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.

LPC:

In order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in social work, a person must have a master's degree in counseling. Depending on the state, an LPC may also be called a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). An LPC specializing in social work will look not just at a person's drug or alcohol addiction issues, but their economic and social status, their home environment, and other factors when determining a treatment plan for that patient. They are sensitive to issues like whether a person struggling with addiction has a safe home environment in which to recover (or whether they may need to go to a halfway house); whether a person has a job that will help support them in recovery or whether they need to change jobs, etc. Counselors help with the practicalities of everyday life and what will help support sobriety.

Qualifications:

License Number provided by State: 0701005776 Virginia
School: Hofstra University
Years of Experience: 10 Years
Year Graduated: 2002

Intake:

Options for Adolescents

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.

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.

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.

Eating Disorders:

Eating disorders are often considered food addictions, in that food is used in an addictive way (similar to drug or alcohol addiction). Common types of eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and dysfunctional eating patterns. Signs and symptoms can include dramatic weight loss; concern about eating in public; an intense fear of being "fat", even though underweight; having an excessive, rigid exercise regime; and rigid thinking. Multiple rehab facilities and substance abuse treatment programs offer treatment for eating disorders, and there are also individual counselors who specifically treat eating disorders (outside just rehab clinics). For some individuals, an eating disorder may occur alongside a drug or alcohol problem. In order to help someone get the care they need, it’s important to see a therapist who is trained in treating both eating disorders and addiction.

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.

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: 08/18/2018