You need to process those feelings.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Unexplored feelings are like unopened mail.

Emotional Regulation

Managing Feelings
Photo courtesy of Flickr ( istolethetv )

Imagine going into your email and randomly deleting as many emails as possible. That email from a friend – mark it delete.

The email from the electric company and the mortgage company delete those unopened. Can you imagine going along randomly clicking delete without knowing what was in the email?

Some people try to avoid bills by not opening the mail. While that may avoid having to deal with problems for a while, eventually the power gets shut off, or the home goes into foreclosure. Those and many other issues could have been solved just by paying attention to the notices you are getting.

Some people think feelings are to be avoided.

Somewhere along the line, I’m guessing back during the Victorian era; feelings got a bad reputation. In their effort not to be carried away and controlled by feelings, being rational and unemotional was elevated to a virtue. The problem that created was making feelings into our enemies rather than our friends.

Feelings can be valuable sources of information.

It turns out that emotions and feelings can be valuable sources of information. By some estimates, more than half of all your nerve cells are located outside your head. There are nerve cells surrounding your stomach and intestines. They can tell you when you’re hungry or when your intestines are in distress.

Those same nerve cells can also communicate information about dangerous or unpleasant situations. When you say that someone makes you sick to your stomach, there’s truth to that statement. Your nervous system is reacting to that person and preparing to ready you for the flight or fight response.

When we say that someone is a pain in the neck, this is a very tangible sensation. The nerve cells which connect your brain to the muscles in your neck have sent the message to tighten those muscles in preparation for an emergency.

Unpleasant feelings can also motivate you to act.

Loneliness can make you miserable. Loneliness can also tell you that you aren’t getting enough human contact. Humans are inherently social animals. Living in groups increases our chances of survival. Feeling lonely can motivate you to reach out to others and increase your social connections.

Feeling tired both physically and emotionally tired is one of the early signs of burnout. Feeling tired warns you that the energy you are expending exceeds the available resources. Rather than being an interference with what you’re trying to do that feeling of being tired is a warning that you need to attend to your bodies physical and emotional resources.

Trying to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions can harm you.

Many people get themselves into serious trouble by attempting to avoid experiencing unpleasant feelings. Using drugs and alcohol to cope with anger, loneliness, or feeling tired, may anesthetize those feelings in the short term but eventually, those efforts to escape dealing with those feelings results in creating an even larger problem, alcoholism or drug addiction.

You shouldn’t pretend that you don’t feel what you’re feeling.

Ignoring the messages from feelings is the emotional equivalent of taping over the gauges on your car’s dashboard. You can ignore the check engine light, disregard the oil light, and ignore the gas gauge, but if you do, eventually your car will stop running.

Feelings can be like little children clamoring for your attention.

The next time you experience a feeling you’d rather not feel, try treating it like a small child. Initially, you need to listen to that feeling. After you are sure you’ve heard the message, the feeling is giving you, decide what you want to do with it. Sometimes you must deal with it immediately, and other times you can defer action. What you shouldn’t do is try to ignore the message that feeling is trying to give you.

Learning to work cooperatively with your feelings rather than being controlled by them or completely ignoring their messages is a skill you need to develop to have a happy, productive, life.

For more on this topic, take a look at the post about the three processes for making friends with your feelings.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Wonder.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Wonder

Wonder.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Wonder.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Lessons from NaNoWriMo.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

You can learn a lot from making the effort.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

This is the third year in a row that I’ve written a novel during November. Before that, I had tried to write several books, but they never reached “the end.” Each of these attempts has taught me valuable lessons about writing a novel and about myself. One of the things I learned is how much more I have to learn. Writing, like every other skill, needs both knowledge and practice.

Last week I shared a post about how as I get closer to the end of a writing project the more resistance gets in my way and the harder it is to finish that project. This week I wanted to share with you some of the other lessons I’ve learned because of participating in the NaNoWriMo contest.

Having a deadline keeps you moving forward.

