Is counseling right for me?
Seeking out counseling is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to counseling. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing substance use issues, or problems with addictions. Other times it is in response to unexpected events in one’s life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a counselor can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges around substance abuse. Counseling can help address many types of issues including anger management, substance addiction, conflict, grief, stress management, and general life transitions. Counseling is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives without substances running their life moving forward.
Do I really need counseling? I can usually handle my problems on my own.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it especially around substance use. In fact, counseling is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking counseling. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can counseling help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in substance abuse counseling. Counselors can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues around substance abuse, interventions, anger management, grief, and stress management. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Counselors can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from counseling depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from counseling include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek counseling
- Learning new ways to cope with life without substances
- Managing anger, grief, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is counseling like?
Every counseling session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for substance abuse counselors to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during counseling sessions and how substances fit into that picture. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Counseling can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues with substances or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the counseling sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For counseling to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking chemical dependency counseling are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of counseling:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is counseling confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and counselor. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The counselor is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The counselor is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The counselor will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.