Therapy is often this mysterious process where people go in, lie down on a couch and talk about their childhood until there is some miraculous breakthrough and the right words are said, and they are cured. Which, honestly may have been the goal of therapy 100 years ago, but the discipline has grown a lot with time, study and most importantly research into the field. We now know what it takes to help people more effectively, and what people need to do to get the most out of rehab therapy and addiction counselling. Here are some tips to help you get the most help you can from treatment.
Choosing a therapist is like choosing a partner or spouse; you don’t just pick anyone that you see on the street. You find the right one for you, and then take the time to get to know each other and begin moving forward. Now, obviously, you are not marrying your therapist, but you will be talking to them about many personal aspects of your life. You will want to have someone you feel comfortable with, and you trust. Try to talk with them on the phone first before you make that appointment and get a feel for them. What does your gut say? If you feel like this is a good fit, then go ahead to the next step, but if something seems like this is not a good fit, start looking for someone else. If they cannot handle your specific issue, like addictions is one that often people will refer out to other therapists’ to treat, then you need to find someone who is confident and qualified in that issue.
It is ok to ask questions about your therapist’s skill, understanding and background with whatever it is that you are dealing with. Get details upfront. Ask about billing and how this will be paid, so there are no surprises when you are in session. If this is someone who has never even heard of your specific issue before, then you should move along. If you cannot afford it, or it would be a stretch for your budget, find someone else. What will happen if you try to make it work is that you will make a couple of sessions before finances and stress catch up with you, and then you will see that therapist fewer and fewer times until you stop going.
Honesty is the best policy
This cannot be said enough: you need to be honest with your therapist if they are going to help you. Most likely, they have heard worse that day anyway. Therapists and counsellors are also bound by ethical and legal codes that prevent them from even acknowledging you are a client of theirs, let alone what specific things you say, so they will not be divulging this to others, and there would be severe consequences for them if they did. For people with an addiction, they may be dealing with a tremendous sense of shame and guilt, which often leads to deception or half-truths. Therapists understand this and want to help you through this if you give them a chance. They will not make you feel any worse than you already do about yourself; in fact, they want you to feel better.
The reason that they need your help and your honesty to help you is that they do not know you yet, only you know what is going on in your head and your heart. Only you know your history. Only you can help find the root cause of the problems for which you are seeking help. If they do not have the correct or complete information, they may diagnose you incorrectly, and provide the wrong kind of suggestions based on that diagnosis.
Imagine it this way, if you went to a therapist, but were too scared to admit to your therapist that you were anxious and fearful because you were having suicidal thoughts. They would just know about the anxiety and would work with you on that, not the suicidal thoughts, which were the more important problem. They would still be there, and you would see therapy as a failure. You need to be honest with your therapist about everything that is going on and troubling you in order to get the most out of therapy.
Setting goals for addiction counselling
Make sure you set goals for yourself in therapy. The reason behind this one is simple; how will you know when you have improved without a goal for improvement. Make reasonable ones with your therapist. They will have a general sense of how specific issues are to treat, so let them help guide you with goals and a timeframe.
Most important things first
Along with setting goals, select the issues that need to be handled first. Again, listen to your therapist’s advice on this, but you know what is most distressing for you. Every day you have to live with the thoughts and feelings that are bringing you to a therapist, so which are the most troubling, which can you tolerate the least? That should be your beginning point for what to take on first. There may be times to treat things concurrently or to go for lesser troubling matters first. This usually happens in cases where people are dealing with addiction. Handling addiction may be about getting them off drugs or alcohol as part of the major goals, so they are clear-headed enough to talk about why they started using in the first place.
Homework for addiction counselling is important
Homework, unfortunately, did not stop when you left school. In therapy, there is often homework or practice to do outside of the therapist’s office. This is a regular part of treatment and should be done to give yourself the best chance of having a successful outcome. This can be things like talking to someone that is giving you anxiety, keeping a journal, or sometimes it’s simply doing something to pamper yourself. Examining what happened, how it worked, and what didn’t work is a strong part of therapy so that you can figure out the best treatment approaches that work for you and your needs.
Therapy and addiction counselling can be an investment in time and money, but the outcome is well worth it when you are less stressed and able to deal with life without harmful skills like an addiction. Considering the investment needed, it is wise to look at it in ways to get the most out of it and have the best chances for success. These tips will put you on the path towards a wonderful therapeutic alliance and a healthier life ahead of you.
Detox Plus UK can offer referrals to trained therapists and counsellors throughout the UK who specialise in addiction treatment and addiction counselling. Call now to find out how we can help you make the right choice for you and your loved ones to help your emotional health recover in line with your addiction treatments.