substance abuse therapist resume

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Substance abuse therapist resume thesis ideas for philosophy

Substance abuse therapist resume

Drug abuse counselors work with other health experts such as mental health counselors. To become a drug and alcohol abuse counselor, one must earn a BS degree and pass a licensure test. Attending training and seminars will also improve your skills. Be sure to highlight these in your resume along with your experiences. These will be your edge in landing this job. Proficient in working with substance abuse patients and their family.

Well-educated and equipped with thorough understanding of human systems and conditions that cause problems, leading to a balanced perspective and sensitive care when dealing with clients. Personable with strong work ethic and excellent communication skills. Adept at solving problems to complete tasks in an efficient and timely manner. Like other careers, this field requires passion and expertise. But aside from skills, the best trait one should have to succeed in this job is strong empathy.

Want to find other blogs for substance abuse counselor resume examples? Resume4Dummies has a variety of blogs and free resume templates for you. Check out our best resume writing services , too! What is a Substance Abuse Counselor? Looking for resume templates?

Here is a substance abuse counselor resume sample for you. Successfully performed comprehensive case management and referral services for all Substance Abuse Counseling Center SACC clientele, which included execution of screenings and bio-psycho-social assessments through interviews to accurately gather, interpret, and evaluate education and employment history. Regularly updated all client case records and guaranteed compliance of care records with department standards.

Exemplified proficiency in providing technical assistance in the areas of education and awareness on substance abuse to military and civilian personnel and adult family members. Conceptualized and developed effective education, training, and treatment plans for clients that are in line with the frame work of the 12 core functions of rehabilitative care.

Writing a great Substance Abuse Counselor resume is an important step in your job search journey. When writing your resume, be sure to reference the job description and highlight any skills, awards and certifications that match with the requirements.

You may also want to include a headline or summary statement that clearly communicates your goals and qualifications. The following Substance Abuse Counselor resume samples and examples will help you write a resume that best highlights your experience and qualifications. If you're ready to apply for your next role, upload your resume to Indeed Resume to get started. Well-qualified Substance Abuse Counselor with 15 years experience who can play a critical role in conducting individual therapy sessions, treatment plans, assessments, aftercare plans and interventions.

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You may also want to include a headline or summary statement that clearly communicates your goals and qualifications. The following Substance Abuse Counselor resume samples and examples will help you write a resume that best highlights your experience and qualifications. If you're ready to apply for your next role, upload your resume to Indeed Resume to get started. Well-qualified Substance Abuse Counselor with 15 years experience who can play a critical role in conducting individual therapy sessions, treatment plans, assessments, aftercare plans and interventions.

Indeed Home. Find jobs. Company reviews. Find salaries. Upload your resume. Summary : Substance Abuse Counselor- Social Worker with superior communication, multi-tasking, problem-solving, and organizational skills. A personable and hardworking team member who always maintains a positive attitude. Maintain outstanding critical thinking skills to better assist clients and their families.

Capable of effectively conversing with people of all ages in a variety of situations. Supportive and open-minded of new ideas and practices. Ability to collaborate with clients, co-workers and outside agencies to achieve desired outcomes. Motivated professional seeking the opportunity to work in a setting where I can gain experience and demonstrate my capabilities as a clinical assistant, counselor, case manager or advocate establishing solid relationships, motivating, communicating, and providing the adequate services to at-risk or vulnerable populations and their families.

Objective : Masters prepared Full-time, Substance Abuse Counselor with experience in Social Work searching for a professional career opportunity that highlights my strengths and encourages professional growth. Seeking a challenging position in a fast-paced environment where my social work skills and experiences can be utilized. Summary : Substance Abuse Counselor with a Master degree in addiction counseling.

Over seven years of experience working in the clinical field, the Family Court System, and children's education. Outstanding counseling skills, as well as years of cognitive behavioral and motivational interviewing experience. To acquire a profession with upward mobility opportunities that will allow me to use my skills in human relations, conflict resolution, communication, and leadership. Toggle navigation. Junior Substance Abuse Counselor Resume Objective : Motivated certified substance abuse counselor - 3 years of experience in medication-assisted treatment.

Determined patient program eligibility using patient initial screening application and face to face interview. Secured information pertaining to patient's physical, psychological, substance abuse, residence, employment and social factors contributing to the patients need for an opiate dependency treatment.

