Psychology of Addiction: The Other Side Of Medical Addiction Treatment

Psychology may be just what you need for success.

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with a psychologist and addiction specialist who has decades of experience in the field of clinical, academic and forensic psychology. We discussed various topics, including psychology-based treatment options. I was impressed by the many tools that a clinical psychologist has available to apply in practice.

There is more to psychology than you think.

Patients may imagine that when they go to a psychologist, they will be laying down on a couch, speaking about their mother and their childhood as the doctor quietly takes notes. In reality, it does not work exactly like that. The psychologist engages the patient and gets to the root of the problem. Then, a plan of treatment is formulated and updated as the course of therapy progresses.

You can get better with psychotherapy.

Particularly, when it comes to addiction. An important part of your addiction treatment plan can include seeing a doctor of psychology. Your time will be well spent and you will leave with a real and practical plan to make changes to your life. Your life will get better.

When I start patients on medication assisted treatment for opiate and opioid dependence and addiction, I do take time to speak with my patients about issues that surround their drug use. I listen and I also formulate a set of recommendations to help promote a drug-free life.

A step beyond talking to your medical doctor.

While I believe that I am able to provide useful guidance to my patients, I do not have the years of training and experience in psychotherapy that comes with being a doctor of psychology with a specialization in addiction treatment. This is why, in addition to prescribing medication, I refer my patients to a local clinical psychologist.

Psychology should be practiced by a doctor of psychology.

Sometimes a patient will suggest that they do not need to see a PhD for therapy. They ask if they can see a counselor or a therapist. It may be someone with a certificate in addiction counseling. Often, these counselors are recovering from addiction themselves and find it to be rewarding to work in the field.

The mind is a complex entity. It takes many hard years of study and practice for a doctor of psychology to reach a high level of expertise in the field. This cannot be replaced by a short term certificate program. There is a place for non-professional support, but it should not be a substitute for true professional care.

You deserve only the best.

My thinking on the subject has evolved over time. I believe that my patients should seek out the best in healthcare. Addiction is a hard thing to beat. Using the best resources available will help to increase the odds.

The gold standard in addiction psychotherapy is to see a doctor of clinical psychology who specializes in addiction treatment. Why accept anything but the best when it comes to your life and your future?

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