What is Counseling?
Counseling is a type of professional guidance for handling problems in life. There are many types of counselors, and they serve an incredibly wide variety of people with all kinds of different needs. There are general counselors, marriage and family counselors, school and student counselors, career and vocational counselors, religious counselors, and gerontological counselors specifically for the elderly.
In all cases, counseling works when the client and the counselor talk to each other and develop a trusting relationship. The counselor listens respectfully to the client’s problems. Then the two together work on identifying goals, increasing coping skills to overcome any troubles, and improving useful skills such as communication. The goals of counseling will be different for each person, but generally they include an increased sense of well being, decreased distress and anxiety, resolved crisis, and increased ability and function in daily life.
What is Addiction?
The recreational use of alcohol or drugs can sometimes become so compulsive for a user that it causes physical changes to the body and brain. When people are addicted to a substance, they may want to stop using because of the harmful effects but are unable to do so on their own. Addiction recovery involves medical and psychological help to break free from an addiction.
There are generally three broad steps or phases of addiction recovery. First, detoxification removes the harmful substance from the body. This step can be difficult physically, depending on the substance and level of addiction, and in some cases it can even be life-threatening. Medical care and support are important to help patients through the uncomfortable side effects of detox.
The second step is treatment, which may involve several different kinds of psychotherapy and counseling, medication, or both. The most commonly used forms of therapy are cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and motivational interview therapy. Goals of treatment generally include developing coping skills outside of substance use, identifying what caused the substance abuse in the first place, and repairing relationships. Medications such as methadone, naltrexone, or nicotine replacement help to relieve cravings and curb the physical effects of withdrawal.
The final phase of addiction recovery is maintenance or relapse prevention. Addiction is a chronic disease and treatment will be long-term. So while care at this stage may not be as frequent or intense as during the first two stages, in order to be successful, it needs to be in place.
Addiction is a very difficult disease that takes a huge toll on patients and their loved ones. Treating addiction can be challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Addiction specialists provide hope to those caught in a cycle they cannot escape without help.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is commonly referred to as talk therapy or simply therapy. Trained therapists help and guide patients as they talk through issues in their life and problem-solve ways to make healthy changes.
The use of therapy is extremely common, with millions of people going through therapy each year in the United States alone. It can be useful for patients who want to learn coping skills when they are facing difficult issues or need to heal from past trauma. Therapy can also be a support tool when patients are facing stressful periods in their life. Essentially, therapy is helpful any time life events require more mental or emotional resources than a patient currently has. Change is a major theme of therapy, offering a supportive environment for patients to make changes to their life or themselves so that past problems stop recurring in the future.
There are several different types of psychotherapy, with the most common being cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This type of therapy focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a form of CBT that encourages acceptance and validation as well as change. Interpersonal therapy focuses on relationships and communication as a pathway to feeling better. Psychoanalysis, an older form of therapy invented by Sigmund Freud, teaches that all problems stem from the unconscious.
Although many people see therapists by themselves, not all psychotherapy is one-on-one. For example, in family therapy, the therapist treats a family as a unit. Patients can also participate in group therapy, where they meet as a group to work on issues.
Psychotherapy is a safe, powerful healing tool that can help patients lead happier and healthier lives. However, therapy is a joint effort between the patient and the therapist. Both need to work together in order for therapy to be effective.
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