention and how it may help the chemically dependent individual:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often employed during individual drug and alcohol counseling, although it may be utilized in group therapy sessions as well. A major step in cognitive behavioral therapy is helping the individual recognize his or her negative behaviors that are often a contributing factor in one's struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Recognizing the triggers and destructive patterns is necessary in treating the problem of a chemical dependency. Once those behaviors are identified, the individual may focus on alternate ways of dealing with cravings and negative thoughts and actions.

The counselor may suggest the use of a notebook that includes various exercises, along with a log or journal that records the person's progress. In this written journal, the individual may jot down his or her thoughts, weaknesses and setbacks, as well as recording positive measures to combat them. This often helps the individual focus on the tendencies or bad habits that need to be corrected, as well as understanding how the negative patterns were overcome.

2. Contingency Management (CM) Therapy

What is contingency management? Think of this approach as a reward system for overcoming those negative impulses that impede one's progress. In this strategy, the individual may also be disciplined or "punished" for negative behaviors. Those who are punished for negative behaviors are often less likely to repeat those patterns in the future. Conversely, when rewarded for positive behaviors, there is more incentive to stay on the right track and accomplish one's goals.

During CM management, counselors may utilize various reward systems. For instance, a certificate or token may be given when the individual has passed a drug screening or breathalyzer test, as well as completing assignments or meeting specific goals. Receipts or vouchers may reward the individual with a "prize," such as some type of entertainment ticket or discount coupon for purchases at a retail store. This type of treatment usually involves several weeks to be completed.

3. Family or Couples Counseling for Addiction

Because chemical dependencies often affect relationships with loved ones, it is often helpful for the entire family or significant other to become involved in a therapy program. This may help reinforce bonds with loved ones while providing a strong support system for the addicted individual. At the same time, partners or family members may learn how to encourage the individual while overcoming their struggle. Loved ones may be shown how to intervene when negative thoughts or behaviors take place. If the individual is a minor, the parent or guardian may be taught how to establish goals or "house rules" as well as reinforce the consequences of not meeting these goals.

The above mentioned treatment options in chemical dependency counseling are just a few steps to recovery. While one approach may be successful for some, other individuals may find success through different means. A trained counselor will work with the individual to set up a treatment or therapy program designed to help him or her overcome the battle.