In the past, I’ve started lots of projects which are still residing somewhere in electronic storage. One by one each of these ideas languished as the next shiny idea distracted me. Almost every time I have set a deadline to finish a project, the result has been a completed project.

The exception to meeting my deadlines? Those times I set unrealistically high goals. On an extremely productive writing day I may be able to write 3000 to 4000 words, once I even wrote 8000 words, but planning to write a 50,000-word novel in 10 days by writing 5000 words per day is both unrealistic and undoable for me.

During NaNoWriMo, I stuck to the goal of writing on average 1667 words per day. That occasional high-number-of-words day made up for those days when I simply couldn’t find the time or inspiration to write more than 200 to 300 words. Setting an unrealistic goal for me is a way of sabotaging the project. Setting a doable goal kept me moving forward.

Repeated small efforts add up.

During November, I had several days off from my other work activities. I had counted on writing a large number of words each of those days. That didn’t always happen. Driven by the pressure of a deadline I tried to write something, anything, each day. There were even days when I wrote less than 100 words.

Writing something every day was like drops going into a bucket. While several days output may have been less than I wanted, doing something each day kept my bucket filling and my goal in sight.

Having a story blueprint kept my process moving.

I’ve tried both outlining and going by the seat of my pants. Neither of these approaches was the full answer for me. What has worked best for me is to think through the story and create a list of the scenes that will make up the story. I started this book with an outline at the scene level but for many scenes nothing beyond the basic idea for that section.

For some of these scenes, I had several paragraphs of ideas. For others, I had a single sentence. Each day I sat down and wrote at least one scene. Some of the scenes were well thought out in advance while others I had to “right into the dark.”

After each scene, I looked back at my scene list to see what was coming up next. Almost every time, what I had written in one scene resulted in my revising my “outline.”

There’s a lot more to do after you type “the end.”

Trying to write a perfect first draft resulted in a lot of opening chapters that went nowhere. For me, there’s no such thing as writing a great first draft. In the first draft, I get the story down. But after that first draft, there’s going to be a lot of editing and polishing before I can publish this book. I’ve learned to accept that writing a publishable book takes me a lot of hours.

In writing from start to finish something suffered. Having written the first draft in one month, I discovered certain things were left out. While I think I have the framework of the story, the finishing touches are missing.

I’ve already gone through the manuscript briefly correcting a lot of typing, spelling, and grammar errors. But I discovered that what I had left out were descriptions. In places, I just say my protagonist walked up to the house. What I haven’t said is very much about the house they are approaching.

Another thing that happens when I write the way I would tell a story verbally is that I have certain words I use repeatedly. Polishing the language is something best left for subsequent drafts.

Before this book gets published, I will need to do not only editing but all the tasks of publishing. There’s a cover to create. A manuscript to format. Blurbs to write. And a great many other tasks associated with publishing and marketing the book.

Having too many priorities means nothing gets done.

Looking back over this last year, I’ve been working on a lot of projects. The consequence of having many “priorities” was that I completed very few of these projects. Every time I have picked one major priority and put a large share of my efforts into that project, I have been able to complete it.

A prime example of selecting one project and focusing on it is the three books listed below. Each of these books was started a long time ago, and each was finished when I finally decided to make them my top priority and set a final date for completion.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you having an Emotional Affair?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Emotional affairs may be more common than we realized.

Emotional Affair

Emotional Affair.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many couples who come for relationship or marriage counseling have been arguing about the nature of one of the partner’s interactions with another person. Almost every client I’ve worked with who was in a relationship would agree that engaging in sex with someone other than their partner qualifies as an affair. What they don’t always agree about is whether a relationship with a third party has crossed the line and become an emotional affair.

It’s probably more common for women to become concerned that their partner’s friendship with another woman has become an emotional affair. Men are likely to dismiss these relationships as simply friendships and not having been an affair, so long as actual intercourse has not taken place.

