What is rehab counselling in the centre like? Many people realise that they need counselling as part of their treatment for their addiction. They want to get clean and sober (probably through a medically prescribed detox) as comfortably as possible. And to get some rest and relief from all the stress and anxiety that inevitably accompanies the lead up to going into rehab. However, most will recognise that this is not likely to be sufficient to keep them clean and sober for ever. They may already have got clean or sober several times in the past. It is not just about getting clean and sober – it is about staying clean and sober.
Effectiveness of the group therapy
It is important to understand what you are like as a person in order to stay well. How you view things and life’s experiences, and how you cope with the ups and downs of life. In rehab you will also be required to explore your past so that painful experiences can be put behind you. To consider the wrongs and harms you have done so that they can be put right wherever possible. And you will be given the tools – a programme – for you to follow on a daily basis so that you never need to drink or use mood altering substances again.
In most rehabs, the majority of the counselling is done in a group setting. This may be counter intuitive – as you may feel that you need to offload your woes to a counsellor. And explore your individual history and experiences one to one in a confidential setting. Many people go to rehab declaring that they cannot cope with group therapy. Or will not open up in such a setting and need one to ones. However, this is rarely the case when treating addiction. As group therapy is far more effective than one to one sessions, as you will experience if you try it.
Benefits of rehab counselling
Alcoholics and addicts gain little from telling a counsellor all about their woes. What is required is a different way of viewing things. So that they no longer are in a victim / blaming / denying the problem mode. The best way to have the scales removed from their eyes is to get them to see that they have contributed to the situation they are in. Through what they have been drinking / using and through their own thinking and behaviour.
In a group setting they hear others describing their experiences and they can identify with them. It is like looking in a mirror and then seeing the other person’s truth. And how it applies to them too. Members of the group point out the flaws in each other’s thinking. And hearing it from fellow addicts is so much more insightful and palatable than having a counsellor attempt this in a one to one setting.
Direct approach of the counsellors
The other important aspect of counselling in a rehab is that it tends to be directive. So the counsellors will not just sit and listen in these group sessions, accepting what they are hearing. But will challenge and point out the flaws and denial. They may come across as quite aggressive and negative when they tell you they do not believe you, e.g. that you only drink the quantity you have owned. Or they will point out that there are two sides to your story. They will help you see this. And they will not hesitate to tell you how you are coming across. Even if it is not a very positive message. That is because they are wanting you to see the truth. They are not concerned with whether you like them or not. Only that you get the message and change.
So if you go to rehab, be prepared to change. Be prepared to listen to counsellors who are more experienced than you in this field. And who will have seen it all and done it before. If you are open and not defensive and are willing to listen, to accept advice and learn, then you will go a long way towards obtaining a happy, fulfilling and lasting recovery.