Substance Abuse Counseling

At Counseling Solutions, LLC, I treat substance abuse utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and 12-Step Principles. Read FAQ below to see if these treatments are right for you.

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and does it work with substance abuse treatment?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, is a widely studied approach that has been found to be effective in treating a variety of problems, including managing alcoholic abuse and other addictive substances (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc). It is relatively straightforward approach to therapy that involves the development of skills that can help individuals cope more effectively and improve relationships. There are many different individual techniques within the CBT system, some of which are particularly useful in treating substance abuse. These include: Cognitive Restructuring or Disputing irrational Beliefs, Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness Practice, and Moderate drinking Training for Problem Drinkers. Other helpful skills for substance abuse problems include Relaxation, Communication Skills Training, and Relapse Prevention.

The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing (MI)

I believe it is vital to distinguish between the spirit of motivational interviewing and techniques that we have recommended to manifest that spirit. Clinicians and trainers who become too focused on matters of technique can lose sight of the spirit and style that are central to the approach. There are as many variations in technique there are clinical encounters. The spirit of the method, however, is move enduring and can be characterized in a few key points.

• Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and not imposed from without\

• It is the client's task, not the counselor's, to articulate and resolve his or her ambivalence.

• Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.

• The counseling style is generally a quiet and eliciting one.

• The counselor is directive in helping the client to examine and resolve ambivalence.

• Readiness to change is not a client trait, but a fluctuating product of interpersonal interaction.

• The therapeutic relationship is more like a partnership or companionship than expert/recipient roles. The therapist respects the client's autonomy and freedom of choice (and consequences) regarding his or her own behavior.

Twelve-Step Recovery Principles of Substance Abuse and Recovery

Twelve-step methods have been adapted to address a wide range of alcoholism, substance abuse and dependency problems. Twelve-step programs have long been an important part of the recovery process and the basis for many recovery programs. Developed over 65 years ago by a small group of alcoholics, the AA program provides simple tools for living based on a set of spiritual principles and a reliance on the fellowship of men and women who share their experience and offer support as part of a lifelong process of recovery. This approach has since been adapted for the treatment of many other addictions, and now includes other self-supporting fellowships such as CA and NA.

Who is appropriate for these types of substance abuse treatments?

Individuals who are experiencing life problems due to their alcohol or drug use are appropriate for these types of outpatient, weekly therapy. The substance use may be impairing relationships, job performance, health, or a general sense of well-being. For those who require detoxification due to withdrawal symptoms, it is essential that a period of closely monitored inpatient treatment and/or a period of residential treatment be completed prior to outpatient therapy.

Do I have to go to AA/NA meetings while in therapy?

That is completely up to you! But if you opt for a twelve-step approach, it is highly recommended. Many individuals state that AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) and/or NA

(Narcotics Anonymous) meetings are helpful when trying to stop drinking, as they provide a positive support group. However, these support groups are not for everyone and is not a requirement while in substance abuse treatment sessions at Counseling Solutions, LLC. I can recommend other supportive, psycho-educational groups for those interested.

Once my drinking (or drug use) is under control, will my substance abuse treatment be complete?

This question again depends on each person. For some, the substance use is the primary problem, and relationships, job performance, and overall mental and physical health improve once that is under control. For others, the drinking is an unhealthy coping skill or 'self-medication° for underlying issues of depression, anxiety, and general problems with regulating emotions. These issues can also be addressed with coping skill development from Cognitive Behavior therapies, and they will be treated along with the substance abuse issues, as treating one will have a positive effect on the other.

Is there any hope for me to have lasting behavior change?

Yes! It does take hard work and a willingness to practice strategies outside of the therapy session, including journaling, monitoring of behavior, and challenging your own "self talk," however, there is research that demonstrate the effectiveness of the above behavior change strategies to develop a moderate drinking or an abstinence approach. Relapse prevention strategies and periodic therapy "booster sessions. can increase one's chance of success even more. The strategies will help you cope with your triggers to problem drinking, so you can effectively cope with strong emotions, social situations, stress and conflict without self-medicating or abusing alcohol or drugs.

Schedule a consultation today! "...and let's talk about it!"

Counseling Solutions LLC

2000 P Street, NW,

Suite 200,

Washington, DC 20036

Phone. 443-415-2328