Individual addiction counseling, or therapy, is essential to getting into recovery and staying there. If you plan on stopping therapy after you leave rehab, you may as well stay in rehab because that’s a sure way to invite a relapse. While you might not be able to stay with the individual therapist you saw during initial rehab, that professional can make sure you get hooked up with the ideal therapist for your outpatient, individual therapy.
Individual Addiction Counseling
Having your own addiction specialist is a great way to get individualized help with your problems, which may be unique to your situation, or you may not feel comfortable with such self-disclosure yet. An individual therapist allows you to add to having a sponsor or anchor.
An individual outpatient therapist should have at least a Master’s degree in Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, Psychology or Social Work. Your outpatient therapist needs to be qualified in caring for people with substance abuse issues. There has always been a question as to whether or not an addiction counselor should be a person in recovery, or if the therapist’s personal experience with addiction is relevant or not. No research has shown one way or the other, but many, many addiction therapists do indeed have experience, either themselves or with loved ones, with addiction issues.
Unlike a sponsor, your outpatient individual therapist is not available 24 hours a day, but they do often have walk-in hours, when you can see them without an appointment. Many outpatient counselors are available who charge on an income-based scale, and many others accept Medicaid or other assistance programs. Addiction can leave us without resources and a job for quite a while. It takes time to get our lives back together, and as we progress through addiction recovery, the nature of our problems will change.
That’s why we establish a relationship with a therapist we can trust and with whom we match up. Over time our relapse prevention plan will change. The issues that are so pressing in early recovery will be replaced by other issues later down the road.
Having an ongoing outpatient therapeutic relationship with an addiction therapist does not mean we are forever broken or sick. It does mean we have the courage to continue working on ourselves, to continue learning better was to exist in the world. Everyone can benefit from having an outpatient addiction therapist. I’ve been on both sides of that situation, and I’ve never regretted one minute.