How to Become a Rehab Therapist

How to Become a Rehab Therapist

Rehab therapists or counselors are people who help people with disabilities to live full and independent lives. Rehab therapists also help those people to accomplish their personal goals. Whether clients hope to return to a much-loved job or move into an apartment, rehab therapists help them acquire the skills and strategies they need to succeed. Rehab therapists also play an important role in raising public awareness about disability issues and achieving social justice for this undeserved population of people.

Rehab therapists quite commonly work with a wide range of people including:

  • People with a mobility impairment
  • People with a mental illness
  • People with traumatic brain injury
  • People with chronic disease
  • People with addiction and substance abuse
  • People with impairment such as blindness and deafness
  • People with language and communication disorders

Rehab therapists understand the social, emotional, and occupational barriers their clients face. To help people with disabilities especially those with addiction and substance abuse, rehab therapists need to explore what they need and prefer. In many cases those people with addiction and substance abuse need sobriety and ways to stay sober. Once that goal is identified, rehab therapists, work together with their client to develop necessary strategies of staying sober. This might involve role-playing, learning new coping skills, job modification and so much more. As needed the counselor connects the client with helpful organizations and community resources such as 12 step programs or outpatient programs. Rehab therapists also will work with employers to help them accommodate to on the job needs of people with disabilities.

So how do you become a rehab therapist?

  • Most vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs require a master’s degree in vocational counseling, rehabilitation counseling, or counseling psychology. A bachelor’s degree in social services, counseling, or psychology is a good foundation for this career choice. Graduate coursework leading to a master’s degree in rehabilitative counseling can typically be completed in two years. Courses will include disability studies, the theory and practice of counseling, psychology, rehabilitation, case management, and educational and community services. Before enrolling, students should check to see if the university or online program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). A degree from a CORE-accredited program opens up more career options.
  • After completing their coursework, vocational rehabilitation counselors put in at least 600 hours of clinical training with a qualified rehabilitation counselor. Many schools help to arrange an internship or counseling job for their students.
  • Counselors can find employment without having a professional credential, but will broaden their opportunities by obtaining a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. Most state and federal rehabilitation programs will only hire CRC counselors, as will be the case with other select programs.
  • Another option is to be certified as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This involves qualifying to take a state licensing exam (usually a master’s degree and a specified number of hours of supervised clinical experience) and passing it. Be sure to check licensing regulations for counselors in the state you plan to work as they vary greatly from state to state.
  • Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to work in counseling jobs, as well as empathy and the desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors must also have good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with clients.

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Many individuals who make it into recovery will relapse at least once within the first few months. This is why in many treatment centers there is so much emphasis put on providing relapse prevention techniques to those who are new in recovery and those who have also relapsed already. Returning to addiction can mean many more years of additional suffering for the addict. And some people who relapse will never have another opportunity to quit and could even die due to their drug use. This is why focusing of relapse prevention techniques is so helpful; it literally can reduce the risk of relapse and death.

Relapse prevention techniques include any tool that an addict can use to avoid a return back into drug use and drinking. The causes of relapse are usually broken down into three categories. Relapse prevention techniques have been developed to combat all of them. The three categories of relapse usually are:

  • Emotional causes: This is when the addict usually goes back to using drugs because they can’t cope with their thoughts and emotions.
  • Developing unhealthy patterns of behavior, and this makes them more prone to relapse.
  • External situation can also increase the chance of a relapse. Perfect example of this would be an individual who has halfway house roommates that are all using drugs and drinking.

