What is Addiction Phone Counseling for Family Members?
~by Joe Herzanek
Something Changing Lives Foundation began a year or two ago was our family phone counseling option. This has worked very well and continues to grow. Since I do not do psychotherapy but concentrate on addiction counseling for family members, phone counseling is even better than face-to-face counseling in many ways.
Phone Counseling vs. Person-to-Person Counseling:
Family members and friends of alcohol and drug dependent men and women want to get clear information and guidance about what they should do (and should not do) to help. When dealing with family members, I donâ€™t have to be overly concerned about body language and eye contact. They have no reason to hide their real feelings and thoughts. Itâ€™s a different story all together with active users of substances.
Of course, some obvious advantages of Addiction Phone Counseling are that this can be done literally anytime, anywhere and between multiple households. Participants can remain relatively anonymous and donâ€™t have to spend time or money arranging an in-person visit. They donâ€™t risk being seen by someone they may not want to run into.
What will we talk about on a Phone Counseling Session?
One of the things that families are usually confused about is the question of whatâ€™s normal? Most are certain that something has gone very wrong in the life of their loved one but how wrong and to what degree is difficult to define. We discuss the question as to what should I do (or not do) at this point?
I can remember when my own son was struggling with substances in his teen years. Even I, â€œthe expert,â€ wasnâ€™t quite sure to what degree he had drifted from the normal baseline, so to speak. Even counselors need to talk to other counselors at times.
Most people who contact me for Phone Counseling know they are in crisis. Often the person is a spouse or an adult son or daughter. More often than not the issue has persisted for years. Rarely does someone call me in the early stages. When a family is in crisis, most individuals are too close to the situation and family members have become too emotional to effectively handle things alone.
After three decades of working with families and also networking with treatment centers across the USA, I can point people to helpful and appropriate resources close to where they live. When the stress level is high often our emotions lead us to some bad choices. I canâ€™t tell you how many times the family has called and told me about a facility that they are considering which would have been a huge and expensive mistake (for various reasons). Sometimes the family has decided to let the person with the problem find a facility he or she likes bestâ€”sort of like letting the patient play doctor.
Donâ€™t make that mistake.
At the end of a phone counseling session family members have a clear plan of action for how they are going to move forward, backup plans and suggested resources that are customized to their situation. The spouse, parent, family most always will proceed with a renewed sense of hope. Family Phone Counseling is a way for people to sort out options and know that they have done everything in their control to help their loved one.
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>Learn more about Addiction Phone Counseling for Family Members with Joe Herzanek
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