Any and all kind of substance abuse is usually the indirect result of an underlying problem. Studies have shown that teenagers are the ones who are most vulnerable to the habit forming substances due to multiple factors like stress at home or school, emotional problems, peer pressure, depression, etc. Whatever the reason might be, counselling for substance abuse is almost always a necessity. It is important to track and address the underlying psychological issues that caused the patient to resort to drugs or excessive alcohol in the first place. Getting over addictions is as much a psychological challenge as it is physical, thereby demanding help and support from family members and counsellors at the same time. Let us now take a look at some of the techniques that substance abuse programs employ in order to bring the patient out of mental dependence, gradually.
While individual therapies are particularly effective in addressing certain underlying personal mental health issues, group therapies have been found to be exceptionally effective as far as counselling for substance abuse is concerned. It usually consists of a trained psychotherapist and a group of strangers who are all trying to recover from their respective addictions. The sessions help the associated patients to support each other and learn from their individual experiences. Additionally, it also allows the therapist to reach out to a number of clients in just one sitting, thereby saving time that can be used to help other patients.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be and often is a very useful coping mechanism, which psychotherapists can teach to their patients. It involves recognizing the stimulants that usually lead to a patient turning towards the particular craving which he/she is addicted to. The stimulation may originate from mood swings, thoughts or events and situations. Firstly, the patient is taught to avoid the triggers altogether when possible. Secondly, the therapist shows the patient how to replace the stimulant feelings with brighter thoughts and emotions, which help him/her to stay sober. The complexity of understanding the processes involved in cognitive behavioral therapy and then imparting the techniques successfully onto a patient is a skill that is found in only the best professionals.
Motivational Interviewing is a different approach, as compared to traditional confrontational therapy. While the latter concentrates the therapist’s efforts towards breaking through a patient’s denial stage and making him/her admit and accept the actuality of their current situation, motivational interviewing appeals to the patient’s innate impetus to change their ways. It involves finding out the motivations that might inspire the desired change in the addicted individual, and then focusing on that drive until it becomes strong enough to motivate the patient into taking steps towards refraining from his/her addictions.
Psychotherapists, rehabilitation centers and one’s own friends and family can all work together to bring anyone out of an addiction. If you think you know someone who can use your help or you would simply like to help others who need it, consider getting degrees in substance abuse counselling. Not only is it a great way to help people, but it can be a prospective career option as well.