There is perhaps no area in which an excellent counselor is desperately needed than in the addiction treatment space. A licensed substance abuse counselor can make a tremendous impact on a current or recovering addicts life. While there are many nuances to treating and guiding those who are having substance abuse problems, group therapy is a critical component to letting people know that they are not alone. In group therapy, a person in recovery can sit in a non-judgmental space and vent their frustrations with other people who are in solidarity with them.
Three of the most impactful aspects of group therapy are as follows:
Everyone—especially those who are in the grips of addiction, are carrying around a tremendous existential load at all times. This can be overwhelming when it comes to introducing yourself in a group therapy space. Part of you wants to unload everything that has ever happened to you which led to your addiction and another part of you wishes to say nothing, to close up. A good addiction counselor can get the participants to answer a couple of questions earnestly. Questions such as:
- Is there anything you are currently working on changing about your life?
- What was your high this week, what was your low?
- What is one thing you are proud of yourself for doing?
The purpose of these sorts of questions is not to get impressive answers or “correct” answers. It is in the same vein of the Socratic method, to make the person being asked the questions arrive at their own conclusions. The question is merely a stimulus to get them thinking in ways they ordinarily would not. This is unbelievably useful when considering many people are not just physiologically addicted to substances, but there is a huge psychological addiction component as well. This psychological addiction is a product of being stuck in the grooves of a tired, negative and unproductive perspective. For someone to change their life and their relationship to their addiction, they must change their perspective on it first.
Shining Light on Your Triggers
When do you feel like using the most? What makes you want to use? Questions like these are just a handful when exploring the complex topic of triggers and how people respond to those triggers. One of the most important things for a person who is addicted is to thoroughly understand the triggers which drive them to use.
Surprisingly—or unsurprisingly, many addicts are not entirely sure what causes them to engage in the behaviors they do. This is where counseling is invaluable, shining light on an addict’s triggers can help that person avoid or reframe those things which eat at them. It’s a life-changing realization.
A side effect of discussing triggers in group therapy is the oftentimes profound effect that it has on the group as a whole. If one addict is listening to another discuss their triggers, many times they will either have a wholesome moment of solidarity—having the same trigger and feeling as if they are not alone in their struggle. Or the converse will happen, they will think nothing of that persons trigger and maybe even believe that it is trivial. This is not intended to be condescending, but rather it shows the person that triggers are highly personal and much of the shame involved in not being able to deal with those situations is mitigated when hearing the stories of others.
Who Do You Admire?
Ask your group participants if there is anyone they admire. This is a simple activity that can make people think about what qualities they admire in others. Aspirations are incredibly important in giving people the hope they need to move forward. Hope is a beautiful thing which the human spirit clings to dearly. There is no moment more precious in a counselors life when they know an addict they are working with has begun to turn around, their attitude, speech, and actions are shifting towards a more hopeful future—and you can see it in their eyes. Having an ideal to strive towards is not only a spiritual need but also a very goal-oriented approach.
Lumiere Healing Centers
At Lumiere, our promise is to be dedicated to your recovery, to guide you towards a brighter future of sobriety, and to support you throughout your recovery, even after you leave. This is our creed, and our active alumni program is proof of this. When you go with Lumiere, you’re not just getting access to some of the best addiction treatment specialists and counselors available.
You’re also becoming part of a big family of professionals as well as those who are in recovery who form the links in our support system. We vow to be with you every step of the way so that you or a loved one do not have to face addiction alone. Visit our contact page or give us a call at (513)-847-3573 so that the first steps towards a fruitful recovery can be made.
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