Drug Counseling Video #4 Treatment Planning.

Drug Counseling Video #4 Treatment Planning.

Treatment planning for drug and alcohol counseling. Planning for treatment of all the parts of the client’s life that have been affected by a drug and alcohol use disorder. Services the drug program will provide, and services to which the client will be referred. The difference between referrals and linkages. Consent to release confidential information. Referrals and consultation.

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Drug Counseling Video #3 Clinical Evaluation.

Drug Counseling Video #3 Clinical Evaluation.

Drug Counseling, Clinical Evaluation, Screening, Assessment, and Crisis Intervention. In drug counseling when is assessment done? Types of assessment, how to assess. The two types of collateral and why it may be important. Diagnosis of drug use disorders. Recognizing behavioral addictions.

Drug Counseling Video #2 Engagement

Drug Counseling Video #2 Engagement. The job functions of a drug and alcohol counselor, Screening, Intake, and Orientation. Modalities of treatment.

Drug Counseling Video #1 Introduction

What does a Drug and Alcohol Counselor do? The 4 Domains of drug counseling. The 12 core functions of a drug counselor. Getting the client into treatment, Screening, Engagement, Orientation, Assessment.

Reasons to try counseling.

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

Counseling questions

Counseling questions.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Going to see a counselor doesn’t mean you’re crazy.

People go to see counselors for a variety of problems. Just as athletes have coaches seeing a counselor can help you improve the way you are living life. Many companies now have employee assistance plans (EAPs) so that people can address life issues before they become serious problems. Counseling or therapy can be beneficial for people with serious mental illnesses, but it can also be helpful to prevent the challenges of living from becoming a mental illness. Here are some reasons you might want to see if a counselor.

Counseling can help when you are constantly upset or overwhelmed.

Life can be challenging. Some people are more resilient and able to overcome obstacles than others. Skills for living life are something you can learn. The counselor can help you with other ways to see your problems and help you to develop the skills you’ll need to cope with the challenges you’re facing.

Feeling mentally confused is a reason to see a counselor.

Confusion often brings people into counseling. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may not feel comfortable discussing your confusion with your family or your life partner. Family and friends feel the need to tell you what to do counselor can help you decide for yourself. The counselor may be able to point out other options you haven’t considered. Sometimes just talking it out with an unbiased person can help you resolve your confusion.

When you are struggling with a choice, counseling can help.

If you’re at a juncture in your life where you are going to have to decide, seeing a counselor can help you sort out the pros and cons.

If life is not fun anymore, try counseling.

Not being able to feel pleasure is a symptom of depression. It’s possible for life to stop being fun before you reach the point of depression. Re-examining what you do and don’t do and the relationships in your life can help you decide what needs to change. Having a happy life is not something other people can do for you. Aligning what you’re doing with your values and goals creates a better life, and a counselor can help you see things you should be doing you’re not and things you’re doing you shouldn’t be doing.

If you feel stuck and can’t change, counseling can help.

Lots of people make annual New Year’s resolutions, and nothing changes. Change involves a process. You need to identify where you are stuck and why. The counselor may be able to help by giving you information. Once you do decide on something about yourself you want to change, you’re going to need encouragement as you practice this new behavior. A counselor can help you through this process.

Having anxiety attacks, or worse yet panic attacks are reasons for counseling.

Anxiety and anxiety attacks have replaced depression as the largest mental health problem in America. Anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms resulting in panic attacks. A counselor can help you by teaching relaxation techniques, helping you to evaluate the way you worry about possibilities, and by helping you create a safer life. Not feeling safe in your relationships will surely increase your anxiety, and the counselor can also help you with relationship counseling.

If you are going through an overwhelming life change, consider counseling.

Changes, even positive ones, can be stressful. The counselor can help you get through the stress of life changes. You may think that what you’re feeling is unique, but the counselor can tell you how often they see this problem. Sometimes you need information, and sometimes you primarily need to be heard, your counselor can provide both.

When making a life transition consider counseling.

Life transitions can be very stressful. When you graduate from school and don’t know what to do with your life, counseling could help. People seek counseling for adjusting to a new relationship or after becoming a parent. Career changes or retirement can be stressful, and counseling can help. Anytime you’re making a change in your life situation, and you’re feeling stressed, consider seeking counseling.

Here is a list of common reasons people should seek counseling.

Have you been for counseling? Was counseling helpful? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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.

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.

Why you shouldn’t trust psychological research.

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

The Psyche

Why you shouldn’t trust psychological research.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do not trust psychological research.

Much psychology research is unhelpful.

In writing this blog, I read a lot of research. I’m looking for ideas and suggestions for ways to be helpful to people struggling with life’s problems.

Occasionally I find some extremely well-done research that is enlightening and helpful. Much of the time, what I encounter is a lot of published studies of dubious value. Let’s look at the problems with much psychological research and why it may be less than helpful.

Most of the research is not about you or your problems.