Conducted patient psychosocial to determine the patient level of care and need for outside community resources. Identified patient strengths, needs, abilities and treatment preferences. Developed person-centered individualized services plan designed to meet the needs and preferences of the patient. Substance Abuse Counselor Resume Headline : Accomplished and energetic Substance Abuse Counselor with a solid history of achievement in social services.

Description : Maintained and accurately managed more than 50 individual records each month. Screened and assessed clients during intake process while briefly orienting clients to the program and of their rights.

Developed regular and effective treatment plans for a caseload of more than 50 clients. Documented progress notes for each contact with the client or information regarding the client's case. Practiced motivational interviewing as a preferred method of building rapport with clients and providing positive direction as well as other methods such as cognitive-behavioral treatment and dialectal behavior treatment.

Encouraged clients to become engaged and to actively participate in their treatment and recovery efforts. Assisted over clients over a three 3 year period in understanding and implementing the necessary changes to overcome their addiction and substance use and adjust to a sustainable life in recovery. Created personal folders for clients tapering or planning to taper from methadone maintenance treatment to establish a healthy after-care plan to prevent relapse.

Description : Hired to provide direct care for patients with psychiatric and substance abuse conditions. Collaborating with physicians and other health team members to develop the patient plan of care based on on-going patient assessment. Effectively demonstrating the mission, vision, and values of the center on a daily basis.

Facilitating treatment including education on the disease of addiction, application, and practice of coping skills, planning for relapse prevention and development of life skills. Successfully developed and maintained a therapeutic environment within the groups, encouraging open communication.

Providing individuals with referrals for addiction services, anger management, work programs therapy psychiatrist and psychologist. Substance Abuse Counselor Tech Resume Summary : Service driven Substance Abuse Counselor Tech with a strong work ethic looking for long term employment with an agency that will benefit from my 11 years of experience in counseling with persons diagnosed with substance use and mental health disorders.

Description : Working closely with a multidisciplinary team to deliver and coordinate substance abuse treatment and counseling services while assessing for mental health, recreational, educational and other supportive activities for program participants. Providing individual and group counseling to maintenance patients as outlined by state and federal guidelines.

Maintaining an assigned caseload of approximately 50 patients and provide case management. Maintaining therapeutic contact with medication-assisted patient caseload during their stay in the treatment program. Developing person-centered treatment plans along with behavior contracts for high-risk patients to address barriers to treatment.

Participating in professional development training throughout the year including participation in safety training. Adhering to all state, federal and program regulations, and procedures regarding methadone treatment. Referring patients on an as-needed basis to other community services such as AA, NA and other identified support services.

Description : Conducting community substance abuse prevention programs for targeted groups, such as at-risk youth age 13 to Responsible for the implementation of a federal grant implementing leadership resiliency program, communities mobilizing for change on alcohol, and class action curriculum.

Meeting with individuals, families, and groups in the clinic, home, schools, jails, and community settings to develop client-centered service plans. Conducting assessments of clients with substance abuse concerns and developing treatment plans for clients. Working with clients' families to secure their cooperation in programs, advising clients on available community resources and serving as a liaison with organizations and service agencies.

Making referrals and other arrangements for client treatment and service, as necessary, preparing and presenting progress reports on assigned cases. Cooperating with professionals from other disciplines in the development of the team and collaborative diagnoses and counseling programs.

Developing recommendations to mitigate client problems and follows-up with clients and their families to assess progress. Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor Resume Summary : Team-oriented Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor with a strong track record of establishing solid relationships with Clients, co-workers, administration and local agencies.

Description : Interviewing clients, reviewing records, and conferring with other professionals. Counseling clients' in-group or individual sessions to help them to cope with any abuse problems. Counseling and helping family members to aid them in dealing with, supporting, and understanding the patient. Monitoring, evaluating, and recording client progress with that of treatment goals.

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Coursework for clinical psychology programs closely resembles counseling psychology programs, and some schools offer joint clinical-counseling programs. Doctoral students in clinical psychology face tough competition, so interested students should ensure that they meet admission requirements. Individuals with career goals in scientific research, psychopathology, and behavioral health should pursue clinical programs.

Counseling programs suit students with career goals in holistic psychotherapy, human development, and vocational adjustment and training. Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Clinical psychology programs focus on psychotherapy training and practicum opportunities, while counseling psychology programs provide learners with a more holistic education and multicultural training. Clinical counseling and counseling psychology share many similarities, with both programs emphasizing research and dissertation work. Counseling psychology focuses on helping people with emotional, physical, and mental health issues improve their sense of well-being and alleviate feelings of distress.

