Making the decision to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction is one of the most important ones you’ll make in your life. It’s not easy to admit that you have a problem and to take proactive steps toward getting help, but it is certainly one of the best things you can do for yourself. Many people who begin recovery also make the decision to begin therapy, where they can explore the deeper issues that may be at the heart of their addiction. Whether it is depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or another mental disorder, regularly visiting a therapist can be a great tool for your recovery, and for your wellness in general.
Luckily there are therapists out there that do specialize in addiction and alcoholism recovery. It’s really up to you to decide what area you want to focus on in therapy, what kind of therapy you want, or whether you want to visit a psychiatrist for medication. The following guide will hopefully shed some light on the choices out there and help guide you toward making the best decision for your recovery.
What can an addiction psychologist do?
This type of trained mental health professional can work with you to take a closer look at how addiction has affected your life. Using methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, or 12 step treatment, the therapist can show you how to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior and learn healthier ways of dealing with them. You will also have opportunities to talk through your problems and learn where your issues lie. This is all done in 50 minute sessions that can be once or even twice a week.
How to choose the right therapist.
You can find a therapist by searching verified directories online, or by getting a recommendation from someone you know or a doctor. Take a look at their background and determine what factors are most important to you. Do you want a therapist with years of experience or who is older, or someone who is younger? Be sure to find out what methods they have been trained in and have experience in as well. A therapist who stays up to date with training in the most recent evidence based methods is usually a good choice. You may also want to work with a therapist of your own gender.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, get in contact with the therapists to see if they’re taking new patients and if they feel like a good fit. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell the therapists you speak with that you’re in the process of choosing one and to ask any questions that are important for your decision. Be sure to ask if he or she has experience with recovering addicts and alcoholics, as well as a solid background in the mental health issues most relevant to you. If everything seems to match up and you feel a connection with the therapist, make that initial appointment.
At the first appointment, you can see if meeting face to face with the therapist feels comfortable. This will be a person that you’ll commit to working with on a treatment plan and on building greater self awareness of your issues. Your therapist will play an important role in your recovery, so if they don’t seem right for some reason it’s perfectly alright to try again with a different individual. For many people, it takes a few tries to find the therapist that they can work with.