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).

Ph.D:

A Ph.D, also known as a doctoral degree, is one of the most advanced academic degrees there is. It can take 4-8+ years to complete a Ph.D program. Getting a Ph.D involves advanced training in research and evaluation (i.e. looking at other research studies that already exist and making connections between them), as well as completing original research in the form of a dissertation. A person can hold a Ph.D in addition to other degrees, so for example you can be an MD with a Ph.D or LPC with a Ph.D. Some people with Ph.Ds can specialize in substance abuse rehabilitation. Those with doctoral degrees are generally held in high regard within the academic and wider community (they have a lot of prestige), and generally charge higher prices for their services if they are in private practice. They do not generally help with interventions.

LMHC:

A Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) is someone licensed by a state board to provide professional counseling and mental health therapy. A licensed mental health counselor must have a master's degree in counseling or psychology. Mental health counselors often provide both individual and group counseling. Some mental health counselors focus on helping individuals overcome substance abuse or addiction. Working with a mental health counselor can be very beneficial for someone struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. Some counselors are trained in helping families and loved ones stage an intervention.

Qualifications:

License Number provided by State: LH00003540 Washington
School: Saybrook University
Years of Experience: 20+ Years
Year Graduated: 2002

Intake:

LGBTQ Programs

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.

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.
Last Updated: 07/17/2018