A drug counselor is more than just a therapist talking to someone about their addiction. The substance abuse counselor requires the desire to help others in need, in addition to a certain level of compassion and a working knowledge of the disease of addiction. Whether their client’s addiction is alcohol, prescription drugs, methamphetamine, heroin, hallucinogens or inhalants, there are in most cases, other issues that the patient is suffering from. First, the counselor must earn the patients trust in order to truly help them with all of the issues at hand. The initial therapy session may just be a “getting to know you” session. The counselor will ask very personal questions about their patients drug use and perhaps even behavioral issues related to that. Once they have created a level of trust, the substance abuse counselor can assess the patient’s needs in regards to the level of addiction. Based on that information, a treatment plan is created. This treatment plan may include inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, in which case the person will attend education classes that relate to their addiction. In most treatment centers, a patient may see their counselor anywhere from one to four times a week depending on their personal situation.
Secondly, most of those who enter into some form of treatment program have family members who may or may not be involved in their lives. The counseling services don’t just stop with the patient. The addict is in many cases not the only person in the family who needs help. A drug counselor can extend to the family counseling sessions that include the entire family or refer the family to other classes or facilities for family services which may include family counseling, family health services and family support services. This is the key to recovery. Addiction counseling is very helpful in the surroundings of a good treatment center, but part of that treatment includes teaching the addict how to build a good solid support group outside of the drug rehab. The drug abuse counselor may suggest that their client choose a good 12-step sponsor. This is someone who has a working knowledge of the appropriate 12-step program and is willing to share their experiences with their “sponsee” and walk them through the 12-steps.
During treatment, whether you have chosen an inpatient heroin addiction treatment center or an outpatient center, your substance abuse counselor may challenge you in many ways. While active in the disease of addiction, we tend to avoid dealing with our day to day challenges. After a while, these build up into layers and layers of unhealthy decisions and choices and we may look back and wonder, “How did it get this bad”? During drug counseling, it may take some time, but by being completely honest with your counselor, they can help you to peel back those layers of pain that were built up over time. You won’t be expected to change everything in one session. At a healthy pace, you can begin to see where you need to make some changes in your life, and your addiction counselor can help you decide which issues need to be dealt with first, and which issues will be dealt with later on.
The change won’t happen overnight, it will take commitment and dedication, but the most important thing is that you are no longer alone with your disease. You now have a compassionate, educated therapist who can help you get your life back together.