Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wow! Aren’t you stressing yourself out even more!

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I agree with authors Baumeister, Heatheron, & Tice (1994) who stated that the best coping strategy is in one’s ability to self-regulate. However, there are times when individuals are no longer able to use the best and most effective coping strategies for managing stress. Often times, individuals feel fatigued and cannot think clearly and logically enough to use the best strategies possible. I am not except from this!

Procrastination                            

When I am stressed and my self-regulation “muscle” is fatigued, I usually procrastinate on assignments. For example, this week, I had a case presentation that was due for my practicum class. I knew the week prior that I needed to get this done. However, I decided to procrastinate and spend time during the weekend with friends and family. Finally, I made a decision to get it done on Monday while a work. However, that was a bad idea because I had three meetings which made my day fly by and to top it off, in one of those meetings, I received some really bad news. This caused me to have to rush to get this assignment done approximately 30 minutes before class started and I did not feel as confident as I wanted to when presenting my case to my peers! I do this a lot and it actually adds more stress than it prevents.

Build up!

Not only do I allow myself to procrastinate when I am stressed, I also allow things to build up. What I mean by this is that I do not take the time to speak to those closest to me and ask for help. For example, instead of asking my significant other to wash the clothes so that I can type a paper, I will still try to wash clothes and type the paper but compromise my sanity and elevate my stress levels.  The same is true at work. I don’t ask for help a lot when I have competing deadlines. Instead, I wait until I am at my “breaking point” and cannot contain the “buildup” and actually explode. This explosion usually leads to a panic attack or just some sort of emotional breakdown that could have been avoided. At this point, I am usually a nervous wreck and inconsolable! However, this is one of the many ways that I ineffectively cope with stress!

Now you know all of my secrets! Until next time!

Ayzha  

 

 

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Personal & Professional Theories◄►12-step program

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Let’s get personal!

I think that the 12-step facilitation of treatment relates closely to my own personal theory of life. More specifically, the 12-step facilitation of treatment is all about taking responsibility for your own actions and the acknowledgement of a higher being that has power. Spirituality is an intricate part of my life. I feel like it is because of something higher than me that I am able to do most of the things that I do. However, I also believe that I have to be responsible for myself, my actions, and in a sense my own recovery, or next steps in life. This became even clearer to me, after attending an AA meeting, I could see the spirituality and responsibility that was a shared commodity amongst the meeting members.

However, two of the steps that I find I needed to integrate in my life more are #8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.” and #9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” I could definitely integrate this into my personal life and I think that I should. There have been individuals that I have harmed and have not made total amends with that have passed away. So today, I am living with regrets and a little bit of guilt because I didn’t say, “I apologize for….” more often.

Okay! Back to professional!

I see myself as a CBT counselor. Therefore, when examining the 12-steps, there are a number of steps that coincide with or have some element of CBT. The 12-step program focuses on the here and now just like CBT. Likewise, CBT focuses on the identification of behavior that the client wants to change and individuals in the 12-step program are asked to do the same. Similarly, individual in the 12-step programs are asked to be mindful and take personal inventory which could be mirrored to thought logs and mood logs in CBT. Finally, the 12-step treatment focuses a lot on a higher spiritual being and while CBT does not have this element, it does have the element of mindfulness and meditation that is encouraged for the client.

I am not sure if there is much that can be utilized for treatment in the 12-step treatment because it is already heavily CBT based. However, I will say that some of these elements in the 12-step treatment could be used in other instances. For example, the first step speaks about being powerless over the addiction. The word addiction could be replaced with something such as depression, anxiety, panic, etc. The reason for my logic is because most individuals present to counseling for depression, anxiety, or panic because it has interfered with daily functioning. Therefore, to some extent all clients may be powerless to something even if only temporary.

Until next time! ~Ayzha

Pharmacotherapy in the treatment of addictions?

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I have always had the belief that God (or whomever we want to believe) created drugs for a reason. If someone has a headache, we recommend they take a Tylenol. If someone has sinuses, we recommend they take some Claritin. However, I never fully understood why there is an argument around pharmacotherapy, especially when an individual states that they are an addict and would like to seek treatment. However, I do understand that no one ever sets out to become dependent on drugs. Just like no one ever sets out to being diagnosed with cancer.