If you are a person struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, or low self-esteem most psychological research will not help you. If you’re encountering memory problems, you may find a lot of studies about how rats memory works. Don’t expect a whole lot of practical help. If you’re a businessman looking for ways to convince people to buy your product, skip the psychology research and take a good look at marketing research.

For a discipline that began with the lofty idea of being the science of thinking and behavior how did it get so far off into academic research with so little value to people in distress?

Psychology research often is performed on a select group of people who are very different from the general population and predominantly different from those people who struggle with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. People most likely to seek treatment for problems are systematically excluded from many research studies.

A recent study I read about attitudes towards relationships which highlights this issue: this research was conducted using a convenience sample of students in a psychology class. The majority of the respondents were 18 to twenty-year-old female college students at a private 4-year college who were living at home, were unmarried, and had never been in a relationship for more than two years. While this study may tell you something about the attitude of young women who are not yet in a relationship, towards relationships it is not very applicable to working with couples who have relationship issues. Here is a highlight of the problems you may encounter when reading psychological research.

Psychological research is often conducted in fantasy land.

A lot of research is done by professors at four-year colleges. Much of this is driven by their need to create something to publish if they want to keep their jobs. The sample in the studies is often full-time students who attend during the day. Two-thirds of these students are female. This results in excluding most men, most people with full-time jobs, night students, community college students, the employed, and the unemployed, and so on.

Minorities, the elderly, and other special populations are underrepresented.

Our population is aging. Depression is common among the elderly. Repeated studies have found that minority populations are not engaged in treatment. Results of most studies will not generalize to the most impacted people.

Psychological research excludes people who are incarcerated.

Mental health and substance issues are common among incarcerated populations. Excluding those populations biases the results by underestimating the number of people with a problem and by excluding people with multiple issues.

People with substance use disorders are excluded.

The majority of people in treatment for substance use disorder also have a mental illness. At least half the people with a mental illness report a substance use disorder. Counselors working in treatment settings are primarily working with people with one or both problems. While some psychological research may include people with depression or anxiety, most exclude anyone with a diagnosable disorder.

Anyone with less than 12 years of completed education is excluded.

One result of doing psychological research on average people in academic settings is to exclude all those people who dropped out of school or failed to complete a high-school education. As our society has become more technologically focused more years of schooling has become a necessity. Excluding people who are not enrolled in college in research studies has excluded the people most likely to be seeking help in public settings.

The verbal yardsticks used in psychological research may be inaccurate.

One of the significant challenges in treating mental illness is the difficulty of communicating through words. Many clients lack a functional feelings vocabulary. When you try to use words to describe symptoms not everyone agrees on which words describe which symptoms. A great deal has been written about the “big five” psychological constructs. Those Big Five constructs were created from more than 100 different possible constructs. Introverted versus extroverted personality, doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

The sample size and research are often microscopic.

Grab any 10 or 20 people off the street and asked them a series of questions about their feelings, their life, and their problems and you can get radically different results. Results done at one school in one district may not reflect results you would obtain at other schools in other areas. When it comes to specific mental health issues, I have seen studies published with fewer than ten people. The chances that those ten people represent in any way millions of other people is nonexistent.

Results of many psychology experiments can’t be replicated.

Back in the 1960s, many people were “psychology majors.” The promise that psychology as a discipline could help us improve our selves, society and solve problems seemed great. Unfortunately, much of what people learned back then and since has turned out not to be accurate. Today psychology is experiencing a replication crisis — many of the things I learned in psychology classes were the results of one “landmark” famous experiment. As the years have passed, other experimenters tried to reproduce those results. Unfortunately, doing the same research more than once has produced different results.

Results psychological research do not generalize to other populations.

The “Psychological principles” we discover in one place and at one time haven’t held true when applied somewhere else or in some other year. Experiments, particularly surveys about attitudes and issues, done in America don’t necessarily hold true in other countries. Results of studies on young, white, female, college students have in no way remain valid when applied to minorities, men, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the addicted, and so many other populations.

Mental health is about abnormal psychology.

One small branch of psychological research deals with “abnormal psychology.” The things we now call mental illness and substance use disorders are included in the field of abnormal psychology. Unfortunately, more than half of all the people in America will experience a mental health or substance use disorder. “Normal psychology” is not about normal people. The majority of normal people will experience one or more episodes of something described by “abnormal psychology.”

The next time you read about a startling new revelation from the field of psychology, you may need to take out your salt shaker. I still read a lot of that research, but I’m much more skeptical now that I was in 1966 when I thought I might want to be a psychology major.

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, Barnes & Noble, 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.

Reasons why people avoid therapy.

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

Therapist

Therapist.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why are you avoiding counseling?

Many people avoid going to the doctor as if seeing a doctor would be the cause of their illness. Avoiding counseling, in one form or another, is even more common than avoiding medical treatment.

Most people who put the effort into counseling see improvement in their lives. Here are some of the reasons people commonly say they are avoiding therapy.

Doesn’t going to therapy mean I am weak or crazy?

