At OATC we recognize the importance of addiction counselling as an integral part of the recovery process. On that basis, many of our Clinics provide our patients with an in-house opportunity to participate in both individual and group addiction counselling. OATC patients may refer themselves, or they may be referred by their methadone doctors or nurses.
Before beginning the addiction counselling process, each patient is first asked to read and sign a Statement of Understanding Form reviewing the process, as well as the issue around confidentiality, and some of the limits to confidentiality. Typically, the first few sessions consist of gathering important information through interview and completion of The Patient Information Form, a self-report questionnaire that covers various areas of the patient’s life, including a comprehensive background history, as well as their current problem areas. This way our addiction counsellors are better able to consider patients' current needs, set realistic goals with them for this type of counselling, and to address the various areas of patients' lives, as it relates to their recovery. In some instances, our addiction counsellors may also recommend further follow up with more appropriate professionals or agencies in the community.
The primary focus of addiction counseling at OATC is to allow patients an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the multifaceted factors that contribute to substance use disorders, including neuro-adaptive, emotional, social, environmental, spiritual and contextual factors. Much emphasis is placed on addressing the following:
- Lifestyle changes, i.e., modifying "people, places, and things" in your environment
- The addiction cycle and how to break this cycle
- Cross addiction, i.e., substituting one substance for another
- Self-medication as a way of numbing out certain mood or anxiety states, painful emotions and/or unresolved life experiences
- Identifying triggers, conditioned cues, and high risk situations
- Dealing with cravings
- Dealing with boredom
- Coping and problem-solving styles, i.e., your anger management style, stress management style, assertiveness, impulsivity, compulsivity, and "acting out" behaviours"
- How you see yourself (self-image and self-confidence), how you see others, and how you relate to others
- Social support systems
- Guilt, shame, and loss of trust and credibility
- The impact of your substance dependence on your relationship with your partner, children, other family members and friends, as well as on other important areas in your life