Counseling psychologists also provide diagnosis, treatment, and assessment for more severe psychological symptoms. Counseling psychology focuses on how people function personally and within their relationships. Counseling psychologists can find work in many different settings , providing services to an array of client populations. Professionals can work in independent practices, community mental health centers, colleges and universities, rehabilitation facilities, and other health maintenance organizations.

The field offers diverse and lucrative work opportunities. Counseling psychologists experience varying salary opportunities depending on their location, experience level, and education. Once they satisfy the educational criteria, professionals can obtain their licenses to practice. Typically, counselors specialize in fields such as substance abuse, social work, behavioral disorders, or family therapy. Psychologists evaluate and treat different psychological problems through diagnostic assessments and interviews.

Counselors conduct one-on-one therapy, and psychologists focus on evaluation and quantitative research. Many students benefit from the scheduling flexibility and convenience of online study. Potential benefits of the online format include a greater selection of programs, savings, and additional opportunities for collaborative work.

Online counseling psychology students complete the same coursework and receive the same resources as their on-campus peers. Distance learners set their own study pace and must possess strong self-motivation skills. For campus-based programs, classes meet on a predetermined schedule, and students access resources, such as library materials and tutoring, in person.

In addition to online coursework, all graduate students in counseling psychology complete laboratory and practicum work in person. Like traditional programs, online graduate programs in counseling psychology require at least one year of consecutive experience in the field.

Some hybrid programs require up to one year of on-campus residency. Online counseling psychology programs follow state licensing rules, meaning that most programs require internships. Some students pursue clinical work experience at the undergraduate level either to make themselves more attractive candidates for graduate school admittance or to prepare for entry-level jobs.

Students interested in graduate study should note that the American Psychological Association APA accredits only doctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology, and does not accredit any programs offering a Ph. Since some states require candidates for licensing to hold degrees from APA-accredited programs, degree-seekers intending to pursue licensure should factor this into their educational plans. All online and traditional counseling psychology programs must comply with state licensing board requirements to maintain their accreditation status.

While locating internships for counseling psychologists can prove more challenging for online students, resources such as the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers , along with platforms such as Handshake and LinkedIn, offer ways to streamline and refine your search. The APA also maintains a list of research opportunities for undergraduates. Obtaining state licensure may add years, depending on state requirements. Online study offers benefits for counseling psychology students by saving travel time; offering the convenience of completing foundational coursework asynchronously; and lowering childcare, room and board, and commuting costs.

While most counseling psychologists major in psychology, many graduate schools do not require applicants to hold an undergraduate in psychology. Other common undergraduate majors for professionals in the field include education, social work, sociology, human services, and general liberal arts or humanities.

For graduate study, counseling psychology programs require on-site supervised fieldwork. This course studies behavior, thought, and emotion in social contexts, examining the relationships between individuals and society. Students explore topics such as social influence, persuasion, conformity, and stereotyping.

Enrollees also develop the skills and awareness necessary to integrate and critically evaluate research and theory in social psychology. With an emphasis on contemporary research and theory, this course surveys mental processes and mechanisms of thinking. Topics include neurocognition, cognitive development, language processes, problem-solving, and memory.

Students analyze research, complete lab work, and examine milestones in cognitive development. Degree-seekers explore the history, principles, and functions of case management in counseling. Topics include interviewing, medical evaluations, effective communication skills, and developing and coordinating plans for services.

Enrollees examine clinical, theoretical, and experimental perspectives focused on the study of major psychological disorders. Enrollees learn to distinguish abnormal and normal patterns of behavior, along with providing appropriate treatments. This course prepares students for research by emphasizing design, sampling, and data analysis. Topics include basic concepts of measurement, such as validity, reliability, and scoring; basic statistical concepts, including correlation, frequency distributions, and variability; research design and program evaluation; and ethical considerations, such as informed consent.

Most professional positions in counseling psychology require an advanced degree. Counseling psychologists also commonly possess education or social work degrees. Motivated distance learners can complete their coursework in an accelerated format, which allows them to finish their program quicker.

Some programs also offer discounted tuition rates or other incentives to attract in-state students interested in completing their degree online. This course focuses on the clinical, therapeutic, and practical factors involved in counseling. Topics include confidentiality, therapist-patient privilege, scope of practice, trends in mental health professions, and professional misconduct. Students prepare to counsel patients and learn to prescribe psychotropic medications.

