The Skill Of Listening

It seems obvious that counselors would be good listeners; however, the importance of developing our listening skills is often overlooked because we think that it is easy to be a good listener. Being an active listener is a skill that requires effort and practice. You can’t apply all of your other counseling skills until you become a good listener. Below are some tips to improve your listening skills.Outdoor Date

  • Be in the moment. This is good advice for all of life, but when you are with a client you owe it to them to be 100% focused on them. That means that you have to take all of your personal issues and put them away. During that session, nothing matters outside of that session.
  • Listen not only to what is said, but how it is said. One of the problems with email and text messaging is that you don’t get the tone in which it is said and it can be misinterpreted. If you are completely focused on them during the session, then you shouldn’t have any difficulty picking up the tone in which something is said. (more…)
By |February 14th, 2015|0 Comments

Group Therapy Tips

I previously posted about some of the pros and cons of group counseling. I would like to now share some of my tips for conducting group sessions.Group Therapy for addiction and substance abuse (more…)

By |July 5th, 2014|0 Comments

E-Cigarettes and Recovery

The first time I saw someone puffing on an electronic cigarette in public, I had no idea what they were doing, but now it is becoming more common to see. You are starting to see the ads for electronic cigarettes all over the place. (We even have them on this site.) But, is “vaping” really a good alternative to smoking? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons and how this relates to recovery. (more…)

By |June 6th, 2014|1 Comment

Emotional Core Therapy

I am excited to share with your website my exciting new discovery in the field of psychology and addiction and mental health treatment.

Emotional Therapy CertificationMy Emotional Core Therapy (ECT) approach is the simplest behavioral psychology approach to treating teen and adult addictions because my techniques are all rooted in modern psychology. The psychology field is evolving and getting better every day. What I have done with ECT is utilize the best psychology tools available to get at the root cause of addictions. I will note that my ECT approach is also the simplest approach available to treat depression, anxiety, anger, marital therapy, and most relationship stress. It is very important to treat the underlying causes of addiction so that the patient does not relapse. My ECT approach examines the underlying debilitating emotional stress that is the cause of why someone abuses substances in the first place. (more…)

By |May 25th, 2014|0 Comments

Group Counseling: Pros and Cons

team building, group discussion or therapyGroup therapy is very common in the substance abuse field. As a substance abuse counselor, your chance of doing some group therapy is greater than most other types of counselors. For the first 8 years of my counseling career, I did almost exclusively individual therapy. When I took a job that would require some group therapy, I was a little concerned for many reasons. Over the next several years however, I really began to enjoy the group setting. I believe that in most situations that the ideal would be a combination of individual and group therapy.

From my experience, here are some of the pros and cons of group therapy. (more…)

By |April 29th, 2014|0 Comments

Treatment Success Rates

Modern business conceptOver the years, I have heard of success rates of treatment that were all over the board and have come to the conclusion that “success rates” don’t really tell us a whole lot. Part of the problem seems to be that everyone has their own definition of success. I have been involved in compiling stats and quite honestly, some of numbers gathered seem arbitrary and far from giving us an accurate picture of the effectiveness of our treatment.

Here are some variables that I have seen used in measuring success.

  • Drug Screen results or clients word on whether they are using or drinking.

    First of all, it is difficult to get a drug screen from someone no longer in treatment and taking someone’s word for it doesn’t seem very reliable. Even if you do get the drug screen, if it is a year after treatment it doesn’t really tell how they have done for the past year. (more…)

By |February 22nd, 2014|0 Comments

Counselor Credibility

I have had many conversations with clients over the years discussing trust. We have talked about how easy it is to lose someone’s trust and how earning trust takes time and consistency. The same could be said for earning credibility as a counselor. I am sure that building a good reputation can be a challenge in any profession, but I think that it is particularly challenging in this field, due to the population that we are working with. You need to have a iStock_000020612339Smallgood reputation with your clients in order to be an effective counselor. Having a good reputation amongst your peers can lead to career growth and new opportunities. Having a good reputation in the community is beneficial for our profession and can give you some influence in political or legal issues. (more…)

By |December 20th, 2013|0 Comments

Achieving Excellence in Counseling

There is no such thing as a perfect counselor. Even if you were a perfect addictions counselor, you would still have clients who relapse. You are going to make some mistakes along the way. The good news is that in most situations these mistakes are not catastrophic and they can help us grow and become better counselors. As counselors we tell our clients that relapse is part of the recovery process and we help them learn from these experiences, so that they will be better able to avoid relapse in the future. Mistakes are part of our learning process. While wgroupe may never attain perfection, it is important that we master our trade. You have people who are trusting you with perhaps their biggest problem in life. Each client is ultimately responsible for their own success or failure, but you have an opportunity to influence change in someone that could dramatically improve their quality of life and the quality of life of their family and friends. While this is an incredible opportunity, it can also feel like an overwhelming responsibility. Listed below are several ways to become a better counselor (more…)

By |September 27th, 2013|0 Comments

Ongoing Education

In addition to the education required to get certified as an addictions counselor, there are also educational requirements to maintain your certification. Each state varies in their requirements, but most credentials need to be renewed every two years. You will need to complete a certain number of hours or CEUs (Continuing Education Units) during this period. (e.g., in Ohio you must complete 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years to maintain your credential.) You will need CEU’s for every credential that you have, however classes may apply to more than one credential (e.g., a class on co-occurring disorders will likely apply to your substance abuse certification as well as your co-occurring disorders credential.)

Sometimes the requirements to maintain your credentials may seem to be a nuisance, but here are just a few reasons that continuing education is important to you and to the profession of addiction treatment. (more…)

By |August 23rd, 2013|1 Comment

Making Yourself More Marketable as an Addictions Professional

With any profession it is critical to make yourself more appealing to potential employers. Even if you are satisfied with your current job, having other employers pursue you, gives you leverage, helps boost your self-esteem and can give you more credibility in your field. So, in the field of substance abuse counseling, what will make you stand out? How can you get to the point where employers are pursuing you instead of you chasing them? Here are a few tips that can help you become the addictions professional that everyone wants to hire.


1.       Get Experience.

It is an age old problem. How can I get a job if I don’t have experience and how can I get experience if I can’t get a job? Well, you have to find a way to get your foot in the door, which means that you may have to take a less desirable position. It may be a job that doesn’t pay very well or you have to work nights and weekends or maybe it is a job where you spend half of your time collecting urine samples. These are the jobs that experienced counselors won’t take, because they don’t have to. (more…)

By |June 25th, 2013|0 Comments