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The Role of Counseling in Overcoming Substance Use Disorders

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In this issue, we’re thrilled to present the dynamic and transformative world of counseling at Caz, where we utilize a blend of evidence-based practices to include aspects of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing, to name a few. CEO Lindsay Herndon, with her expertise in Trauma-Informed Care and program development, superbly complements our clinical methods, ensuring alignment with the latest behavioral health practices and empathetic, client-focused therapy. Michael Pollina, a dedicated Counselor at Turning Point House, offers his unique insights into the rewarding experience of guiding residents through these therapies. He emphasizes the importance of personalized care, stating, “Every individual’s journey is unique, and our approach at Turning Point House reflects this. We don’t do anything cookie-cutter here.”

Embracing Change with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT holds a central role in the programs offered by Caz, emphasizing the vital connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Lindsay describes CBT as being fundamentally about cultivating self-awareness and helping individuals recognize how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interact. This heightened awareness plays a pivotal role in transforming unhealthy behaviors into healthier coping mechanisms. CBT, firmly rooted in evidence-based practices, assists residents in cultivating self-awareness and reshaping detrimental thought patterns.

As Michael explains, “CBT involves a journey of restructuring one’s thought processes by deconstructing and reconstructing patterns that may lead to substance use.” This approach is integral in managing triggers and nurturing resilience during the recovery process. Staff all across Caz Recovery combine CBT with Trauma-Informed Care to offer a holistic experience, ensuring a comprehensive and compassionate path to recovery for all residents.

Madonna House

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT, a therapeutic approach that complements CBT, introduces the concept of dialectical thinking – the skill of holding two seemingly contradictory truths simultaneously. This therapy places a strong emphasis on fostering acceptance and understanding without self-judgment. According to Lindsay, DBT revolves around embracing contradictory truths. “It involves understanding that an individual can possess flaws while still being a fundamentally good person, thereby facilitating emotional stability and the development of enhanced coping skills.”

An essential component of DBT is mindfulness, which significantly contributes to emotional regulation and self-awareness. Mindfulness in DBT is not limited to therapy sessions; it is also seamlessly integrated into group activities and wellness practices. This incorporation aids individuals in sharpening their ability to remain present in the moment, reduce stress, and gain profound insights into their thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, this approach fosters more effective emotional management and personal growth.

Turning Point House

Motivation and Understanding: The Role of Motivational Interviewing

In addition to CBT and DBT, another crucial approach we employ across all of our sites is Motivational Interviewing. The core objective of Motivational Interviewing aligns with its name – it’s about boosting an individual’s motivation to continue their journey of addressing and resolving their challenges. “Often, we encounter residents who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of not only recovering but also returning to their daily lives with fewer support structures,” said Lindsay. “This overwhelming feeling, if left unaddressed, can lead to a recurrence of substance use or emotional instability.”

Motivational Interviewing takes a collaborative approach, where our staff members work in partnership with the individual to encourage them to explore their willingness to change and the emotions associated with it. Instead of adopting an authoritative stance and dictating what they should do, Motivational Interviewing empowers residents to exercise their autonomy and decide what they believe they are capable of at that moment. This approach allows our staff to meet residents where they are in their journey. As residents begin to experience success and achieve their goals incrementally, it becomes more manageable for them to overcome the initial overwhelm.

A Way Forward

Negativity is a common thought pattern for many people. While it serves certain psychological roles, negativity can be significantly harmful during recovery and may lead to issues like increased illness and anxiety. Tackling this involves introspection and a shift in mindset, starting with self-kindness and reimagining a better future. CBT, DBT, and Motivational Interviewing collectively target these negative patterns, fostering a positive mindset essential for recovery. Our integration of these techniques, along with others, each uniquely tailored to our residents’ journeys, highlights our commitment to personalized care. Guided by the insights of Lindsay Herndon and the many counselors within the Caz community, we see the tangible impact of these approaches. Caz remains dedicated to fostering resilience, emotional stability, and personal growth, ensuring every individual’s path to recovery is met with understanding, expertise, and compassion.

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