Many people use the terms mental health counseling and one-on-one counseling interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, there are certain differences between the two. One-on-one counseling is a counseling technique that focuses on providing short-term psychological treatment to specific problems. On the other hand, mental health counseling focuses on providing immediate help to people dealing with stress and other emotional issues. One-on-one counseling is a technique that can be applied in both psychotherapy and mental health counseling. According to the American Psychological Association, individuals, families, and organizations make up the three main groups that seek one-on-one counseling.
Who are Counselors?
Counselors are knowledgeable professionals specializing in assessing and treating substance abuse and other mental health issues. Many counselors have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology and counseling. You must have a license to practice as a counselor. The requirements for state licensure for mental health counseling include completing at least 3000 hours of supervised clinical practice in a treatment program, passing a national licensing exam, and agreeing to abide by the state’s licensing regulations.
One-on-One Counseling Therapy
One-on-one counseling and psychotherapy have one main similarity; they are both talk therapy. Talk therapy helps individuals deal with emotional and substance abuse issues by talking about them. Talk therapy helps many individuals, families, and couples deal with emotional and substance abuse problems. One-on-one counseling provides a safe and confidential environment and setting for discussing mental health issues openly. It helps individuals deal with day-to-day problems, make meaningful decisions, and achieve their goals.
Present-Day Focus in a Treatment Program
Today, many one-on-one counselors in a treatment program focus less on examining patients through psychoanalysis, which focuses on analyzing patients’ past traumatic experiences. Unlike long-term psychoanalysis, individual counseling focuses on achieving results within the shortest time possible.
What One-on-One Counseling is Not
One-on-one counseling is not designed to substitute other forms of psychiatric treatments. Individuals with serious mental health issues like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia should consider seeing a psychiatrist. Unlike psychiatrists, one-on-one counselors cannot prescribe medication during a treatment program.
How to Get Someone into One-On-One Counseling
Approach the Topic Gently – There are many reasons why some people fear one-on-one counseling. Many people have the misconception that one-on-one counseling is for crazy people while others are just ashamed to admit that they need help. Many people are also not self-aware enough to realize that they have a substance abuse problem or other mental health problem for which they need professional help. Approaching the topic gently allows you to develop an alliance with the person that needs professional assistance.
Listen for a Complaint – Listen for complaints that you cannot help with. If a friend talks about substance abuse, tell him that substance abuse is not something you can help with, but let them know that you know someone who can provide a more unbiased professional opinion and help.
Find the Right Counselor – It is not enough to suggest one-on-one counseling; you should be willing to provide your friend or family member with the contact information of a good counselor or help him find one. Look for a one-on-one counselor with experience dealing with substance abuse or that specific mental issue that your friend is struggling with.
• Family Counseling is Beneficial When Dealing with Substance Abuse and Addiction
Addiction and substance abuse are extremely difficult to talk about or bring up among family members. It is a scary time for the family members of an addict because they know the reality of overdose and the many other possibilities from drug and alcohol use. It is also overwhelming for the addict when they decide they need help. The decision to seek a treatment program and to change their life is a courageous step to take. There are so many difficult discussions the family members may want to approach or they may simply want to discuss how to best support the addict without enabling them. Family counseling is a safe place to sort all of these significant issues out without fear of judgment or shame.
Here are six reasons people affected by addiction should seek family counseling with their family:
Finding help through a treatment program for the addict to deal with the addiction
Addressing the problem
Renewing a relationship that has been hurt or broken due to addiction or other circumstances
Navigating the emotions involved when dealing with addiction in a healthy way
Learning how to encourage the addict through the process of sobriety and afterward
Family counselors are trained to navigate the hard conversations that need to take place between an addict and their family. Most of all, they can also help the family and addict resolve the problems that have been festering over the time of the drug or alcohol use.
Family Involvement is Crucial for Successful Sobriety
When the addict is ready to seek a treatment program, family involvement is often crucial to the success and continued sobriety of the individual. The reality is that there have most likely been many altercations in the past because when an individual is addicted to a substance they do not think clearly. They say things they may not mean and do things they would normally know are wrong but will do anything they need to do in order to feel that high again.
A family counselor is able to help mediate the conversations to bring hope and reconciliation to everyone involved. The family counselor will also have resources to offer the parties involved. They have information about a treatment program and various support groups available. The family counselor may also suggest reading material or give extra resources to check out in between sessions.
Addiction is Emotional for Everyone
Emotions are running high when dealing with addiction. There are many common emotions people deal with in regards to addiction:
A feeling of emptiness
Family counseling should be a safe place to air some of these grievances and bring closure to issues, so they do not continue to haunt a family. Addiction does not just affect the addict. It affects everyone involved. The family feels the pain of their choices and the regret of a future they are throwing away.
