Going to rehab can seem like an overwhelming event to some. After all, when you choose an inpatient rehab, you are making a commitment to change your life for the better. It is a monumental decision.
This is compounded by the fact that there can be a lot of unknowns – different facilities subscribe to different philosophies and therefore employ different models of care. When you’re looking for help either for yourself, or a loved one, it can feel like you are in crisis mode because there is a lot of pressure to find the right one. However, if you understand the types of professionals that will be in charge of care, it can make the process easier.
Beginning the Process
No one can deny that beginning the process of going to rehab, or helping a loved one get to rehab, is difficult. This is the beginning of a new life; a life without drugs or alcohol. In many cases, it has been years where substances were the source of comfort and a gigantic coping mechanism for the user. It’s no surprise that there can be resistance and fear when the idea of going away to a treatment facility is broached.
When that first call is made to an admission counselor, it is an important milestone. He or she will ask you a lot of questions about the current situation, including substance use and history. All admissions counselors are trained to understand what you’re going through and are intimately familiar with the facility at which they work. They will be able to answer any questions you have and many times will be able to help you with arranging travel to the facility. They will explain the facility’s philosophy, as well as what a typical day at the facility is like. In addition, they will assist you with insurance verification, as well as understanding payment plans.
If you are calling for a loved one, the admission counselor will want to know the amount, if any, resistance there is from the person who needs help. If an intervention is necessary, admissions counselors at many rehabs can help arrange the help of an interventionist to help navigate this difficult time.
Interventionists help identify the people in the addict’s life who will become influential in the recovery process. This team will be able to enable the loved-one to accept treatment and ultimately recovery. An interventionist will support, educate, and provide guidance, as well as direction and training to the team. In addition, many interventionists will be able to facilitate and supervise the actual meeting. The main goal of the interventionist is to help the family team show how the addict’s behavior has become destructive in a non-threatening, supportive way.
Professional interventionists follow a Code of Ethics and know that an intervention is not coercive, shame-based or an ambush. It is a planned interaction, a process of education and an invitation to return to a healthy, productive life.
While in Rehab
Because rehabs differ, the program details including daily activities and interactions can vary from one to another. However, once you actually arrive at a rehab, a caring staff member who will explain the process will meet you. Because this is an emotional time, this private meeting will give the newly arrived patient time to relax and get acclimated to the facility. This meeting is sometimes called an assessment and is headed up by a medical doctor who will make a determination of the patient’s individual readiness and needs. Many rehabs keep medical doctors on staff at all times in the case of emergency or illness. When you’re first learning about the rehab facility you are interested in, be sure to ask about their medical protocol.
Upon assessment, detox will begin. This is a critical and extremely challenging time as all substances leave the body. Because the body has become so used to coping – physically and mentally – with drugs and/or alcohol, the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Be sure to find out the rehab’s philosophy on the detox process. Be advised that some facilities will administer medication to help the body cope. However, many facilities will take a holistic route and can successfully manage the detox stage through holistic therapies that will continue throughout the client’s stay. In addition, some facilities will take an approach that uses medication at the most challenging times of detox, but will generally focus on more natural therapies.
Holistic therapists are found in most rehabs as more and more facilities are finding success with natural care. Holistic therapies range from cognitive behavior, to massage, to art therapy. Holistic doesn’t just mean natural. This is an important distinction to know as you learn more about rehabs. Holistic simply means caring for the entire being, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual side. Holistic practitioners believe that all these parts make up a person and must be treated together in order to heal the whole person from addiction.
Here Are Some Types of Holistic Professionals That You May Meet at a Rehabilitation Facility:
Holistic Psychotherapists: Regardless of the type of facility you end up choosing, there will most likely be a staff of mental health professionals that can help the client discover the root of his or her affliction and how to change their behavior. Holistic psychotherapists will take an integrative approach and focus on the relationship between mind, body and spirit. This ultimately can help the client have a greater acceptance of self. Holistic therapy draws from multiple forms of therapy such as psychoanalysis, cognitive behavior therapy, heart-centered hypnotherapy, breath work and guided imagery.
Family Therapists: A family therapist or counselor will help the client’s spouse and entire family mend damaged relationships and help form new ones. This is essential since the client will require support during and after the rehab experience.
Creative Art Therapists: Creative therapies can be extremely helpful in helping clients deal with all types of stress including PTSD. The creative arts give the client the opportunity to get in touch with the inner self by expressing themselves in alternative ways such as through drawing, painting, drama, music, drumming, creative writing or dance.
Experiential Therapists: Experiential therapists focus on various forms of therapeutic intervention, relying on a number of different types of modalities that incorporate various therapeutic and experiential techniques. This can include cognitive behavior therapy (please note that when rehabs use this term, it can mean a variety of alternative therapies such as adventure or wilderness therapy as well as more common step-based programs). Cognitive behavior therapies like wilderness therapy can help make a person more aware of their relationship with the world and are performed under the direction of a trained and licensed therapist. By getting outdoors and walking in nature or taking part in team games, clients are able to reap the benefits of a healthy, natural setting. There is a wealth of data indicating that such activities greatly accelerate the efficacy of a recovery program.
Exercise Instructors: Numerous studies have shown the many benefits of exercise during and after a stay in a rehab facility. Exercise instructors can be an important part of your support team as a strong mind, body and spirit are essential to overcoming addiction. Exercise instructors can help coach you through various levels of fitness and are trained to understand the unique challenges individuals in a rehab face.
Massage and Other Types of Holistic Practitioners: Many rehab facilities offer massage as a way to find relief from detox, as well as chronic pain. Those suffering from a substance abuse addiction tend to be disassociated from what’s going on in their bodies. Massage therapists can help the body get rid of physical distress caused by months or even years of built up tension. Massage helps clients feel present in their own bodies. In addition to massage, many rehabs offer other types of holistic care such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, and light therapy.
The Difference Between Counselors and Therapists
Since you’ll run into these terms a lot, let’s take a quick look at the terms therapists and counselors. Counseling and therapy have different meanings, but are often used to describe the same activity. Both counseling and therapy involves working with a trained professional and many are also licensed by the state in which they work.
- Therapists help a client by talking or working with a situation in order to gain more understanding about issues such as mood, feelings, behavior and ways of thinking. The word therapy is also used to describe a physical approach to care as in the instance of physical therapist or massage therapist.
- Counselors on the other hand, helps an individual identify, understand, and solve problems to help him or her cope with mental or emotional stressors.
Follow-Up and Aftercare
After inpatient care is completed in a rehab facility, follow-up care is necessary to help the client stay sober and away from substance use and abuse. Many times, a caseworker or a social worker will be assigned to a client to help them stay the course. A caseworker is a human service professional that specializes in helping people find and keep employment by empowering them on their sober journey with essential life skills.
There will be many people you or your loved one will meet once you embark on the path to a sober life through rehab. These professionals will make up your support team and have one goal: to help you get and stay sober by helping you understand your challenges and behaviors.