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3 Proven Approaches to Substance Abuse Counseling September 25, 2017

NOTA, Rochester
3 Proven Approaches to Substance Abuse Counseling, Rochester, New York

Drug abuse is a debilitating, chronic disease that affects over 21.5 million Americans ages 12 and up. With reports indicating that the United States is facing a national drug epidemic, it’s more important now than ever to help those who are suffering get the help they need. However, substance abuse counseling is not a one-size-fits-all program, and different approaches are necessary to cater to the emotional and psychological implications behind each abuser’s behavior.

A drug and alcohol counselor, like one of the professional staff members at White Spruce Counseling in Rochester, NY, utilize some of the following methods to help substance abusers take the necessary steps to beat their addiction and live a better life:

12-Step Program & Group Therapy

The 12-Step Program utilized by the largely successful Alcoholics Anonymous guides individuals through a series of emotional challenges, which help them admit the damage they have caused themselves and others and how to climb out of the hole of addiction. The twelve steps have a heavy religious base but can be modified to fit people of any or no religious affiliation or background. These substance abuse counseling programs typically utilize a group setting for individuals to share their personal anecdotes and connect with others to alleviate feelings of isolation in their addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

substance abuse counselingThe Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach can be utilized in an individual or group setting to help abusers actively recognize their triggers and take the necessary steps to eliminate their negative behaviors. The primary purpose of a CBT therapist is not to focus on the individual’s past, which caused them to start using, but to take a present approach on what current issues affect their ability to stay clean. By promoting habits helping to reduce and eventually eliminate triggered behavior, many patients see a reduction in relapses and reentry into rehabilitation programs.

Psychotherapy & Skills Training

Although some drug and alcohol counselors recommend medication to accompany treatment if the patient is suffering from mental illness, some programs advocate a nonchemical approach to avoid swapping one addiction for another. This is a flexible model that helps individuals identify the origins of their abuse, their need to continue abusing, their motivation to stop the negative behaviors, and the tools they can utilize in triggering situations.


In 2014, one in eight people in the United States was suffering from a drug abuse disorder. Regardless of what approach best helps in your recovery from addiction, substance abuse counseling can help. For more information on substance abuse treatment, anger management help, PTSD counseling and other mental health programs, visit White Spruce Counseling online, or call (585) 424-2436.

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