Enrollees explore classifications, side effects, indications, and contraindications. Topics covered include alternative medicine, psychoneurology, pharmacokinetics, and medication management strategies. To prepare students for accurate diagnosis and treatment of clients in mental health counseling, this course examines the principles and methods of personality assessment, with an emphasis on ethics and diversity.

This course provides an in-depth survey of the major contemporary theoretical perspectives in counseling, such as humanistic, existential, cognitive-behavioral, psychoanalytic, and client-centered therapies. Including both classroom and practical learning, this course offers an integrative and contemporary study of marital and family therapy.

Students examine relationship dynamics, strategies of intervention, and the fundamentals of assessment with couples. Each student interested in pursuing advanced postdoctoral research or in teaching at the postsecondary level needs to complete a doctoral program as a prerequisite for these career paths. Some doctoral programs offer online coursework toward the Ph. Since fully-online doctoral programs in counseling psychology do not receive accreditation by the APA, they do not meet all state requirements for professional licensure.

This course explores the influences of biological mechanisms on the mind and behavior. Students perform data analysis and research design for laboratory components. Topics include neuroanatomy; neurochemistry; and the roles of neurotransmitters in motivation, learning, memory, sensation, and perception. Designed for students already familiar with undergraduate developmental psychology, this course focuses on the cross-cultural perspectives of human development.

Students examine the interplay of social, environmental, biological, and cultural factors across the lifespan. Taking a multicultural perspective, this course covers theories of career development, exploring applications for effective assessment practices.

Students complete case studies and self-assessments, develop and implement career counseling interventions for selected populations, and discuss empirical studies on the psychology and history of work. This course examines the major theoretical frameworks, techniques, and interventions of group therapy. Students design and apply group interventions by developing core skills in group facilitation and analyzing group therapeutic change processes.

To prepare students for cross-culturally responsive counseling, this course surveys the theory, concepts, research, and practices related to culturally and ethnically diverse clients. Topics addressed include discrimination, oppression, stereotypes, cultural heritage, and family systems. Although the approaches discussed in this chapter have different ways of addressing the client's problems, the opening session should attempt the following: Start to develop the alliance Emphasize the client's freedom of choice and potential for meaningful change Articulate expectations and goals of therapy how goals are to be reached.

Developing the alliance can be undertaken through reflective listening, demonstrating respect, honesty, and openness; eliciting trust and confidence; and applying other principles that emerge from these therapies. The therapist's authentic manner of encountering the client can set the tone for an honest, collaborative therapeutic relationship. Emphasizing freedom of choice and potential for meaningful change may be deepened by a focus on the current decision however it has been reached to participate in the opening session.

Expectations and goals can be articulated through strategic questions or comments like, "What might be accomplished in treatment that would help you live better" or "You now face the choice of how to participate in your own substance abuse recovery.

Because of time constraints inherent in approaches to brief substance abuse treatment, the early phase of therapy is crucial. Unless the therapist succeeds in engaging the client during this early phase, the treatment is likely to be less effective. Moreover, the patterns of interaction established during the early phase tend to persist throughout therapy. The degree of motivation that the client feels after the first session is determined largely by the degree of significance experienced during the initial therapeutic encounter.

A negative experience may keep a highly motivated client from coming back, whereas a positive experience may induce a poorly motivated client to recognize the potential for treatment to be helpful. Humanistic and existential approaches are consistent with many tenets of Step programs.

For example, existential and humanistic therapists would embrace the significance stressed by the "serenity prayer" to accept the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. However, some would argue against the degree to which Alcoholics Anonymous AA identifies the person's "disease" as a central character trait, or the way in which some might interpret the notion of "powerlessness.

Yet, such surrender must result from conscious decisions on an individual's part. The AA concept of rigorous self-assessment--of accepting one's own personal limitations and continually choosing and rechoosing to act according to certain principles as a way of living life--are compatible with both existential and humanistic principles. The predominant research strategy or methodology in social science is rooted in the natural science or rational-empirical perspective.

Such approaches generally attempt to identify and demonstrate causal relationships by isolating specific variables while controlling for other variables such as personal differences among therapists as well as clients. For example, variations in behavior or outcomes are often quantified, measured, and subjected to statistical procedures in order to isolate the researcher from the data and ensure objectivity. Such strategies are particularly useful for investigating observable phenomena like behavior.

Traditional approaches to understanding human experience and meaning, however, have been criticized as an insufficient means to understanding the lived reality of human experience. Von Eckartsberg noted, "Science aims for an ideal world of dependent and independent variables in their causal interconnectedness quite abstracted and removed from personal experience of the everyday life-world" Von Eckartsberg, , p.