Even if the addict in the family is not interested in getting into a treatment program and getting sober at this point in time, the family would still benefit from counseling. However, when an individual decides to seek a treatment program, it is important to support them and commit to working through all of the family conflicts together to become a healthier family unit.
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a form of therapy that targets mood and apprehensions by changing thoughts and behaviors that add to the stressful situations like substance abuse.
Individuals who have substance abuse problems often experience negative thought patterns. Negative thinking patterns are the main source of many problems like addiction, anxiety, and depression. CBT focuses on these harmful thought patterns with the goal of making the patient realize how to practice having positive thought patterns by managing stress emotions and unsafe behavior.
Benefits of CBT
Below are some of the most important benefits of this useful and helpful therapy:
Network of Support – Addicts need a support network while they are recovering. It is not advisable for them to feel that no one is concerned about their recovery. Therapists can help prevent the patient from falling back and suffer a relapse.
More Positive Thought Patterns – Addicts need to have positive thought patterns to keep them away from drugs. More negative feelings make them feel more helpless, leading them to drugs or alcohol. Positive thinking will make them feel more confident to handle their problems.
Self-Esteem – One of the primary causes of addiction is a lack of self-esteem. When a person’s feeling of self-worth is bolstered through CBT, they begin to believe that they deserve a better life, and start to work on improving their personal situation.
Resisting Peer Pressure – Addicts are defenseless against peer pressure. Cognitive behavioral therapy will teach them new behaviors that can help them achieve their objectives. Enough practice will prepare them to resist temptation and later become confident that they can handle them themselves.
Economical – Cognitive behavioral therapy is cost-effective. Some kinds of addiction treatment are personalized and more costly; as opposed to CBT, which does not require staying in a treatment center. Its outpatient setting lowers the cost of the treatment program, making it more available to more patients.
Slow Steps – Beating an addiction takes a long time to accomplish. Cognitive behavioral therapy introduces new concepts to a patient in slow steps, to help them break out of their addiction. Patients are treated at their own speed of healing and therapy is different for every case.
Continuity – Since OCT is an outpatient treatment, patients are able to continue with their daily activities. They do not need to be absent from their job, nor are they required to be separated from their families. Appointments are usually held in the evening, to allow them to work during business hours.
Ending the Therapy – The cognitive behavioral therapy is slowly ended as the patient gets better. Sessions at the start may be weekly or bi-weekly, but as the patient improves, the sessions are reduced. In the end, the patient may be seen only once a month, just to check the success of their recovery. The therapy is finished when the patient has conquered the addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an efficient way of treating substance abuse. Many former patients claim that this therapy played a big part in helping them beat their addictions successfully.
If you think you are addicted to anything and need help; don’t try to self-medicate. Contact a medical professional to help you with your condition through a treatment program.
• Faith-Based and Traditional Recovery
The road to recovery from addiction is a deeply personal experience, and it is unique to each and every individual. Inpatient therapy is the best, most effective treatment for someone who is hoping to overcome addiction. Some studies have shown that a person who attends an inpatient treatment program has a 40 percent greater chance of staying sober than someone who does not receive such intensive treatment. There are many styles of inpatient treatment that are meant to appeal to different people, so choosing a traditional, faith-based recovery program allows an addict to attend a treatment program that best supports their needs and beliefs.
What Services Are Offered?
An estimated 95 percent of all treatment and recovery programs in the United States integrate traditionally faith-based components into their treatment paradigm. While many people may associate this with 12-step programs that require an addict to submit to a higher power, there are many varieties of faith based programs that don’t require such stringent and total commitment to a particular dogma.
A faith based program often combines evidence-based treatment modalities with spiritual components, such as:
Medically supervised detox
Relapse prevention education
Cognitive behavioral therapy, geared towards developing new coping mechanisms to replace addictive behaviors
Spiritually based study and counseling
Fostering an individual relationship with a sense of higher purpose
The Benefits of Spiritual Healing
When choosing to enter a faith-based program, it’s important to make sure that the facility also integrates sound, evidence-based treatments.
For people who feel that they could benefit from incorporating faith or spiritually based counsel into their addiction treatment, the following benefits are often realized:
Education about spiritual principles
Religiously based group therapy meetings
Development of a relationship with a higher power
Attendance of prayer, meditation or religious study groups
Essentially, a faith-based treatment program views addiction as not only a physical and mental illness but also as an affliction of the spirit. For people who already live a life guided by their spiritual beliefs, blending the science of addiction treatment with spiritual support often helps to fill a void that was once occupied by substance abuse.
Higher Rates of Continued Sobriety
Another component of faith-based treatment often includes a higher level of outpatient support and services. People who attend a traditional recovery program may have access to spiritual support groups, church or other religious institution resources and an added circle of social support. People who continue outpatient therapy and group meetings have a substantially higher rate of sobriety than those who do not.
