Dec 13, 2010
As the holidays rapidly approach, I feel it is my duty as a substance abuse mental health counselor, to make sure that my clients are as fully aware of the dangers lurking in every corner as they possibly can. On my way home from work the other night, I was passing a sea of electronic billboards, brightly colored, beaconing freeway drivers to “purchase this car insurance so you’ll be ‘cool’” to the beer commercials enticing passersby to “enjoy the game in right way”. It occurred to me that our society fairly pushes us to use alcohol especially during this season. I thought of all my recovering friends who have to drive by these gigantic signs day in and day out. I reasoned that it must be difficult to have it so “in the face”. At home, it was no different: Television advertisements for this alcoholic beverage or that one. Magazines, flyers, grocery store inserts do the same – entice one to buy one or the other. What about the mega-booze stores that sell thousands of wines, liquors, beer every day? A new one every day for over 20 years? Do we need that much wine? The sobering fact is, every day alcoholics come face-to-face with their drug of choice whether at the gas station, the corner grocery store, the neighborhood restaurant, or well-meaning, unthoughtful friends who give gifts of alcohol, or who fail to provide something special for the non-alcohol drinking guests at a holiday gathering.
Nov 30, 2010
As a substance abuse counselor, I hear many of my clients refer to our group sessions as “classes”. This made me start thinking about what the difference is between them. When I think of groups, I think of a safe environment that has a “give-and-take” approach where members can explore their knowledge about a given subject, and share areas of their lives that need help. When I think of classes, I envision a set curriculum that allows for discussion but no departure from the original material. Groups rely on a counselor to guide them to knowledge and how to apply a set of tools to their lives. Classes depend on an educator to teach information, but not necessarily how to make that information become their own.
Nov 23, 2010
As a substance abuse counselor who works with those who have co-occurring disorders, I have run across some bias among some of my colleagues and other clients. I expect a certain amount of bias, especially from clients, but hope that an open mind will prevail among my coworkers. Although I have only recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling, my life experience is quite extensive. People have always been drawn to share some of their deepest and darkest secrets with me as far back as high school. I try not to be judgmental. Sometimes this is difficult for anyone, even counselors, to do especially when the person being counseled admits to being a child molester as well as a substance abuser.