Who is appropriate for this type of substance abuse treatment?
Individuals who are experiencing life problems due to their drinking or drug use are appropriate for this type of outpatient, weekly therapy. The substance use may be impairing relationships, job performance, health, or a general sense of well-being. For those who require detoxification due to withdrawal symptoms, it is essential that a period of closely monitored inpatient treatment and/or a period of residential treatment be completed prior to outpatient therapy.
Do I have to go to AA meetings while in therapy?
That is completely up to you! Many individuals state that AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) meetings are helpful when trying to stop drinking, as they provide a positive support group. However, AA is not for everyone and is not a requirement while in therapy at Orenstein Solutions. We can recommend other supportive, psycho-educational groups for those interested, such as First Step, a family approach for teens with substance abuse issues.
What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and how can it treat substance abuse problems?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, is a widely studied approach that has been found to be effective in treating a variety of problems. It is relatively straight forward approach to therapy that involves the development of skills that can help individuals cope more effectively and improve relationships. There are many different individual techniques within the CBT system, some of which are particularly useful in treating substance abuse. These include: Cognitive Restructuring or Disputing Irrational Beliefs, Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness Practice, and Moderate Drinking Training for Problem Drinkers. Other helpful skills for substance abuse problems include Relaxation, Communication Skills Training, and Relapse Prevention.
How long will I have to be in therapy?
The exact number of therapy sessions needed for treatment success varies from one person to the next. However, once a person enters the Action Stage of Change, therapy does not need to last for months and years. In fact, clients can purchase self-help manuals for problem drinkers and after a specific plan has been developed and started with therapist guidance (3-4 weeks), maintenance sessions can be scheduled for once every two or three weeks and tapered down as needed.
How will I know if I’m in the Action Stage of Change?
Assessment of a person’s readiness for change will be part of initial therapy sessions at Orenstein Solutions. This approach is based on Motivational Interviewing practices (another technique considered part of Cognitive Behavior Therapy), which are guided by the Transtheoretical Model of Change. It involves five stages: 1. Precontemplation stage (person does not see the behavior as a problem), 2. Contemplation stage (person is considering behavior change), 3. Preparation stage (person has decided to change the behavior), 4. Action stage (person has actually engaged in behavior change), and 5. Maintenance stage (actions are taken to avoid relapse).
Once my drinking (or drug use) is under control, will my treatment be complete?
This question again depends on each person. For some, the substance use is the primary problem, and relationships, job performance, and overall mental and physical health improve once that is under control. For others, the drinking is an unhealthy coping skill or “self-medication” for underlying issues of depression, anxiety, and general problems with regulating emotions. These issues can also be addressed with coping skill development from Cognitive Behavior therapies, and they will be treated along with the substance abuse issues, as treating one will have a positive effect on the other.
Is there any hope for me to have lasting behavior change?
Yes! It does take hard work and a willingness to practice strategies outside of the therapy session, including journaling, monitoring of behavior, and challenging your own “self talk;” however, there is research that demonstrates the effectiveness of the above behavior change strategies. Relapse prevention strategies and periodic therapy “booster sessions” can increase one’s change of success even more.