Online Counselling for Addiction and Substance Abuse

Online Counselling for Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction and Substance Abuse are usually defined by an obsessive and compulsive need to consume alcohol or drugs. People suffering from addiction are often resistant towards accepting that there is a problemand help is available. Online counseling can help in facilitating the therapeutic process for such resistance. There are several reasons behind this resistance but online counseling can help in working through most of them.

Some ways in which online counseling can be helpful for addiction are:

Increased Accessibility:

Increased Accessibility

Through online counseling, people can take consultations from anywhere. One of the main reasons for resistance is that people suffering from addiction do not wish to step out of their house to go somewhere for treatment because firstly, even coming to terms with fact that they need treatment is a big task. This is where online counseling does its magic. Apart from being able to take counseling from the comfort of their homes, they can also access a lot of self-help material which is readily available online. They can also take emergency online counseling when they are experiencing strong urges to use. Not just that, they can also take part in meetings online which is another significant part of recovery.

Maintains Anonymity

Maintains Anonymity

Anonymity is a big part of recovery from addiction. After all, it is called Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. A lot of people are not comfortable going for offline counseling because of the stigma associated to addiction and counseling as well. Online counseling makes it easier for people to access the treatment that they need. It ensures the privacy and safety that they need and maintains their anonymity as well because there is no compulsion to have a face-to-face or even disclose their names.

More Impactful and More Alternatives

More Impactful and More Alternatives

Online counseling has been found to be more impactful in some cases because of the above-mentioned reasons and also because of the number of alternatives available to people, be it in the form of therapeutic techniques or self-help materials. People are more receptive and impressionable when they feel safe and comfortable in their environment and online counseling plays a huge role in that.

Some techniques that can be used while implementing online counseling for alcohol and substance abuse are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: More commonly known as CBT, this technique focuses on restructuring the thought patterns in an attempt to influence behavior and change harmful behaviors. With the help of online counseling, the counselor tries to identify, explore, break and reframe thoughts with the help of various techniques like identification of cognitive distortions along with online worksheets, self-help materials and quick feedback.

Motivational Interview:

Motivational Interview

In this technique, the counselor uses a method of questioning which directs the client to see why they should bring positive changes in their life. This technique is effective for people who have conflicted feelings and who are still in the second guessing phase. This technique is effective in online therapy as it is less invasive and more directional which tries to bring a positive change without the risk of touching extra sensitive issues.

There are some cons for online counseling as well but they can be worked through with a little bit of effort, honesty and consistency. People might get lazy when taking treatment from home and might start slacking off. The counselor must be able to engage the client enough to keep them going on their journey of healing and recovery. Living in their own environment, they might be surrounded by the same triggers which will need to be identified and worked on, to either deal or distance. Another con is that it might get a little difficult sometimes to identify the real emotions and thoughts without having an idea of the complete body language. It will take some level of expertise from the counselor to pick on the non-verbal cues in order to detect the things that the clients might be trying to hide. There is a lot of resistance in people suffering with addiction of any sort because most of them are unwilling to accept that they are addicted and that it is a problem which is impacting their lives and the lives of those around them.

Online counseling can help them go through the 12 steps of recovery and can also help their families and friends to deal with the problems that one faces as a caregiver. Loving them and loving themselves can become really hard in the midst of all this negativity and online counseling can bring a ray of hope in that environment.

Group therapy sessions and family therapy sessions can also be conducted online once the client has reached a stage where they accept, acknowledge, and agree to change their behaviours for their betterment and for their loved ones. Some group therapy techniques that can be used in online counseling are:

Thoughts and feelings

Addiction is about compulsion and one of those compulsions is of thoughts as well. It helps to identify those thoughts and what are the feelings attached to those thoughts. This exercise is more effective in a group because it makes the client realize that they are not alone and there are a lot of individuals who are going through the same experiences. This also gives them hope of recovery and of a better life.

Feedback chair

In this technique, one member of the group is randomly selected and the entire group shares their feedback about the recovery of that individual. It can be positive and negative both and this technique acts as a reinforcement technique where good behaviours are appreciated and bad behaviours are called upon. Being in their own environment, it gives them a lot of personal space and time to reflect on the group’s feedback and work on their character defects.

It is important that we do everything in our capacity to help those who suffer with addiction because addiction is not a choice, against popular opinion. Addiction is as much a mental condition as any other and people dealing with it must be treated with patience and compassion. Online counseling can make the process very convenient, cheap, efficient and safe for the client and their families as well.

Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how



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