Jan. 18, 2022 – One viable option is to seek professional help in the form of counseling. By definition, counseling is a “professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals” (Kaplan et al., 2014, p. 368). This means that counseling consists of a professional relationship with a trained practitioner (e.g., holds the appropriate license or certification) built upon the mutual goal of helping a client experience positive change. Counseling can occur in a variety of formats including individual, family, group, or couples counseling.

For individuals who are seeking help with their alcohol or other drug use, there are many different types of support—some in the form of professional treatment, and some based on peer support. To help determine the best type of support, or the appropriate level of care, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM; 2021) developed guidelines for treatment placement. These guidelines help the counselor and client determine the right clinical setting based on the client’s needs. For example, the guidelines encourage counselors and clients to consider the withdrawal potential of the drug of abuse, other health or medical complications, co-occurring mental health symptoms, the client’s history of substance use, and the nature of the client’s living environment (ASAM, 2021). With these factors in mind, counselors and clients come to a decision about the best level of care to support the client.


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