Overview:

Counselor:

To become a licensed counselor, someone must complete a master's degree in counseling and then complete hands-on work as a counselor (under supervision). The number of required hours of hands-on training varies by state. Many counselors specialize in addiction treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and the majority receive training in psychotherapy techniques. In terms of substance abuse issues, where therapists deal specifically with healing the root causes of a person's addiction (childhood, trauma background, etc.), counselors deal with the current day-to-day needs of the person. This involves what's called case management, which can include things like housing (which halfway house are you eligible for, or where are you going to live after you get out of a treatment center?); child care (how can you you get your child back if custody is jeopardized by addiction issues?); employment services (informing you about job placement programs), etc. Many times, counselors can also help with interventions, whereas most therapists do not.

MA:

A master of arts (MA) is an advanced academic degree, typically in the fields of literature, history, geography, philosophy, social sciences, fine arts and languages. Getting a master's degree is a requirement for therapists and counselors practicing in healthcare and mental health. Many therapists get an MA in Psychology, Counseling Psychology, or Clinical Mental Health Counseling (different schools offer different degree programs). Many counselors get an MA in Counseling. This degree is the academic prerequisite to become a substance abuse counselor or a marriage and family therapist (it is the "school" part of a therapist or counselor's training).

Qualifications:

License Number provided by State: 180008969 Illinois
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Years of Experience: 6 Years
Year Graduated: 2010

Intake:

LGBTQ Programs
Adult Programs
Options for Adolescents

Financials:

Session Fee: $130.00 - $160.00
Private Insurance
Self-pay Options

Modality:

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 and Substance Abuse:

A combined mental health and substance abuse treatment center is designed to treat individuals with both mental health and substance abuse issues. Therapists and staff at these kinds of centers help patients who struggle with both a drug and alcohol addiction, along with a mental health problem like clinical depression, anxiety disorders, Bipolar Disorder, and more. They're trained to help patients identify the root causes of their addiction and mental health issues, and to help manage both. Many addiction counselors specialize in treating individuals with mental health problems, and are well-equipped to deliver high-quality treatment to those struggling from addiction alongside a mental health issue.

Alcohol Abuse:

There are many warning signs for alcoholism. For someone who is abusing alcohol, excessive drinking affects their work, school and home life. Other symptoms of alcohol abuse include: memory loss or blacking out, engaging in risky behavior (like driving a car), and hurting yourself or someone else while drunk. Alcohol abuse can progress to alcoholism. An alcoholic can’t control when or how much they drink. For an alcoholic, the goal of treatment is abstinence. Treatment and recovery from alcoholism usually involves therapy or counseling, as well as 12 step programs and AA meetings.

Anger:

Aggression, anger or violent behavior should not be ignored. Extreme feelings of anger can lead to distress, dysfunction and the inability to cope with one's emotions in a healthy way. A person with anger issues might have a sudden or uncontrollable outburst. Individuals with anger problems might also hold grudges, have trouble taking criticism, or feel like they have to “win” every argument. For someone struggling with addiction, anger issues could cause or worsen their substance abuse problem. Also, a person who is abusing drugs or alcohol could experience more intense feelings of anger.

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.

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.
Last Updated: 08/18/2018