Another part of relapse prevention techniques is identifying different triggers which can be precursors for relapse. By identifying relapse triggers a person can find different coping mechanisms they can use to combat them all. Here are some examples of relapse triggers:

  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling happy
  • Looking at veins
  • Going to football games
  • Driving down certain streets
  • The car or wherever the individual used
  • Certain T.V shows and music

Recognizing also what precedes the relapse is also an important relapse prevention technique. These things are kind of behaviors, thoughts or ideas an addict would have before they relapsed and there is usually a pattern with these:

  • The individual can experience overconfidence . This can mean that they are not prepared when things get hard.
  • Life in recovery can take a bit of getting used and some people may experience periods of self-pity. This is a dangerous emotion because it can sap motivation.
  • Those people who have unrealistic expectations can become disappointed.
  • If the individual_ behaves dishonestly_, it can lead them right back to addiction.
  • Occasionally, people in recovery will experience periods of depression. This can take a lot of the satisfaction out of sobriety.
  • Those who continue other types of substance abuse will be increasing their chances of relapse.
  • Taking recovery for granted leads to complacency. This then means that the individual is no longer doing those things they need to do in order to remain sober.

Also knowing the different stages of a relapse because a relapse is not merely the use of drugs and alcohol again it is also everything leading up to, is another great relapse prevention technique. Here are the stages of a relapse:

  • During the emotional stage the individual will be struggling with recovery, but not actually thinking about a return to substance abuse. The most appropriate relapse prevention tools here would be those that can restore emotional equilibrium.
  • During the mental stage of relapse, the person is thinking about drinking or using drugs again. The urge to return to addiction can be strong. Various techniques are needed to combat this before it is too late.
  • All is not lost at the relapse stage. If the individual has the right resources, they may be able to return to the recovery path right away.

How to Stop Someone from Leaving Rehab Early

How to Stop Someone from Leaving Rehab Early

Leaving Rehab Early is Usually a Mistake

Leaving rehab early is a bad idea and most who do often later regret the decision. The relapse rate among those who don’t complete treatment is much higher than those who graduate their treatment program. The general rule of thumb is: the longer you are in treatment, the better your chances of staying clean and sober. Those who do manage to stay sober often feel as if they are missing out. That’s because these facilities provide the patient with valuable knowledge and skills that will support their efforts to lead a sober lifestyle. Also, there is a great sense of achievement when people complete inpatient rehab and receive acknowledgement from staff, family, and friends for graduating. Leaving rehab early is a decision that should not be made lightly.

Things to Do to Stop Someone from Leaving Rehab Early

Make a request that they stay another 24 hours before leaving rehab early. Many times, a person will want to leave rehab early on an impulse and while emotions are high. If they still want to go after that then at least they will have put some thought into it.

It is imperative to tell therapists and staff of your loved one’s plans to leave rehab early that way these feelings can be discussed in group and one-on-one therapy.

Remind your loved one that rehab is not meant to be easy. For growth to occur, we usually need to be challenged. So the good news: the fact that treatment seems difficult can be the sign that it is working.

Suggest to your loved one that they write down the reasons to stay and reasons to leave. It is helpful to see things in black and white in order to get clarity and gain perspective.

Don’t sugar-coat the consequences of leaving rehab early. Take a stand by telling your loved one that you will not enable them and that addiction is serious and life-threatening. In many cases, drug addiction is a death sentence.

Encourage your loved one to think and stay positive by looking for the good aspects of rehab and focusing on the benefits of a life without being drug dependent. Often times, people want to leave rehab early because they have fallen into the common pitfall of negativity. It can spread through a rehab like wildfire.

Encourage your loved one to take advantage of their alone time in rehab to improve on self-reflection and self-awareness.

Benefits for Completing Rehab

Completing rehab will ensure that your loved one has a strong foundation on which they can build a fulfilling and meaningful life in recovery:  gained additional knowledge and skills. This is will especially benefit them in the crucial first weeks and months in recovery.

By staying in rehab, they will have had time to make crucial and beneficial aftercare plans for a successful recovery.

From a consumer standpoint, the longer your loved one stays in rehab, the more time to benefit from the resources available to them from the facility. In this way, your loved one will have gotten the most out of their (or your) investment.

Quite simply, by staying in rehab longer, the person will have added more days to their recovery – this means that they have put some more distance between themselves and addiction.