Overview:

Therapist:

To become a licensed therapist, someone must get a master's degree, where they receive specialized training in programs like social work, counseling, psychology, and marriage and family therapy. After this, they must become licensed as a therapist, which requires passing an exam as well as hands-on training hours. The number of hours required depends on the state. Many licensed therapists specialize in drug and alcohol addiction treatment and can conduct individual and or group therapy. These individuals are qualified to deliver therapy specifically to those recovering from substance abuse issues like drug abuse, alcoholism, as well as mental health issues. Therapists delve into the deep psychological issues that underly addiction and mental health issues to help their patients heal.

MS:

A master of science (MS) is an advanced degree, usually in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, agriculture and computer science. There are multiple MS degree program options in the fields of mental health, psychology and counseling. A master's degree is often required to become a licensed therapist, counselor or social worker. Someone with an MS in mental health counseling might practice as a rehabilitation counselor working with patients struggling with substance abuse or addiction. MS programs vary by the college or university, but typically involve hands-on learning.

LMFT:

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is a mental health professional who has undergone training in psychotherapy and family systems. In most states, an LMFT must have a master's degree to practice. While in graduate school, someone training to become an LMFT often studies family dynamics, marital issues, family violence and addiction within a family. An LMFT might practice as a marriage counselor, a couples therapist, or a clinical supervisor. An LMFT can also provide group therapy or family intervention services for individuals and families dealing with substance abuse or addiction.

Qualifications:

License Number provided by State: 53247 California
School: California State University Fresno
Years of Experience: 5 Years
Year Graduated: 2009

Intake:

LGBTQ Programs
Adult Programs
Options for Adolescents
Elderly Programs

Financials:

Payment Assistance
Session Fee: $100.00
Private Insurance
Self-pay Options

Modality:

Family Counseling:

Family Counseling can be for both the addict and his/her family, or may be solely for family members (without the addict present). Many support groups for family members of addicts see addiction as a family illness, not just the problem of one member of the family (the addict). Numerous research studies also demonstrate that recovery is far more successful and sustainable when loved ones -- especially family members -- participate in rehab and/or substance abuse treatment. Family support groups are also helpful since family members relating with an addict often need support themselves; it's a very stressful thing to deal with. Family support groups allow all members of the family to receive the benefits of treatment, and can include training on how to communicate effectively, establish healthy boundaries, and get support around the stress and trauma of addiction.

Individual Counseling:

In individual Counseling, a client meets one-on-one with a trained therapist or counselor. This kind of psychotherapy and focused attention is a crucial part of treating substance abuse and helping individuals overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Therapy can be instrumental in uncovering the root causes of addiction, such as challenges and struggles a patient has faced in their family, social, and work/school lives. Once these root causes (which often involve past trauma) are identified and worked through, substance abuse is much easier to overcome and sobriety to be reached. Different therapists use different therapeutic modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been shown to be effective in stopping addiction while also providing tools for maintaining sobriety.

Couples Counseling:

Couples Counseling, or couples-focused treatment programs, involve both partners in a relationship. Substance abuse (alcohol or drug addiction) has major effects on both partners within a relationship, and the purpose of couples treatment is to address both sides. For example, if a husband is an alcoholic, his wife is impacted by his addiction and his behaviors. He, in turn, is impacted by her reaction and response to them. Many couples dealing with addiction also struggle with codependency, which can enable or even make the addictive behavior worse. In couples therapy, patterns like codependency are explained and explored, with the goal of both partners learning how to communicate and connect in healthy ways, and establish healthy boundaries with one another. In addition to addiction, rehabilitation and recovery also affects and changes a relationship. Couples-focused treatment allows partners to explore the triggers of addiction, as well as learning how to build a healthy support system while maintaining sobriety.

Treatment:

Mental Health:

Mental health treatment focuses on helping patients manage and overcome mental illnesses, such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. Mental health treatment can include one-on-one talk therapy (traditional psychotherapy), as well as more holistic or alternative modalities such as art therapy, equine therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and more. Group therapy can also prove beneficial in terms of overcoming mental health disorders. At mental health rehab facilities, a team of medical professionals — including doctors, therapists and counselors — are trained to treat many different types of mental health issues, and some also provide treatment for substance abuse and addiction. A therapist or counselor working at these facilities often offers one-on-one therapy to patients and leads group therapy sessions.

Sex:

Sex addiction involves an obsession with sexual thoughts or fantasies. Sex addiction can also mean engaging in compulsive sexual acts or behaviors. Signs of sex addiction include: loss of control over sexual urges, having multiple affairs, and addiction to pornography. For a sex addict, sexual behavior tends to have a negative effect on their life and relationships. A person with sex addiction, love addiction, or codependency issues could also struggle with substance abuse or drug addiction. A trained counselor or therapist can help a person overcome sex addiction and improve their relationships.

Video Games:

Video game addiction is being addicted to playing video games, so much that it interferes with daily life. Video game addiction is what's known as an "impulse control disorder," meaning the person can't stop themselves from playing (it's compulsive). Many times, video game addiction is a way of numbing out from life, or avoiding stressors like disconnection, loneliness, and difficult relationships. For those with video game addiction, playing video games has a negative impact on their work performance, schoolwork, personal relationships, and physical and mental health. Video game addiction can also be associated with anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. While video game addiction is not yet recognized as a diagnosable disorder, recent studies suggest that up to 15% of gamers might exhibit signs of addiction. Treatment for video game addiction includes looking at the underlying issues behind it (i.e. why the person feels a need to numb out or use video games to disconnect), holding a compassionate response to the origin of the behavior, and moving past it.

