There are several people involved in the fight against substance abuse. One of the people who are often overlooked during the recovery process is substance abuse counselors. They provide the support addicts need to get over their addiction problem. They listen and advice addicts on how to improve their lives without passing judgment or criticism. They assist addicts in the short-term and long-term.
Have a look at this article to learn more about the role counselors play in addiction recovery.
Creating a good relationship with patients
It is hard to ask for help and even harder to admit that one has a problem. That is why it is important for counselors to connect and develop a good relationship with the patients. That is achieved by making patients feel comfortable and trust the counselor. They will be open and talk honestly about their lives. This will make it easier to start the recovery process.
When a patient trusts their counselor, they can let themselves be vulnerable since they believe the counselor is looking out for their best interests. This relationship can be fostered through the following ways.
- Being attentive during counseling sessions.
- Having the patient feel like there is genuine interest in their lives and well-being.
- Exercising empathy when listening to the patient’s problems.
- Being a good listener and communicator to help give the best advice.
Encourage Patients to Get Better
Addiction recovery can be hard. Most addicts have a problem admitting their habit went out of hand. Others do not feel like they need to seek treatment. If a patient does not have any motivation to get better, it makes it harder for them to get the treatment they need.
Counselors are trying to bridge that gap by trying to find what motivates the patient. The motivation can be used to make the patient want to get the right treatment. If a patient wants to get better, it will improve their outlook on the treatment. It will also increase their chances of successfully completing the addiction treatment program.
While the patient has to want to get better, there are measures counselors can take to encourage them. This includes the following:
- Treating the patient with respect.
- Being friendly and encouraging the patient to keep going.
- Recognizing when the patient has made progress. That will help them keep track of their achievements and encourage them.
- Identify behaviors that are problematic and advice the patient on the changes that need to be made.
Help Patients Avoid Relapsing
There is a challenge facing substance addiction recovery, as most patients are prone to relapsing. Research is going on to try and find ways to reduce the number of patients relapsing. This does not mean that addiction recovery programs do not work. It just shows that some changes need to be made so the patients can get better help.
There is need to equip patients with the necessary skills to help them avoid going into relapse. It takes more than making the decision to stay sober to say “no” when faced with temptation. Patients need to have coping mechanism and learn the aspects of their lives they need to change.
The counselor helps by having the following information.
- They will know the patient’s addiction including the times the patient relapsed.
- The triggers that make the patient relapse.
- The support network the patient has.
- An emergency plan in case there is a relapse.
- Lifestyle changes the patient needs to make to reduce the chances of relapse.
Provide Family Members With Support and Guidance
Recovering from addiction has different player who perform important roles. Friends and family play an important role in the recovery process. They can help keep the patient on track. They can help the patient avoid relapsing by getting rid of temptations. If the reception is poor, the patient is more likely to fall back to the same habits.
The counselor will meet with the family and friends and advise them on how to cope with the patient at home. If there were any problems due to their addiction, they will try to resolve them. They will also advice the patient on how they will re-enter the society and the changes they need to be made. Families can get educated on the challenges facing the road to recovery and the importance of their support. There is lots of information available on blogs like huffpost about How to help family member go through recovery.