If you are considering treatment for substance abuse, either for yourself or your loved one, it can be a challenging time. There are many unknowns you are most likely confronted with. Some questions you may have include: 

  • Where should I look for care? 
  • How do I know if I’m choosing the right treatment team? 
  • What can I expect from this process? 

It is normal to grapple with these questions during such an important time. There are many options out there for addiction treatment, but one size does not fit all. Investing the time into finding an understanding and competent treatment team will set you or your loved one up for success in recovery.

Finding the Right Fit in a Treatment Team

When choosing a treatment team to manage your care or that of your loved one, the first aspect to consider is licensure. Finding clinicians who are actively licensed in their field by the state ensures you are working with someone qualified to provide quality care. Licensure typically requires earning a graduate degree and passing a comprehensive exam. Licensed clinicians are knowledgeable in methods of assessing and treating mental health conditions and substance use disorders. They can use the information you provide to tailor a treatment plan to your needs. 

Knowing What to Look For

There are a wide variety of treatment modalities available, and every clinician will have different levels of preference or expertise in certain methods. This means that some clinicians may have skills that suit your needs very well, while others may not have as close of a match. In these cases, while finding a licensed clinician is the foundation for receiving effective treatment, it is not the only factor you should consider. Finding a therapist who has experience treating your specific condition and who has worked with people in a similar position as you can help ensure a good fit. This is especially the case if you are living with a comorbid mental health condition alongside addiction.

Rapport and Trust 

Furthermore, developing rapport with a therapist is an important part of the process. The aim here is not to find a therapist who can be your friend. Rapport is about feeling safe and able to open up in the treatment space because you trust your therapist. That therapeutic relationship helps drive a significant amount of the change in therapy.

Trial and Error

Finding a treatment team can take some trial and error. It is possible you may have to have initial sessions with a few therapists before finding the right fit. Furthermore, it might not feel like you “click” right away with your therapist. While sometimes this is an indication that it would be wise to look elsewhere, it might also require some patience as the relationship unfolds. You are the best judge of your needs, however. If something doesn’t feel right, or at any time you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it is time to look elsewhere.

Treatment Placement Consultation

Utilizing a treatment placement consultation service can help ease some of this burden. If you or your loved one are new to substance abuse treatment, it can be helpful to have a knowledgeable guide alongside you. Treatment placement consultation can present you with options that have been vetted and that meet your profile of needs and goals, thereby limiting the scope of the search and helping you preserve your energy for treatment rather than spending it all on seeking out treatment.

The Power of Feeling Understood

Working with licensed clinicians who are experts in their field ensures that you have access to the tools necessary to recover from addiction. This clinical competence is essential, but it is only part of the picture. It is important to find a treatment team who truly understands what you are going through.

Addiction is an isolating experience. You most likely feel out of control, like your actions do not align with your vision for your life. It is also likely you feel stuck engaging in substance use that you know is harmful to you and the people you care about. Living with these contradicting thoughts and behaviors can be frustrating. This frustration may be made worse by not having people who understand. It is important to have family and friends who support your recovery and want to see you succeed, but it may feel like there is a barrier because they might not fully understand why you don’t just stop using. 

The intense mental and physical hold of addiction is difficult to convey to someone who has not experienced it. Those on the outside might view symptoms of a disease as conscious choices you are making. This is why working with a clinician with both professional and personal experience with recovery can be helpful. Knowing your therapist has either dealt with addiction in their own life or has witnessed it in someone close to them can remove some of those barriers to understanding. You can be sure that they can empathize with your struggle and understand the complexity of your situation. 

Additionally, they can serve as a role model of someone who is living well in sustained recovery. You don’t have to feel alone in your recovery. Furthermore, you deserve to know that there are many people living fulfilling lives after addiction. While it is not necessary to work with someone who has previously battled addiction, it can provide a unique element to your care experience. For these same reasons, it can also be beneficial to engage in peer recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Treatment for substance use disorder is a vulnerable time. It involves opening up about aspects of yourself that might cause you shame, anger, and sadness. You need to acknowledge the need for change, even when that change will be difficult. Having the right people on your team during this time can make all the difference. At Family-Centered Services, we prioritize getting to know you and your family on an individual level. Our licensed clinicians are extremely competent and bring years of professional and personal experience to their work. They offer individual and family therapy, a family recovery program, and much more. We invite you to call us at (509) 991-5822 to get started.