Similarly, Blewett argued, "The importance of human experience relative to behavior is beyond question for experience extends beyond behavior just as feeling extends beyond the concepts of language" Blewett, , p. Thus, traditional methodological approaches seem ill-suited for understanding the meaning of human experience and the process by which self-understanding manifests itself in the context of a therapeutic relationship.

A humanistic science or qualitative approach, which has its roots in phenomenology, is claimed to be more appropriate for the complexities and nuances of understanding human experience Giorgi, The personal and unique construction of meaning, the importance of such subtleties as "the relationship" and the "fit" in therapy, and shifts in internal states of consciousness can be quantified and measured only in the broadest of terms.

A more subtle science is required to describe humans and the therapeutic process. Rather than prediction, control, and replication of results, a humanistic science approach emphasizes understanding and description.

Instead of statistical analysis of quantifiable data, it emphasizes narrative descriptions of experience. Qualitative understanding values uniqueness and diversity--the "little stories" Lyotard, --as much as generalizability or grander explanations. Generally, this approach assumes that objectivity, such as is presumed in rational empirical methods, is illusory. For the qualitative researcher and the therapist, the goals are the same: openness to the other, active participation, and awareness of one's own subjectivity, rather than illusory objectivity.

Intersubjective dialog provides a means of comparing subjective experiences in order to find commonality and divergence as well as to avoid researcher bias. Because humanistic and existential therapies emphasize psychological process and the therapeutic relationship, alternative research strategies may be required in order to understand the necessary and sufficient conditions for therapeutic change. For example, Carl Rogers "presented a challenge to psychology to design new models of scientific investigation capable of dealing with the inner, subjective experience of the person" Corey, , p.

Some 50 years ago, he pioneered the use of verbatim transcripts of counseling sessions and employed audio and video taping of sessions long before such procedures became standard practice in research and supervision. Humanistic psychology, often referred to as the "third force" besides behaviorism and psychoanalysis, is concerned with human potential and the individual's unique personal experience.

Humanistic psychologists generally do not deny the importance of many principles of behaviorism and psychoanalysis. They value the awareness of antecedents to behavior as well as the importance of childhood experiences and unconscious psychological processes. Humanistic psychologists would argue, however, that humans are more than the collection of behaviors or objects of unconscious forces. Therefore, humanistic psychology often is described as holistic in the sense that it tends to be inclusive and accepting of various theoretical traditions and therapeutic practices.

The emphasis for many humanistic therapists is the primacy of establishing a therapeutic relationship that is collaborative, accepting, authentic, and honors the unique world in which the client lives. The humanistic approach is also holistic in that it assumes an interrelatedness between the client's psychological, biological, social, and spiritual dimensions.

Humanistic psychology assumes that people have an innate capacity toward self-understanding and psychological health. Some of the key proponents of this approach include Abraham Maslow, who popularized the concept of "self-actualization," Carl Rogers, who formulated person-centered therapy, and Fritz Perls, whose Gestalt therapy focused on the wholeness of an individual's experience at any given moment. Some of the essential characteristics of humanistic therapy are Empathic understanding of the client's frame of reference and subjective experience Respect for the client's cultural values and freedom to exercise choice Exploration of problems through an authentic and collaborative approach to helping the client develop insight, courage, and responsibility Exploration of goals and expectations, including articulation of what the client wants to accomplish and hopes to gain from treatment Clarification of the helping role by defining the therapist's role but respecting the self determination of the client Assessment and enhancement of client motivation both collaboratively and authentically Negotiation of a contract by formally or informally asking, "Where do we go from here?

These characteristics may prove useful at all stages of substance abuse treatment. For example, emphasizing the choice of seeking help as a sign of courage can occur immediately; placing responsibility and wisdom with the client may follow. Respect, empathy, and authenticity must remain throughout the therapeutic relationship. Placing wisdom with the client may be useful in later stages of treatment, but a client who is currently using or recently stopped within the last 30 days may not be able to make reasonable judgments about his well-being or future.

Each therapy type discussed below is distinguished from the others by how it would respond to the case study presented in Figure Figure A Case Study. This case study will be referred to throughout this chapter. It will provide an example to which each type of humanistic or existential therapy will be applied. Sandra is a year-old African-American woman who has abused more Carl Rogers' client-centered therapy assumes that the client holds the keys to recovery but notes that the therapist must offer a relationship in which the client can openly discover and test his own reality, with genuine understanding and acceptance from the therapist.

