Alcohol Counseling and Addiction Treatment in Idaho

Alcoholism continues to be a serious problem in Idaho, and alcohol abuse is more prominent than ever before. Counseling is so important during the recovery process for many reasons. Not only does it help to talk with someone about the issues a person is facing, but it allows tremendous healing to take place.

Alcoholics who are having difficulty quitting may find counseling to be extremely helpful to them. Many people do not realize how many underlying issues they might be dealing with. For them, alcohol has become a way to self-medicate, which is extremely unhealthy, not to mention dangerous.

By working with a counselor who is experienced in this type of therapy, alcoholics can reach their goals of getting sober. While it does take some time, the benefits of this form of treatment cannot be understated.

We want to take this opportunity to talk about those benefits and help people understand what alcohol counseling is. We believe that once they gain a better understanding, it will encourage them to get the help they need to stop drinking.

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What is Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling is one of the most important steps involved in treating alcoholism.

It involves working with a counselor whose job it is to guide the person and support them. For alcoholics, having someone to talk to and hold them accountable makes such a difference.

Everyone’s experience with alcohol counseling will be different. During the beginning of recovery, it is common for people to meet with their counselors frequently. They really need the support that they offer because it is so hard to stop drinking. Group therapy will also be an important component as well.

Alcohol counselors help by:

  • Providing valuable information about alcoholism.
  • Making sure people understand what to expect from the recovery process.
  • Help to create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the person’s needs.
  • Look for and identify any underlying issues or triggers that are associated with the individual’s drinking habits.
  • Provide tips to help people achieve long-term sobriety and a successful recovery.
  • Provide regular assessments to help people gauge their process during recovery.
  • Provide emotional support and encouragement throughout each stage of the recovery process.

A lot of people think that these three are all the same, but they would be mistaken. There are differences between them; even if those differences are only slight. These titles require specific board-approved licenses in the State of Idaho, and it is important to understand what each of their jobs entails.

Counselors: The term “counselor” is often used to describe both licensed clinicians with advanced degrees and those without. A counselor’s job is to work with their client to guide them toward their preferred outcomes. In the case of alcohol counseling, this refers to creating a treatment plan to help the individual get and stay sober. They have access to a much broader field as far as finding the right type of work for them. Counselors do not have the type of in-depth counseling experience that is available through clinical research.

Therapists: In Idaho, the title of therapist is protected by law. Therapists much have specific licenses in order to practice. There are many therapists who are also counselors, licensed social workers and even psychologists. They tend to use a behavioral approach to therapy. There are some states in which this title is not legally protected. In those states, life coaches or others without degrees or licenses may refer to themselves as therapists.

Psychologists: Psychologists usually at least have a Master’s degree in Psychology. But there may be some cases in which someone with a Bachelor’s degree could hold this title as well. Most of the time, a psychologist must be licensed by a state board in order to practice. They are charged with adhering to the highest standards of ethics and confidentiality, according to the state board. They may hold a number of different jobs, such as:

  • Teaching at a college or university.
  • Having a private practice where they see clients.
  • Leading a team to conduct research at a university or private business.
  • Assessing and making clinical evaluations of their clients’ mental health.
  • Diagnosing mental illnesses.

What is the Role of Counseling During Therapy?

As we mentioned earlier, counseling is a very important part of the recovery process.

Alcohol Counseling

It is extremely therapeutic and helpful for a number of reasons. They include:

  • Holding the client accountable – Accountability is one of the most important factors during alcoholism recovery. Alcoholics in treatment are working really hard to change their behaviors. But without someone to hold them to a specific standard, making those changes can be even more challenging.
  • Offering support to clients – For alcoholics in recovery, getting the right support is so critical. In fact, it can mean the difference between a successful recovery and a relapse. One of a counselor’s jobs is to provide that support without judgment. For example, cravings are one of the main reasons people relapse when they have an alcohol addiction. But a counselor can help a person through them and be there for them to help them not give in.
  • Teaching valuable coping skills – For so many alcoholics, drinking has become their primary way of coping with the challenges they face. These behaviors must be changed if the person is going to be successful in recovery. But that means learning new coping skills. A counselor is the perfect person to teach them because of the years they have spent in training. They have all kinds of tips to help people resist their cravings. They also know how to guide people to use other methods of coping when faced with difficult circumstances in their lives.
  • Providing relapse prevention strategies – The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 90% of alcoholics are likely to experience a relapse within four years of treatment. That percentage is staggering, but it only proves the fact that relapse prevention is vital during the recovery process. Counselors are trained to know how to help their clients create their own relapse prevention plans. This involves identifying triggers and coming up with ways to avoid drinking because of them.
  • Offering help to those who have relapsed – When a client does relapse, they often feel as though they have lost all hope. It can be really easy for them to completely fall off the wagon instead of viewing the incident as a mistake. A counselor’s job is to keep the damage that has been done from a relapse to a minimum. They offer support and encouragement to help people get back on track.