Developing an overly close friendship with someone other than your romantic partner can damage a relationship. Here are some of the signs that your friendship has turned into an emotional affair.

Do you sometimes think about the “other” when talking to your spouse?

Having become so close to another person that during conversations with your spouse you are imagining what that other person would say or feel. This is a strong indication that they have him become more important to you and your spouse.

Do you, even a bit, wish your mate was more like someone else?

If you come to idealize the “other.” If you are thinking they are preferable to your mate or that they would be a better partner, this is likely to damage your relationship with your mate. Comparing your partner to others and wishing they were more like someone else is an early sign of an emotional affair in the making.

Do you imagine what you’d do if free to pursue someone else?

Daydreaming about what it would be like to be with that “other” suggests you’re already establishing an emotional relationship with them. The more you fantasize about being with the other, romanticize the possibility of starting a new relationship, the more you’re likely to withdraw from your current relationship. Even if you don’t leave your partner, imagining being with somebody else distances you from your partner.

Does your present lover know the stranger exists?

One key characteristic of emotional affairs is the need to hide your relationship with this other person from your primary partner. If you must keep secrets, those secrets are reducing your emotional closeness with your current partner.

What do you imagine your mate would think if he/she overheard you talking with this special person or read your email?

Having secrets that you share with the “other” and then being concerned about what your partner would think if they knew about this conversation suggest your relationship with this other person is inappropriate. Having to keep secrets from your partner is damaging to a relationship.

Does the arrival of a new message give you a rush?

You remember the rush of excitement you used to feel when you were first starting your relationship with your current partner? If messages from your “friend” start to give you that same rush of excitement, you are moving dangerously close to turning that friendship into an affair.

Can you sense the “sex of things” even if you haven’t acted on it?

Have you ever felt a craving for something? Remember how hard it is to say no to that temptation? If you are starting to feel those sexual attractions when you’re around your friend you’ve moved into a high-risk area. Even if you never actually engage in physical sex your friendship has become a source of mental and sexual stimulation and is becoming an emotional affair.

Do you lie to disguise any aspect of the new relationship?

If you have to tell your partner lies to facilitate or maintain your relationship with the “other,” this is a clear sign that relationship is turning into an emotional affair.

Is the mental and emotional space devoted to the stranger enlarging?

The larger a role this stranger plays in your life, the riskier the relationship is becoming. When the mental and emotional space the “other” occupies begins to exceed the space in your life taken up by your current partner, you’ve arrived at an emotional affair.

Do you engage in secret phone calls with the other?

Engaging in secret communications, phone calls, texts or emails, which you don’t want your partner to find out about, says this is an affair.

Have you arranged meetings in a park, coffee shop, restaurant or the like?

Do you and this “friend” have to arrange secret meetings away from other people? Do you have to be dishonest with your partner about when and where you’re meeting this other? It sounds like your friend has become more than a friend.

Do you share confidences not offered to your spouse?

One of the most damaging aspects of an emotional affair is when you begin to share confidences with your friend which should have been reserved only for your partner. Lack of loyalty to your spouse or making your friend your primary loyalty, are incredibly damaging to your current relationship.

Is your sexual desire for your mate now smaller than before you became preoccupied?

If your relationship with your friend has resulted in less sexual desire for your mate, it’s damaging the relationship. If your new friend reduces your desire to be emotionally close to your partner, or if your interest in spending time with your partner has declined, then your friend is taking on an increasingly more significant role in your life.

Are photo exchanges part of your new, hidden life?

Exchanging photos, particularly those which make you look attractive, or sexually explicit photos is often the last stop on the trail which turns an emotional affair into an actual physical one.

So, what do you think? How many of the signs of an emotional affair do you see in your friendship? How many of these signs of an emotional affair do you see, or suspect, are part of your spouse’s relationship with a “friend?”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Choice.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Choice.

Choice.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Choice.

“All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.”