Therapists must create three conditions that help clients change: Unconditional positive regard A warm, positive, and accepting attitude that includes no evaluation or moral judgment Accurate empathy, whereby the therapist conveys an accurate understanding of the client's world through skilled, active listening. According to Carson, the client-centered therapist believes that Each individual exists in a private world of experience in which the individual is the center.

The most basic striving of an individual is toward the maintenance, enhancement, and actualization of the self. An individual reacts to situations in terms of the way he perceives them, in ways consistent with his self-concept and view of the world. An individual's inner tendencies are toward health and wholeness; under normal conditions, a person behaves in rational and constructive ways and chooses pathways toward personal growth and self-actualization Carson, A client-centered therapist focuses on the client's self-actualizing core and the positive forces of the client i.

The client should also understand the unconditional nature of the therapist's acceptance. This type of therapy aims not to interpret the client's unconscious motivation or conflicts but to reflect what the client feels, to overcome resistance through consistent acceptance, and to help replace negative attitudes with positive ones.

Rogers' techniques are particularly useful for the therapist who is trying to address a substance-abusing client's denial and motivate her for further treatment. A client-centered therapist would engage in reflective listening, accepting the client and her past, and clarifying her current situation and feelings.

As Sandra developed trust in the therapist, he would begin to emphasize her positive characteristics and her potential to make meaningful choices to become the person she wants to and can become. Another goal of therapy would be to help her develop sufficient insight so that she can make choices that reflect more closely the values and principles to which she aspires. For example, she may want to tell her husband about her symptoms and try to strengthen her marriage.

If Sandra began to feel guilt about her past as a prostitute, the therapist would demonstrate appreciation of her struggle to accept that aspect of herself, highlighting the fact that she did eventually choose to leave it. He may note that she did the best she could at that time and underscore her current commitment to choose a better life.

Sandra would be supported and accepted, not criticized. She would be encouraged to express her fear of death and the effect this fear has on her. This might be the first time in her life that someone has been unconditionally accepting of her or focused on her strengths rather than her failings.

She apparently has the ability to solve problems, which is reflected by her return to therapy and her insight about needing help. By being understood and accepted, her self-esteem and sense of hope would increase and her shame would decrease. She would feel supported in making critical choices in her life and more confident to resume her recovery. Narrative therapy emerges from social constructivism, which assumes that events in life are inherently ambiguous, and the ways in which people construct meaning are largely influenced by family, culture, and society.

Narrative therapy assumes that people's lives, including their relationships, are shaped by language and the knowledge and meaning contained in the stories they hear and tell about their lives. Recent approaches to understanding psychological growth have emphasized using storytelling and mythology to enhance self-awareness see Campbell, ; Feinstein and Krippner, ; Middelkoop, Parker and Horton argue that "Studies in a variety of disciplines have suggested that all cognition is inherently metaphorical" and note "the vital role that symbolism plays in perception" Parker and Horton, , p.

The authors offer the "perspective that the universe is made up of stories rather than atoms" and suggest, "Myth and ritual are vehicles through which the value-impregnated beliefs and ideas that we live by, and for, are preserved and transmitted" p. From this perspective, narratives reveal a deeper truth about the meanings of our experience than a factual account of the events themselves.

As Feinstein and Krippner note, "Personal mythologies give meaning to the past, understanding to the present, and direction to the future" Feinstein and Krippner, , p. When people tell and retell their life stories with the help of a therapist , the stories evolve into increasingly meaningful and healing constructions. As narrative therapists listen to the stories clients tell, they assist them by identifying alternative ways of understanding events in their lives.

Thus, they help clients to assume authorship of their lives in order to rewrite their stories by breaking patterns and developing new solutions. Narrative therapy helps clients resolve their problems by Helping them become aware of how events in their lives have assumed significance Allowing them to distance themselves from impoverishing stories by giving new meaning to their past Helping them to see the problem of substance abuse as a separate, influential entity rather than an inseparable part of who they are note the discrepancy between this and the AA member's statement, "My name is Jane, and I am an alcoholic" Collaboratively identifying exceptions to self-defeating patterns Encouraging them to challenge destructive cultural influences they have internalized Challenging clients to rewrite their own lives according to alternative and preferred scripts.

Narrative therapy can be a powerful approach for engaging clients in describing their lives and providing them with opportunities to gain insight into their life stories and to change those "scripts" they find lacking. Storytelling is a way of articulating a subjective, experiential truth, and it is important for the therapist and client to become aware of the significance of the story being told and its potential therapeutic value.

