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"It's time to stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole in addiction treatment."

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (13304)

"It's Time to Stop Trying to Fit a Square Peg 
Into a Round Hole in Addiction Treatment"

In Client-Driven Focused Therapy, the therapist educates clients about diverse evidence based practices.   The traditional abstinence-only intervention is neither attractive nor appropriate for many problem drinkers.        For many clients, behavior is often symptomatic of co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, OCD, Attachment/Separation disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, pain management, dissociative disorders, trauma and PTSD.

Many addiction professionals call for the patient to fit the treatment when it shouId be the other way around. Client-Driven Focused Therapy is an unbiased and personalized approach geared to fit the patient.

Every Treatment Doesn't Fit Everybody

square peg into round hole

This technique is an alternative to the many treatments that relentlessly try to steer each patient into the same treatment and self-help groups (a "my way or the highway" approach).

Instead, we need to offer our patients a spectrum of evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders and other addictions. Dogmatic addiction treatment dis-empowers clients who don't conform.

These clients often relapse or drop out, producing poor treatment outcomes. Unfortunately, such experiences compound the client's self-perception of being a misfit. The result is a sense of failure and disengagement in therapy.

Treatment That Suits You

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There is great value in many treatment methods and support systems for addictions, compulsiveness and behavior modification.  These alternatives often increase self-esteem, inspire change and benefit the empowered client.

Beyond substance abuse, addiction professionals need to assess for additional pathology and empower clients with education about evidence-based interventions to address multiple issues.

This includes trauma and PTSD, anxiety, OCD, Attachment/Separation maladjustments, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative disorders and other pathology.

This is a difficult task for the untrained eye because alcohol and other drugs commonly induce psychiatric symptoms.  

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It is also important to be sensitive to the client's age, developmental stage of life, family history, cultural background, religious beliefs and current life stressors.

For example, a client who has experienced trauma may habitually self-medicate with alcohol.  The treating therapist should discuss the diagnosis of co-occurring disorders, present effective evidence-based treatments and help the client determine an appropriate course of action.

In Client-Driven Focused Therapy, it is the therapist's role to educate clients about diverse evidence-based practices.  The abstinence-only intervention is neither attractive nor appropriate for many substance users.

Furthermore, this client-friendly approach frequently elicits effective outcomes, a stronger therapeutic alliance and more client engagement in therapy.

In summary, Empowering Psychotherapy is a client-friendly approach that cultivates motivation and readiness for change.