What are the Different Types of Therapy?

The goal of therapy is to identify harmful behaviors and work to change them. Many alcoholics are completely unaware of how damaging their actions are. A counselor’s job is to first identify those behaviors and then help the client make the necessary changes.

People start drinking and continue drinking for all kinds of reasons. Because of that, not every method of therapy will work for everyone. First and foremost, a counselor must be able to choose the correct method and then put it into action.

Individual alcohol therapy involves the client working one-on-one with their therapist. This is the most popular method of alcohol counseling, and it is considered to be standard during rehab. It allows the therapist and the client time to get to know each other and build up trust. This helps to support the client’s recovery both in the short and long-term.

During individual alcohol therapy, a lot of work is taking place. Clients learn how to explore their personalities. They talk about their past experiences and how those are impacting their lives today. They look in-depth at their present behaviors and learn new ways to address conflicts.

Above all, the goal of individual counseling is to focus on ways to quit drinking, acquire the skills to manage cravings and stay on track with recovery.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help people overcome behavioral problems in relation to their addictions. It helps people identify what situations or emotions lead to heavy drinking. It is often referred to as CBT, and it has shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health issues. These include drug and alcohol addiction, marital problems, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and people suffering from severe mental illnesses.

CBT is an approach that is often used because of the scientific evidence that supports its effectiveness. Research has shown that it produces actual change in people who experience it.

Some of the ways CBT can be beneficial to someone who is receiving alcohol counseling include:

  • Understanding how distortions in thinking lead to problems in one’s life.
  • Learning how to reevaluate problems with thinking and see them in a more realistic way.
  • Learning more about others’ behaviors and motivations.
  • Building a greater sense of confidence in a person’s own abilities.
  • Learning how to face one’s fears instead of always avoiding them.
  • Preparing for interpersonal problems with others through role-playing.
  • Understanding how to relax and calm down the mind and body in stressful situations.

One of the best things about CBT is how it teaches people – in a sense – how to act as their own therapists. Clients learn valuable coping skills to help them change their own destructive thinking and behavior patterns.

A lot of alcoholics are not at all interested in changing their drinking behaviors. They may feel pressured into going to rehab, or they may be required to get treatment for legal reasons. Regardless, being motivated to recovery is one of the most important parts of the healing process. That is what motivational enhancement therapy helps them achieve.

Motivational enhancement therapy is a type of counseling that helps people change their mindsets about recovering. The goal is to evoke rapid change that is internally motivated. The first treatment session is important because there, the therapist begins discussing the clients’ alcohol use. They also work to elicit self-motivational statements from the client. As sessions continue, the client’s motivation builds and they can begin to make a plan to make the necessary changes. During later changes, the therapist’s job is to monitor those changes and report to the client about their progress.

NIDA states that, “This approach has been used successfully with people addicted to alcohol to both improve their engagement in treatment and reduce their problem drinking.”

We often forget that when one person has an alcohol addiction, the entire family suffers as a result of it. Substance abuse has destroyed so many lives, as well as so many families. That is why marital and family counseling is so important for someone who has a drinking problem.

Marital and family counseling invites spouses and other family members into the recovery process. They often do not realize it, but their role is crucial to the client’s overall success. They offer the type of support that the client simply cannot get anywhere else.

This type of counseling has been shown to be effective at reducing the severity of substance abuse. It also helps to repair broken relationships, lower conflict levels and improve communication within the family unit.

A brief intervention is a short counseling session that can involve either the client alone or with a small group of people. During the session, the goal is to identify the client’s drinking problems and patterns.

Most alcoholics are not completely aware of the impact their drinking can have on themselves or others. During a brief intervention, these problems are identified so that the client has no choice but to face them.

The counselor’s job may include setting certain goals to change drinking behaviors. It could also be getting the client into a quality alcoholism treatment program.

The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders for Alcoholics

Some – but not all – alcoholics are aware of the reasons why they started drinking in the first place. But most of them believe that they drink because they enjoy it. In reality, they may be using alcohol as a way to help themselves feel better or avoid experiencing various symptoms. It quickly becomes a way of self-medicating or allowing them to avoid dealing with the real issues they face in their lives.