Not at all. Going for treatment does not mean you’re weak or giving into your symptoms. What it does say is that you are willing to face your problems. We used to think that there were two kinds of people, normal people, and the mentally ill. We now know that being mentally healthy requires more than lack of illness. The things we call mental illnesses are treatable. Facing your problems reduces their impact on your life.

The fear of being diagnosed as mentally ill is a throwback to the days when there wasn’t an effective treatment for mental illnesses. Our system of care used to be designed to try to immediately cure people. If you break a leg, a doctor can set it. When we didn’t have effective treatments for mental illness being diagnosed meant there was no hope.

Today we know that there are talk therapies which have been shown to be effective in curing some mental illnesses. Even those that can’t be cured can be made substantially better. Seeking treatment for a mental health challenge does not mean you’re weak. It says you are acting to make your mental life healthier and happier.

Talk therapy resembles coaching.

Highly successful athletes still have coaches. My view of counseling is that it should function in a similar way to coaching. The goal should be more than merely detecting what’s wrong with you. It should also entail finding solutions to your life problems so that you can have a happy, productive life.

In the same way that a baseball player or a golfer can’t see their own swing, many people can’t see the unhelpful thoughts. A counselor can help you with other ways to look at your problems and help you learn the skills to overcome life’s difficulties.

One significant difference between counseling and life coaching is the professional counselors and therapists are specially trained in diagnosing and treating mental illness. In most places, they are also licensed. While some life coaches can help you work on becoming more successful professional counselors can help you with the depression or anxiety that is interfering with your life.

You are afraid your secrets will get out.

Counselors are committed to keeping what you talk about with them confidential. Outside of a few legal exceptions, such as plans to kill yourself or others and abuse of children and the elderly, what you are going to talk to the counselor about will not leave the consulting room. Questions about what is and is not confidential and what counselors would keep confidential is one of the most common reasons people visit the counselorssoapbox.com blog. For more about confidentiality, please look at the posts under Law and Ethics.

Talking about your problems is embarrassing.

Talking about your problem could be embarrassing. During their career, counselors hear a substantial number of secrets. Chances are your counselor has heard something remarkably like what you’re about to tell them. They’ve also studied the kinds of problems to bring people to counseling.

Counselors try to approach people empathetically, being able to mentally put themselves into the client situation. They also try to practice unconditional positive regard. Regardless of your problem or what you have done in the past, the counselor wants to see the best in you and try to help you change and become a better person. It’s not the counselor’s job to judge you.

You believe your problem is beyond help.

Some life problems are more difficult to treat than others. Talk therapy can help even those people with the most severe mental illnesses to improve the quality of their lives. Many people are surprised to find how much their problems are like the problems of others around them. I believe that while some mental illnesses can’t be cured, all of them can be managed. Recovery from mental illnesses just like recovery from addiction and alcoholism is possible.

You’re looking for an instant solution like medication or drugs and alcohol.

Overnight successes are often the result of years of struggle and practice. Medication can help you manage your symptoms, but it won’t eliminate all your problems. Quick fixes like drugs and alcohol can distract you from your life problems for a while, but eventually, they quit working and living with an even more serious problem called addiction.

You believe counseling will cost too much or take too much time.

Counseling for mental health challenges is often covered by insurance. Even if you had to pay out-of-pocket, you should compare the cost of getting counseling with the costs you incur trying to solve the problem with other methods.

Couples sometimes think they can fix the relationship with a romantic weekend somewhere. They spend thousands of dollars on that trip but then tell me they can’t afford to come for marriage counseling. The cost of marriage counseling is substantially less than the price of obtaining a divorce.

Compare what you will spend in time and money to get a two-year or four-year college degree. Education is an investment in yourself. If your mental or emotional problems prevent you from being successful in school or in life, all that effort and money will have been wasted. Investing in your mental health is one of your best investment opportunities.

You don’t believe your life could get any better.

When you’re deep in life’s problems, it’s hard to see how things could get better. Counselors are trained to help people overcome life’s difficulties. If you’ve lost hope, the counselor may help you get it back. If it feels like nothing you’ve done in your life has worked may be working with the counselor can help you find the things that will work.

You’re convinced the solution is moving, changing jobs, or changing partners.

It’s easy to move through life thinking that your problems are where you live. People tell me that they can only move somewhere else then they would be happy. When I asked him why they don’t do it, they give me all kinds of reasons why they must stay where they are and be miserable.

Wherever you are, whatever work you are doing and whoever you are in a relationship with you are responsible for your own feelings. Counseling can help you learn how to make the best out of where you are and how to decide when it’s time for a change.

You believe the problem is someone else.

People often believe that their problems are someone else’s fault. If that person would only change they could be happy, or maybe only less depressed and anxious. Counseling can’t change that other person, but it can help you improve your thinking and behavior. Sometimes if you change the way your living your life, the other person will change. Even when you can’t change others, you can find ways to reduce the impact they’re having on your life.

Have you been telling yourself you need to talk to somebody about your problem? What’s holding you back from finally taking responsibility for your life and seeking out the help you need to create the most effective life possible?

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, Barnes & Noble, 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.