When you look into a treatment program, one of the most important things to research is the experience and credentials of the clinical team. There are a lot of programs out there with, let’s face it, subpar clinical teams, so how can you know what to look for, and how a good addiction therapist can benefit your recovery process?
Truthfully, therapy is vital in the fight against drug and alcohol addiction. For those who have the ability to receive medical treatment for their addiction, having a good counselor can make a world of difference for long-term sobriety.
In short, counseling and therapy can help us see certain behavior patterns in our life, diagnose any unknown mood or mental disorders that may have played a part in our use, and can help us identify and eliminate triggers.
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So, Why is it so Important to Have the Right Addiction Therapist?
You are entering a whole new world, you are abandoning the past, and moving forward. Having a professional, knowledgeable, and encouraging therapist is crucial at this turning point in your life. The right therapist should be able to challenge you, motivate you, and support you in working through your process.
Good therapists will encourage their patient to evaluate their choices, their behaviors, and their thought processes, and will teach them how to make healthier decisions in the future.
What to Look For
Before we discuss what is important to look for in an addiction therapist, it is also important to remember that we must ALSO bring these qualities to the table if we want therapy to actually be successful. These can include:
- Trust – being able to be open and vulnerable
- Willingness – agreeing to participate in the discussion, with assignments, etc.
- Honesty – for better or worse, this will always lead to growth
- Commitment – sometimes it can take a long time to feel progress, or even see it.
- Flexibility – understanding that people have different and new approaches
- Involvement – even if you don’t like what they assign or ask you and vice versa
- Communication and Respect – keeping honesty and expectations vocalized
- Patience – i.e., you don’t like what they say, or they don’t see you progressing quickly
- Sensitivity – everyone has a story, and everyone is going through something
It sounds like a list of characteristics in defining a healthy relationship, and that is exactly what it is. Your addiction therapist will become one of your closest confidants if you remain honest and open with them.
What to Expect During Treatment
Usually, each client will be assigned a therapist upon arrival. Over time, the client will get to know their therapist, will become comfortable and familiar and will start to develop that trust and cooperation that it takes for growth to occur.
If at any point in time, you feel that your therapist no longer meets your needs, or you do not feel that you and your therapist understand each other, it is always possible to speak with the clinical director about being assigned to another therapist.
A lot of treatment centers are a 30-day stay, but in order to really initiate growth and progress with a therapist, longer treatment is often wise, especially for people with a dual diagnosis such as PTSD, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, etc. This is why it is important to speak with your therapist in treatment about receiving therapeutic aftercare once you graduate the program.
What Makes an Addiction Therapist Right for You?
Truthfully, a good addiction therapist is someone who will call you on your BS. Let’s be honest, most of us are master manipulators. So if the time comes that we actually want to stop ruining our lives, we are going to need a therapist that is going to be able to see through our lies and manipulation techniques and get down to the nitty gritty with us. If not, what’s the point?
Here are some more important things to look for in a therapist, if you are really ready to start your new life:
- Willingness to Form an Alliance!: Your therapist should be your companion, willing to work with you through thick and thin. This reliability is necessary for a good therapist-patient relationship, and it it’s missing, you may not feel like you are receiving the support you need.
- Extensive Education: You want your therapist to be well educated and be able to not only understand what is going on inside your head but to be able to break it down and help you understand it as well. For example, your therapist can help identify if your behaviors and thought patterns are due to a dual diagnosis, or if they are just symptoms of years of substance abuse.
- Similar Communicative Styles: If you don’t understand the way your therapist communicates, it is going to be very difficult to create that connection with them. If you are a person who learns by doing, it is helpful to have a therapist who will provide you with lots of assignments that will allow you to delve deeper in a manner that promotes your style of learning.
- Progress Notes: Long story short, we are paying good money to be receiving treatment, we want to be able to track our progress! With progress reports, our therapist can not only track our growth, but can break it down to us as well, which can help identify what works for us, and what doesn’t.
- Motivation: No one wants that therapist who just writes notes the whole session and asks, “How does that make you feel”, we want someone who will challenge us, encourage us, and motivate us. We want to leave that therapy session feeling better than we went in, which usually means that our therapist will have worked side by side with us while we trudged through some hard stuff during our session.
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Are You or a Loved One Struggling with Addiction?
Are you or a loved one struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism? If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and want to get help, call us at 1-877-959-7271 today. At FindAddictionRehabs.com, we individualize our care around the person’s specific needs. Help is out there and just a phone call away.