In order to get the most out of counseling for a substance use disorder in the shortest amount of time, maximize productive time with your addiction counselor by following these simple tips.
1. Be Honest
Denial often plays a part in addiction, but to carry it into counseling is counterproductive. You’re in treatment to build a renewed and sober life, so the more truthful you are, the better your counselor will understand you and the issues you face. The better understanding your counselor has, the more they can help you.
2. Don’t Be Afraid
You may hesitate to talk about things you’ve done or experienced, or trauma from the past may make you feel shameful or guilt-ridden. Don’t be afraid to talk about it; your counselor is trained to be non-judgmental.
3. Give Your Counselor Feedback
Most counselors are well-meaning, open-minded and willing to help. But, they’re human like everyone else and may misread your needs. If there’s something that bothers you, or you’d like a different approach to your therapy sessions, one great way to boost productive time with your addiction counselor is to give feedback.
A good counselor will welcome feedback. If your counselor doesn’t take your concerns seriously or refuses to accept feedback, it might be time for you to consider another therapist.
4. Come Prepared
You’ll have more productive time with your addiction counselor if you come prepared.1 If your counselor asked you to do homework and report back on the next session, make sure you do so.
Also, if you keep a journal, bring the journal with you to your appointments. You can easily refer to it when you’re trying to remember when something happened or why something occurred. If your counselor gives you a reading assignment, be sure to have it completed by the agreed-upon deadline.
Therapy is most productive when you and you counselor collaborate. Be an active client and engage in your therapy sessions to maximize your productive time with your addiction counselor by:
- Helping to set goals for your addiction treatment
- Working with your counselor to formulate a timeline
- Asking questions about your treatment plan
- Sharing feedback so upcoming sessions will be more effective
- Asking your therapist for book or website suggestions where you can find useful information
6. Stay Mindful
Changing behaviors, especially those connected to addiction, is difficult. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns of thought and behavior. In between sessions, stay mindful of the skills and information you’ve taken away from your counseling sessions.
Stay mindful in three easy steps:2
- Notice your reactions to things.
- Remember what you’ve learned in counseling.
- Apply your knowledge to real-life situations.
Then, bring back to your counselor what you’ve learned between your sessions. This information can help improve what happens in future counseling sessions.
Benefits of Productive Time With Your Addiction Counselor
The more productive time with your addiction counselor you have, the faster you’ll get through counseling. In addition, skills you’ll practice in boosting productivity with your therapist will come in handy in everyday life situations. The more effectively you use your counseling time, the better you’ll maintain your progress after you’re done.