Narrative approaches to psychological healing have been used across various cultures for thousands of years Katz, , but they have often been overlooked by mainstream mental health professionals. Contemporary approaches to narrative therapy recognize the importance of understanding how human experience becomes meaningful. A person's life is influenced by the narratives he constructs, which are in turn influenced by the narratives of those around him.

Thus, therapy is viewed as a collaborative attempt to increase clients' awareness of the ways in which events in their lives become significant. In effect, the therapist says, "Let's be curious about your story together. The narrative approach often involves posing questions in a way that situates the problem as an external influence.

In substance abuse treatment, for example, a client might be asked, "How has substance abuse influenced your life? In an effort to be understood, clients sometimes tell a story as a way of educating the therapist to their culture or lifestyle. Therefore, it is essential for the therapist to appreciate the unique influences positive and negative of the client's specific cultural experiences and identity. Often these stories do not constitute sharing in its usual meaning. When listening to them, one may sense that these stories have been told repeatedly over the years.

It is through this sense of storytelling--as oral history--that we reveal our values, expectations, hopes, and fears. For the therapist, a story provides insight into the clients' responses, their need to act on the responses, and their desire to be heard or understood.

A story can become a way for a client to become both participant and observer in order to find new solutions or break down barriers. The therapist may initially ask Sandra to describe some of the important transitional moments in her life. These may include examples of loss of innocence occurring early in her life, her experience of school, circumstances and influences surrounding prostitution and drug use, the experience of being supported by her husband, and internal resources that enabled her to enter treatment and maintain sobriety.

The therapist would ask questions about expectations she felt from family, society, and herself. She may be asked questions like, "How did addiction interfere with your attempts to be a good mother" or "How has fear contributed to your recent relapse and feelings of hopelessness?

The focus of therapeutic dialog could then shift toward developing alternatives to hopeless aspects of personal and cultural expectations. It would be helpful to remind her that recent advances in medical treatments mean that AIDS may not be the death sentence it was once thought to be. Other important questions can help her to begin to create an alternative story: "As you begin to understand the positive and negative influences in your life, what qualities must you possess in order to remain sober and develop better relationships with your husband and children?

As Sandra talks about the people and events in her life, such as her childhood and her children, she can discover some of her feelings, as well as the personal meaning in her story. She can experience a great deal of healing through the therapist's feedback and questions that uncover the desires and emotions beneath her story.

A continued focus on identifying, practicing, or even imagining changes in her story can begin the process of developing new ways of living. Transpersonal psychology emerged as a "fourth force" in psychology in the late s and has strong roots in humanistic and existential psychologies, Jungian analysis, the East-West dialog, and ancient wisdom traditions.

Transpersonal therapy may be thought of as a bridge between psychological and spiritual practice. A transpersonal approach emphasizes development of the individual beyond, but including, the ego. It acknowledges the human spiritual quest and recognizes the human striving for unity, ultimate truth, and profound freedom. It cultivates intuitive ways of knowing that complement rational and sensory modes. This approach also recognizes the potential for growth inherent in "peak" experiences and other shifts in consciousness.

Although grounded in psychological theory, transpersonal practitioners also tend to incorporate perspectives from ancient wisdom traditions. The practice of transpersonal therapy is defined more by its orientation and scope rather than by a particular set of techniques or methods Boorstein, Wittine suggests five postulates for a transpersonal psychotherapy Wittine, : Transpersonal psychotherapy is an approach to healing and growth that recognizes the centrality of the self in the therapeutic process.

Transpersonal psychotherapy values wholeness of being and self-realization on all levels of the spectrum of identity i. Transpersonal psychotherapy is a process of awakening from a limited personal identity to expanded universal knowledge of self. Transpersonal psychotherapy makes use of the healing restorative nature of subjective awareness and intuition in the process of awakening.

In transpersonal psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship is a vehicle for the process of awakening in both client and therapist. Integrating insights and practices in everyday life is the goal of every therapy. Bringing the transpersonal dimension to the forefront may involve the following: Exploration of "inner voices" including those of a higher self that provides guidance for growth of the individual Rowan, Refinement of intuition or nonrational knowing Practice of creativity in "formal" art or informal personal relationships encounters Meditation Loving service Cultivation of mindfulness Use of dreams and imagery.