― Johnny Cash

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

― Steve Jobs

“You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable. . . it’s your choice”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

The closer you get to the finish line the harder it gets.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Resistance takes its toll on writing.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Every project starts out with high hopes and expectations. It seems to be some perverse law of nature that the longer you work on something, the harder it gets. A lot of people start their project, begin their novel, plan their business venture, maybe they make a start on the project, but it just never gets finished.

It feels as if the burden you carry gets heavier the more work you’ve done on the project. Some of you know I been participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest again this year. This year is the fourth time I tried to write a novel of 50,000 words or more during November. As the month progresses I find it harder and harder to write. Some of you may have noticed that I missed last Wednesday’s blog post on my writing adventures. I’ll try to make that up to you regular readers during December and throughout the new year.

Since I began writing counselorssoapbox.com blog on a regular basis, I’ve completed almost 1500 blog posts. I have also written probably ten novels or more, but just couldn’t get them completed and published. The first time I tried to write a novel in November, I couldn’t finish the book.

My NaNoWriMo experience.

Finally, in late 2017 my first two books, Bumps on the Road of Life a nonfiction book about recovering from life’s setbacks and Casino Robbery my first novel in the Arthur Mitchell Mystery series was published. Casino Robbery was written for the 2016 NaNoWriMo contest.

My 2017 NaNoWriMo effort, a book titled Family Secrets is in the editing stage, and I hope to publish it shortly.

This year’s effort a book titled “Planned Accidents” is in its final pages. I put that working title quotations. When I first started the title was “Planning Accidents.” I’ve learned over the years of writing novels that the title which sounded perfect when I started doesn’t fit the book when I finish it. The book published under the title Casino Robbery started out with a working title “Thrift Store.”

Am I going to finish another novel this year?

One reason I’m telling you all about this is that with only a couple of days to go I’m finding it harder and harder to finish the book. At the beginning of November, I was having some 2000 to 4000-word days. In the start, even my slow days were 700 or 800 words. As we approach the final deadline, I’ve had three days of writing 300 words day or less.

One reason I’m throwing this out there to all of you at this point is that by confessing this publicly, it’s going to force me to finish this book before the end of November. If I don’t, I will have to spend the next year listening to people asked me why I didn’t finish my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel.

Resistance tries to prevent you from succeeding.

Resistance takes many forms. Life gets busy, and there are things I absolutely, positively must do. Or at least I tell myself I need to do them. Things I neglected doing all year, suddenly take on new necessity just as I’m getting close to finishing my novel.

Another way resistance manifests itself as the next shiny idea. While I’m writing the second Arthur Mitchell Mystery ideas for the third and fourth in the series have appeared. Not only is my Muse tempting me with two other Arthur Mitchell Mysteries that need writing, but she’s also yelling loudly in my ear that both of these ideas will make better books than the one I’m working on now.

I think Resistance and my Muse are in league. When the Muse first started telling me about the ideas for two more Arthur Mitchell Mysteries I hurriedly scribbled them down and went back to work on this year’s novel, “Planned Accidents.”

As if Resistance hadn’t come up with enough ways to stop the progress of “Planned Accidents” the Muse has begun to torment me the last few days with a fabulous idea for an entirely new series. I won’t tell you the new series idea now as I don’t want to get committed to having to write that series, at least not yet anyway. What I will say is that the Muse tells me I need to abandon my current project and immediately began researching the idea for my next fabulous series.

Despite Resistance’s efforts to prevent my completed this novel I continue to plod forward even though the pace has slowed, and the writing has become more difficult.

Stay tuned. Sometime between Friday, 3 November and next Wednesday, December 5, there will be another blog post, and I’ll let you know my final word count and whether the novel made it across the 50,000-word finish line and is now a candidate for revision and editing.

Whatever you’re working on for 2018, don’t let Resistance stop you from reaching your goal. Are there some projects you should finish in 2018 to clear the slate for your new adventures in 2019?

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Assessment – a core drug counselor function.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Assessment doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

Counseling

Counseling.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Anytime counselors get together you’re likely to hear the word assessment.

