The highest success rates in addiction recovery come from those who engage in psychological treatments, such as motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, with a therapist.
However, signing up and attending therapy is only part of the work. To get the best results from therapy, a person needs to develop a good working relationship with their therapist.
The first step in developing a relationship with your therapist is establishing trust. The therapist–client relationship is best when both members are honest with each other, when they both understand and trust each other. When a therapist and client have an open relationship, the therapist understands the client’s personality and his/her goals.
Therapists ask that their clients listen and value their thoughts and opinions, since they do have valuable insight from years of experience, seeing what has and has not worked with past clients. When a therapist sees the client listening, acting upon the advice, and making efforts to change their behaviors, the therapist knows he/she is working with a person who is serious about quitting drugs permanently and who trusts that therapist efforts can help them progress.
Ineffective Client-Therapist Relationships
If a therapist does not see the client actively engaging in therapy and making efforts that will help them manage drug addiction, the therapist may try another session of motivational enhancement therapy. However, if this doesn’t work, the therapist may think their client isn’t ready to take the steps needed to sustain drug abstinence or they may think their relationship isn’t working.
If a therapist isn’t right for you for any reason, whether it be a personality clash or difficulties liking/trusting them, it is acceptable to request another therapist. Because therapists care about getting their clients the right help, they will recommend another specialist.
Drug Addiction Therapists Care
Any therapist who specializes in drug addiction therapy understands addiction and will not discredit individuals for having difficulty with drugs. They genuinely care about individuals with this problem and have made it their life’s purpose to help people manage their addiction. Many people who work in drug addiction therapy facilities have had their own struggles or have meaningful relationships with people who also had drug addiction problems. With every new client, therapists see another opportunity to honor their previous relationships and help another individual.
The Importance of a Trusting Relationship
Trust is the foundation of any good relationship. When trust is established between the client and the therapist, the client can honestly discuss what is happening in their lives without feeling vulnerable or judged, and the therapist can better understand which issues are contributing to their client’s drug use. Drug use might be fueled by many things, for instance stress, poor relationships, peer pressure, poor self-esteem, and chaotic family situations. Depending on the issues at play, the therapist can start making plans with the client to do one or more of the following:
- Figure out how to relieve stress without drugs
- Resolve relationship problems with work colleagues, friends, and/or family members
- Develop relationship skills
- Reestablish self-esteem
If the client doesn’t trust the therapist, he/she will likely hide their true thoughts or actions, which will interfere with the therapist understanding the situation. This can result in the therapist using strategies that are ineffective, and they likely won’t be able to resolve the client’s stress.
For example, a therapist may know that their client needs to reestablish relationships with friends and family to rebuild their support system. A standard treatment option in these cases is to reconnect with parents/family members and engage in family therapy. The therapist may repeatedly make this suggestion, hoping their client will eventually look past their insecurities and make amends. However, the client might be opposed to this strategy because of former physical or mental abuse that left them feeling guilty and too embarrassed to tell anyone.
People Who Have Difficulties with Trust
People who have been raped, molested, or physically and emotionally abused often seek escape in drug use. Unfortunately, they also often have difficulties trusting people, especially when they were hurt/violated by a person they should have been able to trust. It is particularly difficult to discuss these issues in therapy, but it must be done. These issues serve as huge roadblocks for individuals learning to handle stress effectively, develop a social support system that promotes a drug-free life, and manage drug addiction. The inability to trust people also may affect their work relationships, productivity, and financial stability.
People who have experienced traumatic events are encouraged to mention this fact as early as they feel comfortable doing so. It is understandable that victims do not want to and may not be able to trust therapists that resemble their attacker. The therapist can work with their client to make sure that they get the right person to pursue therapy with, even if that person is another addiction therapist.
When Should a Drug-Dependent Person Seek a Therapist?
A person should seek a professional therapist’s advice as soon as they are considering quitting drugs or alcohol. The earlier a person starts on the right path, the sooner they can start improving their lives and becoming drug free.
Contact Two Dreams (708-613-4750) to get started today in drug recovery.