Addiction is a grave dilemma that cannot be ignored. The more the addiction is denied, the more problem it poses not only to the addict but to the family as well. Counselling is one possible solution on how to approach problems such as addiction. However, in counselling, patience is needed.
The family must be patient in waiting for the slow but sure change that comes with counselling and also patience for the addicted family member. It will take some time for counselling to take effect and it is a continuous process. Counselling is defined collectively as a process of exploring an individual’s life that pertains to the problems causing emotional pain or frustrations while focusing on improving his or her psychological well-being in such a way that the client will be able to reach their full potential after the program.
An alcohol and drug counsellor deals with the issues that could have caused the addiction for the individual. Before the actual counselling begins, the counsellor has to be able to gather apt and suffice data and information regarding the past and the present condition of the individual that needs counselling.
Assessment or getting the basis data from the client for treatment is one of the methods used in counselling. Upon entry into the program, a safe and trusting environment has to be established and then determining the problem to be worked on follows. In determination of this problem, counselling has to involve assessment.
Assessment involves gathering pertinent information and data about the client. Some methods that counsellors use for assessment include qualitative techniques, testing, behavioural evaluation and checking of past records, among many others.
The data gathered by the counsellor is then interpreted to be able to formulate a hypothesis or a diagnosis regarding the client’s condition. However, assessment is not just a one-time affair. Assessment should be progressive and all through out the program to ensure that there has been an improvement in the client. Because counselling is continuous, so is the assessing of the client.
This can be of help to the treatment because whatever the client is feeling as of the moment may change throughout the course of the counselling. The objectives that the client has agreed to meet upon today may have to be changed as the days go by either because of progress or by retreat. In addition, there might be new problems that emerged as a result of the few therapeutic sessions that took place already or there might be fewer problems than when the first assessment occurred.
As aforementioned, the assessment of the client can also be used as a basis for progress. Another helpful tool in assessing the client is collecting and examining the client’s past records. This is because when only the client is interview and assessed, he or she may not be aware of the past problems or issues that he or she was suffering from and in turn may hide this from the present counselling.
In addition, these records may be able to assist the current counsellor on what the previous treatments done to the client were not able to work, so that the counsellor would not invest time and effort in it. In addiction counselling, the vital assessment tools that are to be conducted on a regular basis are the urinalysis and breath analyzer tests, in addition to the self-reports addictive behaviour.
The Addiction Severity Index or the ASI, is an interview that quantifies the seven addiction-related areas which are drug and alcohol use, medical, family/social, psychiatric, legal, and employment/support troubles.
As soon as the counsellor has figured out what his actions or plans are, the client can now be engaged in the program. It is important that the counsellor and the client have some sort of contract or even a verbal agreement on what they both plan to achieve at the end of the treatment program. By doing so, the commitment and the expectations are both laid out in the open.
Once the goal has been identified and the client and counsellor agreement is committed into achieving it or least trying to, an exploration process is started upon by the counsellor.
The counsellor will explore on the different approaches that he or she can take to attack the problem presented in front of him or her. There are a lot of solutions and interventions that the counsellor can implement but he or she should be careful in choosing it.
The factors that he or she should consider would be the ones that he or she was able to find out from the previous assessment that he or she made. Sometimes, to get a second opinion, the counsellor can also seek for a brainstorming session with his or her colleagues, albeit the identity of the client is not freely shared for confidentiality purposes.
When the exploration process is done and the counsellor has devised an approach on the problem, he can now choose from the solutions on hand. However, choosing one method or one solution now does not mean that he cannot alter this in the process. Tweaking the approach per client’s need may be necessary, but it will always be the call of the counsellor to do such a move.