Unfortunately, it means so many different things to so many different counseling specialties it’s as if we are not speaking the same language.

There are two primary ways that the word assessment is used. One is to describe the form the counselor fills out during the initial part of treatment.

The other meaning of the word assessment is the ongoing process counselors use to try to identify the client’s problem and find ways to be helpful.

Assessment may mean the assessment form.

Often a form is completed either during the initial intake of very soon after that. The information is gathered on this form should be used to develop a treatment plan, part of the next core drug counselor function designing a comprehensive recovery plan. It’s common to hear counselors referred to filling out this form as “doing an assessment.” If you use an assessment form that should be thought of as a tool you use to gather the information you need to assess the client’s issues.

One danger of relying too heavily on a particular form is that the process of filling out the form can turn into an interrogation of the client rather than a conversation. One simple way to tell a good assessment from a poorly done one, especially in the drug counseling field, is to look at the bottom of the page for the comments. Anything the client says that’s out of the ordinary should call for follow-up questions to get more information. Under the pressure of a lot of work to do it’s easy for the staff member doing the initial intake and assessment to rush through the form and get only surface information.

Assessment in substance abuse counseling is very different from the type of assessment done in mental health settings. In a mental health setting, the goal is to collect enough information to rule in or out various diagnoses and then to design a treatment plan to treat that illness. The various license types are likely to have been trained in very different ways of doing an assessment. How the assessment is done also varies with the setting. Therapists working for a public agency are likely to have a specific form they must fill in. In private practice, they’re more likely to use a more conversational approach to assessment.

Clinical psychologists do a great deal of testing and often have the clients fill out a large quantity of paper and pencil “assessment instruments.” Clinical counselors are likely to use a very limited number of brief screening tools. In California licensed professional clinical counselors are limited by the licensing law to using only a couple of instruments and then only for diagnosing. Mental health counselors and therapists are generally not allowed to do testing and report the results to outside parties. Marriage and family therapists, of course, emphasize assessing the client’s relationships and the connections between their “presenting problem” and their relationships with family, friends, and the people they interact with in the work setting.

Drug counselors are assessing the client’s drug use and its consequences.

Drug counselor should limit their scope of practice to working on the client’s issues as they relate to substance use disorders. They can be some fuzziness around the edges of their scope of practice. The assessing drug counselor needs to develop a picture of the client’s drug use, both current and past. Many clients abused multiple substances at various times in their life. The drug counselor is assessing for what drugs the client has used recently and what drugs they used in the past that they may be at risk to resume using.

The drug counselor also assesses all the various aspects of the client’s life to see how problems in other areas may have influenced the client’s drug use and how that drug use may have affected all those other parts of the client’s life.

There are two primary assessment tools I’ve seen used in drug and alcohol counseling, although individual programs may design their own written tools drawing on either or both models.

Assessment using the biopsychosocial-spiritual model.

The biopsychosocial assessment understands the healthy, or recovered life as requiring balance in all the various aspects of the person’s life. Drug and alcohol use has probably bent the wheel of life completely out of balance. Assessing all these various areas of the client’s life helps to develop not only a treatment plan for the current substance use disorder but a recovery plan for the client putting their lives back in balance.

The Addiction Severity Index or ASI.

The ASI is a widely used assessment tool for drug and alcohol counseling. The ASI is a copyrighted instrument with both paper and electronic online versions available. Students can look at an online sample by searching for the Addiction Severity Index – training edition.

American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM.)

This is another assessment tool which may or may not be used during intake. The goal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM) is to create objective criteria for how much and what kind of treatment a client might need.

These criteria have various levels ranging from a high of long-term residential treatment to a low of psychoeducation. Programs which plan to bill medical insurance are likely to need to complete this measure to justify the level and intensity of treatment for insurance reimbursement.

For more on the drug counselor domains and the core functions see John W. Herdman’s book Global Criteria; the 12 Core Functions of the Substance Abuse Counselor

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.