1. What is substance abuse counseling or therapy?

Substance abuse counseling is a combination of treatment and support to help people break free from drug or alcohol addiction. This specific type of therapy is often a key part of rehabilitation programs so clients can overcome substance dependence mentally and emotionally. Clients will work with a licensed addiction counselor or substance abuse counselor in several scenarios, such as:

2. How to tell if you need a substance abuse counselor or therapist?

If you’ve suffered negative consequences as the result of your substance use, or wanted to quit and haven’t been able to, you could probably benefit from seeing a substance abuse counselor or therapist.The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) defines substance dependence as “a maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” over a 12-month period. Substance abuse is defined as “a maladaptive pattern of substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of substances.” . Some people think because they haven’t had legal problems or can hold down a job that they don’t need help. However, lacking in some areas like interpersonal relationships, health, or missed opportunities as the result of substance abuse are some of the most common reasons people finally choose to see someone.

Sometimes it’s hard to really see the negative consequences of drug abuse because the brain’s neurochemistry is thrown off and so it’s hard to pass good judgement. Most people who abuse substances regularly experience this to some degree. What is substance abuse? Substance abuse refers to the regular use of addictive substances. Substance abuse is a pattern of using mood altering substances. The enjoyable effects of these substances are now usually overshadowed by the negative effects of substance abuse. In many ways, these substances not only harm a person’s physical being, but they can also eventually shatter one’s soul. When the priority becomes getting more drugs or alcohol above all else, morals and ethics often fall to the wayside.

The only way to be certain whether you could benefit from seeing a substance abuse counselor is to reach out and get a conversation going. At Seachange Recovery, we’re happy to speak with anyone suffering from substance abuse or dependency. As recovering addicts ourselves, we’re passionate about helping others overcome the chains of addiction.

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3. How to find the right substance abuse counselor or therapist?

There are several factors to consider when seeking out a substance abuse therapist. In many cases, an inpatient setting helps to ensure the temptations of relapse are kept at bay. Our program offers a residential setting for all the addiction counseling and therapy to take place.Your substance abuse counselor works closely with both the client and his/her family since substance abuse tends to affect both the addict and everyone around them.

As if helping someone and their family work through the immediate consequences substance dependency wasn’t enough, they also must act as a trusted friend. Substance abuse counselors are there to help someone work through the stuff that was swept under the rug for so many years. With this in mind, it’s important that your counselor is extremely compassionate and caring. In addition, they must also have strong planning, goal setting, and listening skills as the recovery process is a journey full of peaks and valleys. They’ll help you discover things worth working towards outside the chains of addiction.

Seachange Recovery is a JCAHO accredited facility, one of the most prestigious credentials available in the industry. When choosing a treatment center or substance abuse counselor, it’s important to know whether they carry the proper bachelor degree, certifications, meeting all the education requirements needed to help. These accreditations vary from state to state, however, in all cases a significant amount of schooling is required in this field.

4. What are the types of substance abuse counseling or therapy?

Before we talked about the types of situations where a substance abuse counselor is able to help assist their client in finding a new way of life. You have many treatment options for substance abuse. The best counselors employ a wide variety of techniques. Here are just a handful our counselors at Seachange Recovery use regularly:

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12-Step Facilitation Therapy

12 step programs are the most tried and true way to help alcoholics and addicts overcome their substance dependency. There are specific options for just about every type of problem, be it alcohol, opioids, cocaine and even codependency. Whatever strategies you use, make sure to include 12-step as part of your program.

Putting together goals, milestones and a plan for success

Contingency Management and Motivational Incentives

Contingency Management and Motivational Incentives are both ways to make therapy more effective. They both use tangible rewards to reinforce positive behavior. In Contingency Management, the therapist and client work together to come up with a list of tasks that the client will complete. It teaches you to view your cravings as just that—cravings. It helps you to respond to these cravings in a way that allows you to choose how to react to them rather than just acting on them. Prize-based incentives reward drug-free screens with a chance to win a prize by drawing from a bowl.

Community Reinforcement

The community reinforcement approach is a well-known treatment for alcoholism. This program is based on the idea that in order to stay sober, it’s important to have a sober community. The program encourages you to meet with other alcoholics in your community and form friendships with them. Motivational incentives are used to retain clients in treatment programs and to help them stay sober. These incentives can include anything from help with job training for a sober companion to a reward for remaining sober for a certain amount of time. The success of MRT lies in the philosophy of self-management which is based on the theory that the individual with the problem is the best person to solve it. The motivational incentives involve incentives in the form of familial, social and recreational rewards in addition to vouchers to motivate abstinence from substance abuse.

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Building life skills that may have fallen to the wayside during addiction

Alternative & Holistic Therapies

Studies support that alternative and holistic therapies can have a tremendous impact on someone’s prospects of long-lasting sobriety. Some of these techniques have been used for centuries, some are on the cutting edge. In any case, these therapies are all about finding inner peace, happiness, and enjoyment outside the realm of drugs and alcohol.

Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India. It’s about more than physical fitness because it’s also about finding inner peace. A clinical trial involving yoga and mindfulness found the therapies were effective complements to preventing and treating addiction, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. The researchers said the integrative therapies may be used to complement existing addiction treatment services and also help to reduce the burden on the health care system. Additionally, a clinical trial on mindfulness therapy published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found yoga was a feasible and effective treatment for opioid abuse and chronic pain.

Animal Therapy

Animal-assisted therapy is used to treat a variety of ailments, including drug addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The therapy is also used to help people with physical disabilities and developmental delays. The animals are trained to recognize the needs of the patients and adjust their behavior accordingly. Animal-assisted therapy is a type of therapy that involves people in recovery voluntarily helping animals at shelters or having animals during traditional therapy sessions.

Research indicates animal- or pet-assisted therapy can improve a patient’s participation in treatment and willingness to talk about any history of trauma or substance abuse. Animal-assisted therapy is a great way to reduce stress, fear and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, animal-assisted therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses dogs or other animals to improve a person’s physical and emotional health.


Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including addiction. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that involves inserting fine needles into the body to stimulate healing. One study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was just as effective as a commonly used prescription drug for treating cocaine addiction. A randomized control trial published in the American Journal of Public Health found that acupuncture treatment (versus no treatment) significantly improved tobacco smoking cessation rates, and that treatment effects were maintained at 6 months.

Music Therapy

Music therapists use music and lyrics to help patients address issues and express feelings. Music therapy techniques include lyric analysis, songwriting, musical games and ad-libbing music based on emotions. During music therapy, patients engage emotions, motivations and barriers to treatment through lyrics and melody. In a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy, researchers found that songwriting can promote healthy change. In another study, researchers found that drumming can promote relaxation and that singing and dancing can reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression.

A study published in the Drug and Alcohol Review found that music therapy was positively associated with a patient’s willingness to participate in treatment. The study found that patients who participated in music therapy reported higher levels of motivation to change and self-esteem compared to those who didn’t participate in music therapy.

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Art Therapy

This is a type of psychotherapy used for the treatment of mental health issues. It involves the use of art materials to help patients express themselves and communicate their feelings. Art therapists often encourage their patients to use art and other creative outlets to express themselves.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creative process of art making to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Art therapy is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of presenting problems. One of the most common art therapy techniques used by therapists is interpretation. When a client makes an art piece, the therapist will take the time to carefully analyze the piece and look for hidden messages, symbols, and emotions that may be subconsciously present in the art.

Horticultural Therapy

Learning how to cope in life without drugs and alcohol

Behaviorial Therapies:

These are the most commonly used types of substance abuse therapy used by treatment centers in the United States according to the 2014 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Behaviorial therapy boils down to helping clients understand high risk behavior and how to avoid it.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that teaches you to recognize negative or destructive thought patterns, and then replace them with thoughts that are more positive and constructive. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that how you think can influence how you feel, which can influence the way you behave. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people learn how to identify and change destructive thoughts and behaviors. A central part of CBT is anticipating and coping with high-risk situations. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular therapies in addiction medicine, and counselors use it to treat a variety of addictions. The cognitive part of CBT focuses on changing thought patterns, beliefs, and perceptions. Clients learn to identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs, and to develop more positive and healthy thinking patterns.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people with borderline personality disorder better control their emotions. DBT was developed in the 1980s by psychology researcher Marsha Linehan. DBT is recommended as the most effective psychotherapy treatment for patients with borderline personality disorder. One of the tenets of DBT is that we are all responsible for our own actions and that we have the power to change our behaviors. It’s also important to understand that you’re not alone in how you think or feel and that there is no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be effective in treating several mental health disorders that often co-occur with addiction. It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but it can also be used to treat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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The Matrix Model

The Matrix model of addiction treatment, which was developed by Joseph Volpicelli and his colleagues at Yale, is a framework for helping people recover from stimulant addiction. It involves using several evidence-based therapies that promote relapse prevention and encourage family therapy, education and support-group participation. The Matrix model has four elements:

1. Motivation for change.

2. Coping with urges.

3. Social support.

4. Lifestyle balance.

Getting to the root cause of what started and continues the addiction

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach that has been found to be effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has been used as a therapeutic intervention in substance use disorders. EMDR therapy is a form of psychotherapy that works by re-processing the memory of a traumatic event in a person’s life so it’s not as painful. The patient performs external eye movements while thinking of the traumatic event, and the therapist talks him or her through the process. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that has been found to be very effective in treating people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Motivational Therapies

Motivational therapies are therapies that often employ a 12-step model. They can include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and motivational enhancement therapy. Motivational therapies are often used in conjunction with other therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. The therapies help patients find internal motivation to begin or continue treatment. The therapies also provide a foundation for patients to build on through coping and adaptive skills, and take ownership of their own recovery.

Motivational Interviewing

A therapeutic technique used in counselling to change patient behavior. The therapist begins by eliciting motivational statements from the patient. Then, the therapist supports the patient’s self-motivation and the pair discuss ways to cope with risky situations.