When these underlying issues are ignored, the chances for a successful recovery are small. When they are addressed and treated appropriately, those chances increase. In order to understand this more fully, it is important to know about co-occurring disorders and the role they play in alcoholism.

A co-occurring disorder is any mental health issue that has played a role in a person’s substance abuse problem. Most people who abuse drugs and alcohol suffer from problems like anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. They use substances as a way to escape their painful symptoms.

A person who has a co-occurring disorder has specific needs that may not be adequately addressed in a traditional counseling setting. This is because they need to do more than just learn how to stop drinking. They also need to learn how to best manage the symptoms of their mental illness. It can be extremely difficult, and it requires an approach that takes both issues – the mental illness and the addiction – into account. This is called dual diagnosis treatment.

Certain mental health conditions may require medication in order to reduce the severity of symptoms. For example, someone who struggles with anxiety or depression may need an antidepressant. Therapy is also vitally important because it helps people resolve the issues that may have led to their mental illness.

It is very important to catch co-occurring disorders early on. The earlier they are identified, the easier it is to treat them. Also, not every alcohol rehab program offers dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders. So people need to be very careful about finding one that does.

Our Staff at Ashwood Recovery

At Ashwood Recovery, we have helped many of our clients overcome alcoholism and experience recovery. The only reason that is possible is because we have some of the best staff members in Idaho.

All of the following individuals are valuable members of our treatment team. It is because of their caring and compassionate approaches that we have been able to give hope to so many people.

  • Cassie G. – Primary Counselor
  • Keith D., CADC – Primary Counselor
  • Jessica R., LMSW – Primary Counselor
  • Dakotah C., LMSW – Primary Counselor
  • Heidi R., - Primary Counselor

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol Counseling in Idaho

A lot of people assume that going to AA meetings in Idaho will provide them with enough support to stop drinking. Unfortunately, that is not accurate at all. Although there are many benefits to Alcoholics Anonymous, it should never be viewed as a substitute for professional counseling.

AA was built on a peer support model. There are no professional counselors or therapists available during the meetings. They are typically overseen by other alcoholics in recovery who are further along in the program. AA can be a great source of support, but so much more help is needed.

This is a great question, but the answer is that it depends. Everyone is different as far as what their needs are during alcoholism recovery. Some people may want to attend alcohol counseling sessions for years, whereas others may need them for six months or so.

Ongoing treatment is such an important part of recovery for alcoholics. Every person should work with a counselor for as long as they need to in order to stay on track and stay sober.

Prior to starting alcohol counseling, most treatment programs recommend time spent in alcohol detox. This is quite possibly one of the most important parts of the recovery process because of the risk of complications during the withdrawal stage.

Delirium tremens is a condition that can afflict people once they start drinking. It is life-threatening, and the chances of experiencing it go down when a person goes through the detoxification process.

Other alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, headaches and cravings can make it very difficult to recover. Detoxing helps to ease them and it may even shorten their duration.

How Does One Choose an Alcohol Counseling Program?

Choosing an alcohol counseling program should always be done carefully, and only after a lot of research has been done. This is an important commitment because it will affect your life, as well as your family member’s lives.

It is important to seek out an alcohol counseling program in Idaho that:

  • Can provide people with the type of care that is best for them.
  • It is accredited by The Joint Commission to ensure high-quality care.
  • It is relatively small to allow people to have more time with staff.
  • Has a higher than average recovery rate.
  • Participates with the client’s health insurance company.

About Our Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Program in Idaho

At Ashwood Recovery, we are known as one of the best outpatient alcohol treatment centers in Idaho. Counseling is the majority of what we offer to our clients, and they receive many forms of therapy when they work with us.

Our clients are carefully assessed to determine the correct level of care for them. They are placed into either our partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient treatment or traditional rehab. This allows us to better serve them and provide for their needs on an individual basis.

We have two locations in Idaho for our clients’ convenience. We are located in Nampa and in Boise. We also participate with many health insurance plans, including Blue Cross of Idaho.

Ashwood Recovery

Do You Need Alcohol Counseling in Idaho? Ashwood Recovery is Here to Help

At Ashwood Recovery, we want you to know that we care about your recovery. We are eager to talk with you about what your needs are and provide solutions so you can get sober.

Do you have questions about alcohol counseling in Idaho? Please contact us today.

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