These techniques may be taught and supported explicitly in the therapy session. At times, a therapist may directly cultivate shifts in consciousness e. This may provide clients with a skill they can practice on their own; initiating such activity represents a potential for brief intervention. Transpersonal therapy recognizes the need for basic psychological development to be integrated with spiritual growth Nelson, Without such integration there is danger of "spiritual bypassing," where issues of basic psychological functioning are avoided in the name of spiritual development.

In other words, the basic psychological work should be undertaken first. Substance abuse disorders may be seen broadly as an attempt to fill a spiritual void. They may also be understood as a means for the ego to defend itself against a natural drive for growth.

If growth were to occur, the ego might find its dominance relinquished. Addiction, like spirituality, also raises questions of surrender May, : for example, to what and to whom do we surrender? In a culture and a psychology that are dominated by issues of rational ego control, what is the role of constructive surrender regularly described in spiritual traditions? How does constructive surrender become destructive and distorted in substance dependency?

In addition, substance abuse may be understood as a means for shifting out of a normal waking state of consciousness. This may be an attempt to fulfill an innate drive Weil, for nonrational consciousness. As the existentialists remind us, there is nothing like death to rivet our attention.

A glimpse of death--for example, seeing the aftermath of a serious car crash--reminds the witness of how valuable life is, bringing up other issues as well. Sandra is now confronted with death due to AIDS. This opportunity to face death and life squarely provides a chance to reconsider and reprioritize her life.

In fact, it could be argued that the best catalyst to brief therapy may be a death sentence precisely because it has the potential to wake up an individual. In many respects, helping the client wake from habitual, mechanical routines that are often based on ego protection and move toward an appreciation that the individual is not bound to or defined by a limited ego, is the goal of transpersonal therapy. This can be seen as a transformation of identity.

Many inspiring instances of people facing death, including death through AIDS, have shown that emergent spirituality can change the quality and direction of existence very quickly. For treatment, the basic sharing of these experiences with a group of others in a similar predicament often quickly moves the client beyond isolation and a sense of self-separateness to connect intimately with others who understand her situation.

This community may not only bring comfort and support but also a deep sense of communion with humanity. In this instance, breaking through the shell of isolation may enable Sandra to begin to make new connections with her family and with herself.

A sense of interconnection, a central postulate and experience in the wisdom traditions, may replace her perceived isolation. Sandra may use this opportunity of facing possible death to begin to encounter and let go of such feelings as guilt, shame, disappointment, and anger that have kept her life less satisfying than it could be.

Accessing the imaginal through art or dreams, for example, can provide a clear and symbolic expression of unresolved issues. The use of rituals or rites-of-passage inspired by the wisdom traditions can provide some catalyst for shifting her consciousness through forgiveness and release.

The therapist may engage in a wide variety of methods e. For Sandra, this experience may be seen as an opportunity for practicing love and forgiveness, moving out from behind rigid self-separateness, facing fears, and transforming her self-definition. Gestalt theory holds that the analysis of parts can never provide an understanding of the whole. In a therapeutic setting, this approach opposes the notion that human beings can be understood entirely through a rational, mechanistic, scientific process.

The proponents of Gestalt therapy insist that the experiential world of a client can be understood only through that individual's direct experience and description. Gestalt therapists seek to help their clients gain awareness of themselves and the world.

Discomfort arises from leaving elements and experiences of the psyche incomplete-- primarily past relationships and intrapsychic conflicts that are unresolved, which Perls calls "unfinished business" Perls, According to Gestalt theory The organism should be seen as a whole physical behavior is an important component, as is a client's mental and emotional life. Being in the "here and now" i. How is more important than why i.

The individual's inner experience is central. For Gestalt therapists the "power is in the present" Polster and Polster, This means that the "now" is the only place where awareness, responsibility, and change can occur. Therefore, the process of therapy is to help the client make contact with the present moment. Rather than seeking detailed intellectual analysis, the Gestalt therapist looks to create a "safe emergency" in the therapeutic encounter.

Perls' invocation to "lose your mind and come to your senses" implies that a feeling-level, "here and now" experience is the optimal condition for therapeutic work. This may be accomplished in a fairly short amount of time by explicitly asking clients to pay attention e. How does your fear feel to you? The therapist may point out how the client could be avoiding the present moment through inauthentic "games" or ways of relating such as "talking about" feelings rather than experiencing them directly.

Clients may be asked to exaggerate certain expressions e. These may all serve the goal of helping clients move into the immediacy of their experience rather than remaining distant from it through intellectualization or substance abuse.

The term contact in Gestalt refers to meeting oneself and what is other than oneself.

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