5 Questions to Ask Your Counselor During a Recovery Therapy

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Drug addiction is a dangerous disease that affects many areas of a person’s life. Recovery from addiction is important to restore or realize the individual’s quality of life and tap into their full potential. Addiction requires individualized treatments that focus on the symptoms and underlying causes as well as consequences of the substance use in various areas of the person’s life.

Undergoing recovery therapy is a personal decision of the affected person. For effective and long-lasting recovery, some factors must be put into consideration. One of them is understanding the process. Below are five questions you should ask your counselor during drug recovery therapy.

What is Your Approach to Therapy?

It is important to understand your therapist’s approach to the problem beforehand. The first thing to ask is, “what is your treatment approach for alcohol addicts?” Before deciding on a course of action, it is helpful to hear different perspectives from potential counselors. Note if the counselor has a process that has some structure, meaning they have a plan. It should not have too much structure that it cannot be flexible. Listen for evidence-based behavioral approaches.

You should take note that the approach is not the same for all patients. Look out for therapists and counselors who stigmatize patients with inflammatory language, such as calling them addicts, drunks, or worse. Avoid anyone who suggests that a patient needs a confrontational approach. You need to find a caring and supportive environment like The Forge Recovery Center. Inflammatory language that tries to guilt or stigmatize the patient goes against the modern view of addiction.

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Do You Offer Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Find out if the counselor works with physicians to help patients receive medication-assisted treatment. If yes, in what situation. Medication can be helpful to some people. It gives the brain time to heal as other therapies continue. Note if your counselor is willing to coordinate with a doctor who can prescribe medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxieties.

Medications may not be necessary, but the option should at least be available. Avoid counselors who argue that these medications substitute one addiction for another; approved medications are not addictive. A qualified doctor will prescribe the right alcohol use disorder medications.

What Should I Expect?

It is important to set your expectations concerning the treatment process. This question also helps you develop a sense of commitment from both sides. From this, you will want to hear the duration of the therapy in terms of sessions per week, minutes per session, and so on. Listen to the expectations of the counselor. For example, some will want you to attend mutual-help groups, others will ask you to sign an agreement that you will take your medications.

Different therapists have different expectations. You might want to know how family members may be involved in the patient’s treatment. It might help to have family therapy if they are open to it. Seek to find out if the therapist offers family support counseling or can recommend a family therapist. Go for what is favorable. Avoid rigid expectations and inflexible rules. An example is a policy to stop treating a patient who has a relapse.

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How Can You Help Me Manage Relapse?

During drug addiction recovery, the patient may have a relapse. Ask your counselor how they handle a patient who gets a relapse during treatment. This question will give you a sense of how the therapist views addiction and treatment. Substance use disorder can become a chronic condition. People can have periods of recovery or relapse or sometimes heavy substance use. A relapse can turn out to be a learning experience that can help patients to recognize changes they need to make.

You want to hear that the therapist recognizes that relapse is part of the recovery process. Relapse is not a failure. It indicates the need for additional recovery support and a change of strategies. This can be gained by adjusting goals, medications, counseling, or a combination of all three. Learn whether your potential counselor would respond by making appropriate changes to the patient’s treatment. How relapse is managed is important to the patient’s ongoing recovery.

What Ongoing Recovery Supports Are Available?

After the initial recovery therapy, further patient support is important. Find out if this is offered by your counselor. For example, “are there ongoing recovery support services available?” Why should you ask this? Therapy periods vary from one counselor to another. A counselor and the patient may agree on a set number of sessions at the start of therapy but may come to find that at the end of these sessions there is a need to continue.

It is advisable to ask if there will be support services once this period has stopped and to find out if the therapist would create an ongoing plan with recommendations once a person has completed their initial treatment. This may include refresher sessions, telephone check-ins, and plans for what to do in case of a relapse.

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What Kind of Support is Offered for Other Mental Health and Medical Issues?

If there are other mental health and medical issues, how do you address them? This is a question that should be asked by any recovering patient. Most substance users are likely to have other mental issues such as anxiety and depression, or both. A single provider can offer all the help a patient may need. This includes other drugs, mental health, medical, family, and social problems. A good provider should recommend their patient to other qualified providers for complete and effective treatment. Listen for the willingness to coordinate with medical doctors, social service agencies, and other resources as needed.

Though it may seem early to think about what happens after the treatment, it is advisable to plan for it. By asking these questions, a person is ready to move from research into treatment. You already know what to expect. The drug addiction recovery process is not an easy journey, but with the right therapist, it can be smoother and lead the patient to greater chances of success. Treat your search for a drug recovery counselor the way you would any other health care decision: carefully, and with thorough research.