Internet Addiction:

Internet addiction involves the obsessive use of the internet or a smartphone. Types of internet addiction include: an addiction to online pornography, online shopping, online gambling, and online game playing. Someone with an internet addiction can’t control how often they use the internet. They might feel depressed, anxious, isolated, and guilty about spending so much time online. Individuals with internet addiction could also be misusing or abusing drugs and alcohol. A therapist or counselor who specializes in addiction, including internet addiction, can help someone overcome this mental health issue.

ADHD:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is generally characterized by the inability to focus; not being able to get or stay organized; being impulsive; and being hyperactive (not being able to sit still). While it's normal to have trouble focusing and paying attention at times, for someone with ADHD, these behaviors are more extreme, occur more frequently, and make it hard to succeed or even function at work and/or at school. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must be seen by a healthcare professional such as a pediatrician, psychiatrist, or psychologist. Both children and adults can be diagnosed with ADHD. It is common for someone struggling with addiction or substance abuse issues to also struggle with ADHD, especially since many people seek out drugs or alcohol to help manage the symptoms of ADHD.

Bipolar:

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that generates unusual and extreme changes in a person's mood, energy levels and the ability to accomplish daily tasks and think clearly. A person with Bipolar Disorder can experience frequent highs (often referred to as mania or manic episodes) and lows (often referred to as depression or depressive episodes). Someone with Bipolar Disorder might "self-medicate" by using drugs and alcohol to deal with their mental or emotional issues. Substance abuse is more common with Bipolar Disorder than with any other mental health diagnosis. Suicide is a serious risk concern for an individual with Bipolar Disorder.

Depression:

Depression is a serious mood disorder. Signs and symptoms of depression include: fatigue, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, lack of interest in activities a person used to enjoy, irritability, and suicidal thoughts. A depressed person might feel sad, anxious, or hopeless. Typically, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks before someone is diagnosed with clinical depression. Depression can affect people of all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. An estimated 30% of people with substance abuse problems suffer from depression.

Grief:

Following the death of a loved one, it is normal to feel sad or experience grief. Typically, someone who is grieving will go through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While grief is a natural response to loss, using alcohol or drugs to deal with one’s feelings is not a healthy way to cope. Using drugs and alcohol to manage or soothe feelings of grief could lead to substance abuse or addiction. Unresolved grief — and the depression that follows — could leave someone more vulnerable to developing a substance abuse problem.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has repetitive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions), along with irrational, excessive urges (compulsions). Signs of OCD include: the urge to organize and clean things, feeling anxious, thoughts about hurting yourself or others, and washing your hands until skin becomes raw. Someone with OCD who is also struggling with alcohol or drug addiction may have more severe symptoms or behaviors. A counselor or therapist who specializes in both mental health and substance abuse treatment can help someone overcome addiction and deal with their OCD.

PTSD and Trauma:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that someone can develop after experiencing a traumatic incident, such as a shooting, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault (i.e. rape or child sexual abuse). Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event in one's mind; nightmares; avoiding situations that might trigger memories of the event; negative beliefs and feelings; and feeling jittery, angry or irritable. The main types of treatment for PTSD are psychotherapy and medication. Someone suffering from PTSD may experience depression, anxiety and substance abuse problems.

Techniques:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common therapy technique. This type of therapy focuses on the relationship between a person's thoughts, feelings and behaviors. For example, if you know that when you have the thought, "I'm worthless," you want to drink or do drugs, you can then make a new choice in the future when you have that thought (like calling a friend or going for a walk instead). Awareness is critical in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the ultimate goal of which is to help patients develop healthy responses to their thoughts and feelings. CBT has been proven very helpful for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, as well other mental health issues, like eating disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps a person become more self-aware and build up their ability to cope with problems in healthier ways. Many therapists, counselors, psychologists, and social workers use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques when working with their patients.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is type of therapy that helps someone understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings and actions. Once a person understands this relationship, they can work on changing their behaviors and dealing with their problems in healthier ways. Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been proven clinically effective for people struggling with out-of-control emotions and some mental illnesses, like Borderline Personality Disorder. This type of therapy can also be helpful for individuals dealing with self-harm, such as self-mutilation (cutting) or having suicidal thoughts or urges. Dialectical Behavior Therapy often builds on the techniques and tools a patient learned in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), one of the most common types of therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing:

The term EDMR refers to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EDMR is a type of therapy originally developed to process trauma, and it can help someone to quickly and dramatically reduce the stress associated with a traumatic event. During an EDMR session, a patient is prompted by a therapist to undergo rapid back-and-forth eye movements (i.e. watching someone's finger go back and forth quickly in front of your face). This eye movement is similar to the REM sleep cycle, and helps reprocess memory in the brain (REM sleep is the last stage of the sleep cycle in which dreams often occur). EDMR is commonly used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adults, and has been proven to be very effective. It can also be used to help children and adolescents dealing with traumatic events (like school shootings or child abuse). The goal of EDMR is to help the brain reprocess a memory, as a way to heal these painful or traumatic memories. Following an EDMR session, a patient might feel calmer, more relaxed and more stable.

Creative Arts Therapy:

We tend to think of therapy as 'talk' therapy, but this is not the only type of therapy. Creative arts therapy can help someone dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues in a different way. Creative arts therapy includes music, poetry/writing, painting, sculpting, dance, theater, sandplay, and other creative activities. This type of therapy helps someone express emotions, thoughts and experiences that might be hard to talk about. Creative arts therapy can be beneficial for children, teenagers and adults struggling with mental health problems, alcoholism and drug addiction. This form of therapy is not meant to replace 'talk' therapy or other types of treatment. However, creative arts therapy provides an important outlet for patients while in recovery.
Last Updated: 12/11/2018