It is my opinion that pharmacotherapy is essential to the recovery of an addict. It is important for us to understand that drug use may start with an individual being prescribed something for pain or taking something for recreational use. This drug may relieve that pain or give a heighted feeling of pleasure that caused the individual to continue the drug use. Eventually, this leads the client to have changes in the brain and crave the drug making them dependent on it. Therefore, when this perspective is given to drug use and the way it alters the structure of the brain, I believe it is almost essential to use pharmacotherapy to assist a client. It is my belief that there is no way that an addict can completely do counseling free of drugs that their bodies have become so dependent on. Therefore, when drugs are prescribed that assist with recovery, it is more helpful to getting the client’s life back on track. I have seen the positive effects of this type of therapy working with substance abuse clients this semester and I don’t know how effective it would be to try to do therapy to an individual that was still using drugs as a means to minimize withdraw symptoms or stabilize themselves. It is my belief that pharmacotherapy makes a huge difference in this population. Therefore, I fully support it!

Ayzha 

Exploring my inner self!

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To be or not to be: That is the question!

It is my belief that it is essential to be connected to the client. However, as a counselor we are constantly trained to be neutral and to be unbiased when seeing clients. Contradictory! Right? In some cases it can be. However, I believe that it takes a certain level of passion and empathy to remain connected to your client. There are times that we will not be able to relate to our clients. However, it is important that as counselors we place ourselves into the shoes of the client to try to explore their problems from their vantage point.

Currently, I am counseling substance abuse patients and they already feel a divide between those individuals that have done drugs and ones that have not done drugs. I was actually just recently attacked by a client in my practicum because he claimed that I did not know anything about the streets and anything about addictions. In that instance, I could see how he saw a sense of self-righteousness in me. However, this is a trait that I work so hard to avoid. In order to do that, I continuously speak to the clients and let them know that any day we could be trading places. I think this is the key to making sure that you stay connected to the client. It is always possible for you to become the client and the client to become the counselor. Therefore, staying connected to my inner client is valuable and it keeps me humble in the profession and always checking myself to insure that I am not looking down on a client or forgetting that I could be the person being counseled are both essential tactics that I have figured out to help me as I begin to explore the counseling world.

We are the same!

I believe that there are a number of factors that we as human beings have in common. These factors include struggles, trials, tribulations, emotions, families, identities, etc. Therefore, I think that knowing these things keeps me leveled with my clients and helps me to avoid the “us” versus “them” mentality. For example, when working with substance abuse clients, I often say to them that everyone is addicted to something. When appropriate, I share my struggles with my addiction with them to let them know that we are similar and that we both may be struggling with some form of addiction. However, I don’t pretend that my addiction is as severe or as difficult as that of a substance abuse user. However, I believe it is a powerful tool to help the client feel at ease and to avoid being judgmental. I believe that no matter our struggles, we are all the same and have something to relate to!  

Motivation: To be a competent substance abuse counselor

Foundational philosophies of counseling

Of the various foundational philosophies of counseling, I am most comfortable with motivation. I think that I am most comfortable with this philosophy because it is one that I have used in my own life. I believe that motivation will take you far and will help any individual to achieve their dreams. I believe that this is true even when an individual only has a little glimpse of motivation. Or when an individual is faced with great failures and adversity. 

Likewise, I have been told by others that I have a motivating spirit and the ability to walk in a room and change the temperature of it. I felt like that was powerful. Therefore, as a counselor in training, I understand that I am the model for the client. Therefore, if I can model how to be a motivated individual, I think that clients that lack motivation may be able to rethink the lack thereof. Likewise, I feel that the clients that have motivation may find more motivation through my modeling. 

Tolerance and attitude are everything

Prior to this semester, I had a low tolerance for individuals that were addicted. Mostly because I have seen the way addiction has torn my family apart. Individuals have become estranged with an individual in my family during his drug addiction. Likewise, I always believed that individuals had a choice in whether they wanted to be addicted or not. However, after receiving more formal education, I understand that it not that simply. I also understand that the brain structure and functionality completely changes when an individual is addicted. Therefore, my attitude toward the addiction population has changed drastically. 

I am also currently working with substance abuse patients for my practicum and I know and understand how having a low tolerance for this population is a sign of ignorance to their experiences. I also am fully aware of the impact that my attitude has on the substance abuse population. I have witnessed clients interact with other clinical staff who have something like a “stand offish” attitude and the impact it has on the clients. I have also witnessed how this type of attitude makes it least likely for a client to open up. Therefore, my attitude is mostly warm, open, receptive, non-judgmental, empathetic, etc. For this reason, I have found that clients are more willing to open up and more willing to give their all when in group sessions or individual counseling sessions. I am also learning that individuals that are addicted to substances have some of the same problems that I do and that just because I am in a position to help does not make me better than they are as individuals. 

Signing off for now! 

Ayzha