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The Different Types of Drug and Alcohol Counseling

The Different Types of Drug and Alcohol Counseling

Did you know that counseling is an important component of substance abuse treatment?

Quitting drugs and alcohol can serve as a long and difficult process for some. Part of the difficulty stems from combatting the mental aspects of substance abuse. Many people who misuse drugs and alcohol do so to cope with the stressors of their everyday lives. Over time, extensive drug and alcohol use can also have adverse psychological effects.

So, most rehab centers use drug and alcohol counseling to help people with their recovery. Whether you’re starting out on your journey or need a little bit of help along the way, a good substance counselor can help.

Below, we’ll get into the different types of counseling used. Keep reading to learn more about the types of treatment you may receive!

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) serves as one of the most practiced forms of counseling. CBT focuses on how thought patterns influence emotions and actions.

For instance, a therapist will help a client identify negative or unhealthy thoughts. The counselor and client will then discuss how these thoughts and beliefs make the client feel. If possible, they will draw a connection between thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

When applied to substance abuse treatment, CBT remains very effective. The client is able to identify the thoughts that prompt them to abuse substances. Then, the therapist and client can address the thoughts. They can also develop more helpful coping strategies.

CBT therapists will walk clients through what to do when they encounter risky situations, too. As a result, the client will have the tools necessary to prevent a relapse.

Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) is a subtype of CBT. Originally, it came into use as a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Yet, it has since proven effective at treating substance abuse.

Mindfulness sits at the core of the DBT approach. Clients learn to live in the present and notice what’s going on around them. They also learn to tune into what’s happening with them. As such, they learn a lot about their emotions and the way they interact with the world.

Therapists teach healthy coping skills alongside mindfulness. That way, the client can slow down and focus on good ways to cope when they feel distressed.

DBT emphasizes distress tolerance and emotional regulation, too. Clients build up their ability to withstand distressing situations. They do this by learning how to accept what’s going on and self-soothe or improve the moment. This is good for people who abuse substances because distress often triggers the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Likewise, emotional regulation helps clients feel like they’re in control of their emotions. DBT gives clients the power to identify and change their emotional responses. In turn, the client can navigate emotional situations without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Maintaining motivation on the road to recovery is crucial. Therapists help clients access their internal motivation. Some do this through a technique called motivational interviewing (MI).

Over the course of several sessions, the therapist and client work together to draw out the client’s motivation. Then, they create personalized goals and a plan for treatment. Accessing the client’s core motivation helps them stay motivated even when the road gets tough.

Further, centering the treatment on the client ensures that the goals and plan are practical and attainable.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a relatively new therapy. Yet, studies show it works well for people who have experienced trauma. So, therapists may recommend it to clients whose substance use began after a traumatic event.

During an EMDR session, the therapist will ask the client the recall a traumatic event while moving their eyes in specific directions. The therapist may also use side-to-side sounds or taps.

Why does this work? When a person experiences trauma, they store it in a certain brain section. Studies show that humans look in specific directions while processing information with a part of the brain.

So, therapists can prompt brains to reprocess trauma by getting clients to look in different directions!

Family Therapy

Substance abuse disorder impacts more than one person. In fact, sometimes a client’s entire family has felt the effects of addiction.

So, family therapy plays a prominent role in drug and alcohol counseling. In a family therapy session, members of an immediate family (or sometimes extended family) meet with a counselor. The counselor listens to the issues occurring within the family. Then, the therapist uses evidence-based approaches to encourage more healthy coping.

Group Therapy

Many people who struggle with substance abuse benefit from going to a group therapy session. Unlike individual therapy, group therapy takes place with multiple people. A trained therapist presides over the meetings.

One of the benefits of group therapy is that it helps people feel less alone. Yet, because more than one person attends a group session, the therapist cannot give as much attention to each individual person.

Want to become a substance abuse counselor? Get your CCAPP certification!

Ready to Get Drug and Alcohol Counseling?

Drug and alcohol counseling serves as one of the best ways to recover from addiction.

As you can see above, there are many evidence-based therapies available to you. The right one for you will depend on your personal situation and needs.

To get started, talk to a trained counselor. They will be able to point you on the right path.

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