Talk therapy to work through your current problems

Family Counseling and Therapies

If you’re in the situation where you need to hire an addiction counselor or therapist for yourself or a loved one, you might be surprised to learn that a large part of the counseling will involve counseling for your family. Don’t be afraid to get professional help when dealing with a loved one’s addiction or substance abuse. Therapy teaches families the underlying causes of addiction, how to reduce risk factors for relapse and how to properly support their loved one in recovery.

Family counseling is beneficial for family members negatively affected by another person’s addiction. It helps each family member learn about the impact his or her actions have on others, and it teaches families how to effectively communicate and function.

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Family Behavior Therapy

Family behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves the whole family. It addresses many issues that are considered to be common to the entire family, and doesn’t just focus on the individual. Family behavior therapy is used to treat a variety of issues, including eating disorders, behavioral problems, and anxiety disorders. The goal of these programs is to reduce risk factors for addiction, such as unemployment, family conflict, abuse and conduct issues. These programs have already been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of addiction, unemployment, criminal activity and violence.

Multisystemic Family Therapy

Multisystemic therapy is a type of therapy that was developed by Dr. David Adams in the 1970s. The therapy is used primarily for children and adolescents who have severe antisocial behavior that is a result of their being affected by addiction. MST is designed to correct attitudes toward drug abuse, improve family discipline, teach conflict resolution skills, eliminate parental drug use, improve school attendance and performance, and eradicate environmental prevalence of drugs. Each MST participant follows a structured, comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes issues of personal growth, family relationships, and constructive use of leisure time.

The philosophy behind the program is that low-income kids will be more successful if they’re supported in the environments they know best, such as their homes, schools and neighborhoods. And when kids get support, they are far less likely to abuse drugs, get arrested and end up in the criminal justice system.

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional family therapy is an outpatient treatment that helps address the behavioral, emotional, and academic needs of teens who abuse drugs. The program helps teens and their families learn how to identify and deal with difficult situations, and teaches them how to develop problem solving skills. Social learning theory suggests that we learn from our environment and that information and skills are passed along through networks and social interactions. The theory focuses on individual, family, peer and community networks and suggests that these networks help to reduce problem behavior and encourage healthy behavior. This approach involves individual sessions and family sessions in which the adolescent learns decision-making and problem-solving skills. During family sessions, parents examine their parenting style and learn to positively and effectively influence healthy behavior.

Brief Strategic Family Therapy

Brief strategic family therapy (BSFT) is a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the importance of family relationships in the development and maintenance of adolescent drug abuse and other problem behaviors. While the therapist is most concerned with the adolescent, the family is a major force in the adolescent’s life. The concept of Behavior Systems Family Therapy (BSFT) was developed by Dr. Paul Watzlawick, famous for his development of the theory of family communication. In BSFT, the therapist identifies and corrects family interactions that provoke problematic behavior. The approach can be used in mental health facilities, rehab clinics, homes and a variety of other settings. In fact, the approach is already being used in more than 50 countries.

Functional Family Therapy

A lot of people believe that dysfunctional families come from a place of dysfunction. However, it’s actually the other way around. Dysfunctional family interactions create and support problematic behavior. Therefore, if you want to change the family dynamic, you need to treat the behavior that is causing the dysfunction.

The Family Function Therapy (FFT) is a program designed to help families change dysfunctional communication and problem-solving patterns. The goal of the program is to improve communication, problem-solving skills and parenting skills. Each therapy session involves the adolescent and one or more family members. FFT is one of the most effective therapies for treating childhood obesity. FFT engages families in the treatment process. It also incorporates contingency management techniques and other types of behavioral therapy. Families and children are rewarded for their progress and punished for not following the program.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a type of brain stimulation therapy that uses magnetic fields to stimulate targeted regions of the brain. It’s an FDA-approved procedure that is used to treat depression, and is also being studied for its potential to treat other conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and chronic pain.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive treatment that uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This stimulation has been shown to improve symptoms of neurological or mental health disorders, including depression, by creating new connections between nerve cells.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

According to SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and MAT programs are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

According to SAMSHA dual diagnosis can mean having both mental and developmental disorders. “Mental health counseling, mental health professionals”

Dual diagnosis is the term that mental health counselors use to describe when someone has both a mental health disorder and a developmental disorder. In the US, the term dual diagnosis is more commonly used, but in other parts of the world, it’s also referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.
Dual diagnosis is when a person has a mental health and addiction problem at the same time. When someone has both an addiction and a mental health issue, the chances of them getting sober are much lower than if they were only dealing with just one of those issues. Dual diagnosis facilities are an alternative to mental health centers.

Trauma-Focused Therapy

Trauma-Focused Therapy is a specific approach to therapy that recognizes and emphasizes understanding how the traumatic experience impacts a client with substance dependency’s mental, behavioral, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. In Trauma-Focused Therapy, the child is viewed as being affected by trauma, rather than simply the victim of trauma.