Addiction is a chronic condition with many different treatment philosophies. It’s important for any recovering addict to find a program that meshes with their beliefs, personality, and needs. Faith-based and traditional recovery programs can provide relief while supporting and strengthening personal spiritual beliefs.
• Physical Fitness
The Importance of Exercise in Maintaining Sobriety
Over the course of addiction, people let their overall state of health slip away. An important component of attending an inpatient addiction treatment facility is the education provided about learning to live a healthy and sober lifestyle. Exercising is a vitally important part of successful recovery, and the joy to be found in these activities are often discovered over the course of inpatient treatment. Some studies have shown that exercise actually reduces the brain’s biological craving for drugs or alcohol. Developing a regular exercise routine geared toward achieving and maintaining physical fitness is a powerful tool in reducing the 60-90 percent first-year relapse rate that recovering addicts are at risk of experiencing.
Relieving Stress with Exercise
Most addicts resort to substance abuse as a method of self-medication to relieve anxiety, depression and stress.
However, exercise has been found to release many of the same feel-good neurotransmitters that drug users seek, providing the following benefits:
Dissipation of stress and anxiety
Reduced heart rate
Feelings of relaxation
Apparently, the “runner’s high” is a real phenomenon, and exercising regularly allows recovering addicts to achieve a feel-good state without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Exercise – Meditation in Motion
An integral part of many evidence-based inpatient treatment programs is learning to reconnect with a sense of purpose and inner peace. Regardless of religious or spiritual prerogatives, meditation is a secular way to gain personal insight and practice living in a state of active mindfulness. Recovering from addiction means relearning one’s self as an individual, and the focus needed to complete a daily regimen of exercise provides a way to clear the mind. Meditation and focused mindfulness is such powerful medicine that a recent study proved frequent meditation practitioners experienced a 40-50 percent reduction in flu-like illnesses. Given this impressive statistic, imagine how powerful physically-driven meditation can be in helping recovering addicts maintain a sober lifestyle!
Exercise to Fill Time
Another common obstacle that those in recovery face is large amounts of free time that were once filled with drug-seeking activities and use. Boredom causes stress, which may cause depression, perhaps leading to a relapse. The creation of and dedication to an exercise program fills free time with a healthful activity while creating goals to achieve. Maintaining the structure that is provided during inpatient treatment can sometimes be a challenge for those in recovery, but regular physical activity can become an important way to avoid slipping back into patterns of drug or alcohol abuse. Also, going to the gym or attending groups like yoga classes is a great way to make new friends who are outside of former drug-associated acquaintance groups.
Studies have indicated that people who engage in a regular, structured and enjoyable form of exercise could realize successful recovery rates that are nearly double of those who do not. Coupled with the successful completion of an inpatient recovery program, exercise could be the key to maintaining sobriety.
• Financial Training
Financial training is essential for people who have struggled with addiction in the past. Addiction can certainly affect the physical well being of a person. However, it can also hurt a person’s finances over the long term. In order to fully recover from an addiction, it is vital to have the proper financial training in several different areas. Here are some things that need to be covered in any sort of financial training after having an addiction.
Budgeting is essential to saving money over the long term. It is vital to spend less than you make over the long term. This can open the possibilities to saving and investing money. Many people turn to outside substances because they are having financial issues. Working in this area can solve two different problems. First of all, people will be less inclined to turn to their addictive issues if they have no money problem. In addition, this will help reduce the stress and anxiety of people who have gone through addiction problems. Over ninety percent of people who have an addiction also have financial troubles. It is very hard to solve one issue without solving the other.
A lot of people who have struggled with addiction in the past have also struggled with holding down a job. It is vital to try and increase your income over the long term if you are going to have a solid financial foundation. Getting some continuing education in an area is a great way to accomplish this. If you do not have an educational foundation, it is a good idea to invest in this over the long term. By increasing your income, it will be much easier to budget for expenses and investing.
Over the long term, investing is one of the best ways to build wealth over time. Many people who have had addictions in the past have little wealth to speak of. It is vital for a person to learn how to invest so that they can build up a solid financial foundation for the future. The good news is that good investing is generally simple and can be accomplished over a long period of time. Just knowing the basics of investing can go a long way in making a difference in building up your net worth. After you get the financial basics down, this is a good area to learn about.
Many people do not realize how close a person’s addiction and financial lives are often linked. This can be difficult to pull out of because financial issues are usually a trigger for people to fall back into their addictive behaviors. Financial training can be a great way to break this cycle and help a person heal in every way over the long run. Always be sure to invest time and money in this area in order to fully recover from an addiction.
• SMART Recovery Treatment Program
What Is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a non-profit organization designed to help individuals suffering from addictive behaviors regain the ability to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives. It offers a science-based alternative or supplement to the traditional, faith-based twelve-step recovery models. SMART Recovery began as an off-shoot of the for-profit Rational Recovery and has since expanded as a worldwide presence with over 1500 weekly face-to-face meetings, online meetings, and a 24/7 chat room to provide guidance and support.
