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Article Summary


Overcoming any type of substance abuse habit or addiction can be significantly challenging, and it is very rarely only about becoming abstinent. Whether someone is abusing alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs, having the ability to really overcome addiction and dependence to drugs or alcohol is a far more involved process which has nothing to do with overcoming acute physical symptoms of addiction. Abstinence only lasts as long as an individual doesn't break; meaning most individuals who don't receive any treatment at all, or only detox from drugs and alcohol, relapse more often than not. Many years of experience and statistics have shown that individuals who discover the causes of their addiction and who make the important lifestyle changes they need to make to remain abstinent have a significantly better chance of maintaining their abstinence. One of the tools used to accomplish this in drug rehab is counseling.

Types of Counseling

Counseling in drug rehab can take many forms, and is an essential aspect of treatment which will be a significant part of just about every treatment plan. Individual counseling, group counseling, and family counseling are types of counseling that the majority of treatment clients will experience and become very familiar with. There is a purpose and goal of each type of counseling approach, each with its own benefits. Counseling can take place in an outpatient drug rehab, and inpatient residential facilities as well. Facilities whose only purpose is to detox clients or provide some sort of opiate maintenance therapy such as methadone or buprenorphine do not typically deliver counseling, because their only purpose is achieve the nearsighted goal of abstinence or help individuals avoid opiate withdrawal in the case of methadone maintenance or other similar programs.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling provides individuals with an opportunity to open up about topics and situations affecting their lives which they may not be willing to talk about in a group setting or amongst their family in family counseling. Some treatment clients may be ashamed of things that want to talk about and resolve with treatment counselors, and individual counseling provides a safe environment for them to let these things out into the open and talk about them. In individual counseling, treatment clients can count on counselors to never judge them and to provide comfort, understanding and offer effective solutions to resolve anything that comes up. Individual counseling may be an opportunity for treatment clients to talk about things in their environment back at home which are causing their substance abuse, which they most definitely would not be able to open up about in family counseling. This can be an opportunity to make those important lifestyle changes talked about earlier, which may include ridding one's life of negative and destructive relationships. Counselors can also take the opportunity in individual counseling to help treatment clients develop coping tools that they can use in their lives which can help them through tough times, instead of turning to drugs or alcohol as a crutch or to self medicate.

Group Counseling

In group counseling, treatment clients may at first be hesitant to open up about their addiction in front of others. But most clients overcome this fear very quickly, once they begin to hear everyone else's story which is very often similar to theirs or they can relate to certain circumstances being spoken about by their peers. It can be helpful to hear others speak about things which may not be all that pretty, and see that they are not the only ones who have done things they aren't so proud of because of drugs and alcohol. Clients find they are not the only ones who have amends to make, and bridges to rebuild, and as a group in treatment clients can work through this together and help each other through each counseling session.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an extremely productive activity which takes place in many drug rehab programs, because having a strong family unit can make or break someone's treatment process and determine whether or not they will be able to remain abstinent when they leave rehab. Substance abuse can cause destruction in a family and among couples which can seem irreparable, but these relationships can be mended and amends can be made to re-strengthen families and have everyone on the same page. Family therapy is a key counseling tool that can help heal wounds and make families a force to be reckoned with, and everyone can come together to make positive changes which can in turn help treatment clients have something worth living for and remaining abstinent for.

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