How Does SMART Recovery Work?
SMART Recovery uses treatment methods rooted in scientific research on addictive behaviors, and it augments and enhances its approach as the current studies evolve. Like the faith-based models of recovery, it advocates accessibility, anonymity, and group support. However, unlike the traditional programs, SMART Recovery does not concern itself with spirituality but rather emphasizes self-knowledge and self-empowerment.
At the core of its method is the 4-Point Program:
Building and Maintaining Motivation
Coping with Urges
Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
Living a Balanced Life
In contrast with the stepped models, these points are active components of day-to-day abstinence of addictive behaviors. Those suffering from these behaviors first must build the desire to stop, but that desire must be sustained if they expect to remain abstinent. Urges or cravings of addictive behavior are much more frequent at the beginning of abstinence but can remain for long periods of time. Finally, managing emotional well-being and living a balanced life are skills that are underdeveloped in those who engage in addictive behaviors. SMART Recovery recognizes the pitfalls and needs and has specific science-based tools and methods to deal with each.
Is SMART Recovery Effective?
SMART Recovery has not yet been the focus of any direct studies. However, the techniques and methods used in SMART Recovery have been the subject of some studies and the findings show that the program is just as effective as the traditional, faith-based models. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study in 1997, known as Project MATCH, which found that step-based treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) were all equally effective. SMART Recovery implements methods from both CBT and MET. Furthermore, SMART Recovery is recognized by such major groups as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Society for Addiction Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians as an effective program for combating addictive behaviors.
Is SMART Recovery For Me?
As the National Institute on Drug Addiction states in their Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.” Those struggling with addictive behavior should attempt a variety of methods in order to alleviate their problem. An avenue that should be considered is inpatient treatment. These treatment centers offer a safe environment and knowledgeable staff to help individuals find the methods best suited to their needs.
• Focus on Nutrition
During periods of substance abuse and addiction a person’s body can become undernourished. Either a person is not eating enough throughout the day or he/she may be eating foods with little nutritional value. Stimulants affect nutrition as they often suppress the user’s appetite which leads to decreased calorie consumption and impaired processing of nutrients. Other substances that tend to be abused may work the opposite by increasing the appetite and causing weight gain. Regardless of the type of drug being abused, addicts need to be provided with the knowledge and support necessary to properly nourish their bodies.
Many programs for substance abuse and addiction address the importance of nutrition as it is necessary for a healthy lifestyle which is necessary for a healthy mind. Research has shown that individuals who receive individual nutrition counseling and are involved in a comprehensive nutrition education program have significantly higher three-month sobriety success rates. Those suffering from abuse and addiction are greatly encouraged to consider an inpatient treatment program where they can receive appropriate nutritional support to regain good health.
Proper hydration and nutrition are key contributors to the substance abuse healing process because chances of recovery are improved when physical and mental health is restored. To help ensure a successful recovery for those suffering from addiction a few helpful tips will be shared.
Tips for Nutrition
If you are currently working with a nutrition specialist be sure to follow their advice. If you are in the early stages and don’t have access to a nutritionist these helpful tips will get you started on your journey for mind and body revitalization.
Avoid caffeine. This is a stimulant that can cause your moods to fluctuate and make it difficult for you to resist cravings for drugs or alcohol.
Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary foods. This includes white bread, pastries, cakes etc. Similar to caffeine, these may also cause mood fluctuations making it difficult to make healthy choices.
Choose foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have several benefits for our bodies. They can boost your immune system, protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that can lead to cancer, and help restore and improve the health of your skin and nails. Add fresh fruits such as apples, strawberries, and blueberries and raw or lightly cooked vegetables including carrots, peppers, and broccoli to your daily meal planning.
Protein is power for your mind and body. Choose healthy protein options such as beans, fish, and poultry.
Alcohol and drug abuse impact the digestive system. Help your body recuperate by adding fiber to your diet. To get your body jumpstarted you can use an over-the-counter fiber supplement. Excellent fiber sources include peas, artichokes, whole grain pasta, black beans, and brown rice. Instead of eating foods containing white flour choose 100% whole grains.
Keep your blood sugar levels and mood stable by eating healthy snacks regularly. This may include a serving of fresh fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, or a handful of nuts.
A complete recovery from substance abuse and addiction involves a total restoration of your mind and body which can best be achieved with the support of an inpatient treatment program and rehabilitation facility. One of the best ways to heal a body that has suffered from addiction is to provide it with good nutrition. How we feel on a day to day basis is greatly influenced by our diets which is why a nourished body can improve your chance of a successful and long-lasting recovery as you will feel in good health every day.