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Drugs are chemicals. In fact as Serenity center we prefer to use the word “Substances.” Different drugs/substances, because of their chemical structures, can affect the person in different ways. In fact, some drugs can even change a person's body and brain in ways that last long after the person has stopped taking drugs, maybe even permanently.

There are many different reasons why people use drugs, whether it is out of curiosity, experimenting, or to ease stress or depression, because their friends are doing it, or in an attempt to improve physical performance. Often this behavior is a one-off or an infrequent activity that people dip in and out of; however, in some cases using drugs leads to abuse and then Addiction.

At this stage the user begins to experience major life problems including: losing a job(s), dysfunctional relationships with friends and loved ones, physical complications, social mal-adaptations, mental disorientation, spiritual alienation and many others. But despite all that the person continues to use, this precisely means the person is no-wronger in-charge but sick.

At the Serenity Centre, we believe in a client-centered model of addiction treatment. This is basically taking the time to meet with the individual to ensure that their specific needs are being addressed.
Addictions counseling is a relationship in which a counselor helps the client mobilize resources to resolve their problem and modify attitudes and values.

Whether it is drug or alcohol rehabilitation, the counselor will explain and facilitate a working relationship, use multiple models of counseling all aimed at helping the individual. The methods that we use are based on the treatment plan well established through an assessment. Some of the methods may include:

  • Client Centered Therapy
  • Reality Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Systemic Counseling
  • Life Skills Counseling
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Talk Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Experiential and art therapy.

The counselor will always discuss and explain to the individual the rationale for what they are doing in counseling, as the process must be a collaborative effort between the client and the counselor.

During our sessions, the addiction counselor follows six stages to ensure that all issues are properly catered for, reflected upon, and resolved. The stages are as follows:

  1. assessment

The counselor gathers as much information as realistically possible in order to make a valid assessment and treatment plan. Some of the information discussed might include: Client’s perception of the problem, Motivation for seeking help, Duration of the problem, Previous ways of coping, Relevant past history, Expectation of how counseling will help among others.

  1. summary

There are 5 major issues involved in summarizing the information the client provides: Nature and severity of presenting symptoms, Cause of the symptoms, Relief of symptoms – are there possible solutions to the clients problem, Client’s readiness for counseling, and the client-counselor relationship, (ensuring that the helper and the client are an appropriate match and will develop into the most helping therapeutic relationship.)

  1. counter checking

The counselor provides information to the client so that the former can determine how everything that is being done in their counseling aligns with the individual’s goals.

With the above, conditions are;

  • The information will be provided in simple, concrete terms;
  • Identify client’s strengths that will help resolve problems and weaknesses that cause problems or get in the way of resolving it;
  • Counselors will be open to questions both during and after the feedback is given in order to create an open working dialogue;
  • Make specific counseling recommendations such as anger, family, marital, or life sills counseling.
  1. Addiction Counseling Agreement

The agreement between the counselor and the client will be imperative to the therapeutic relationship. Many areas are covered in the agreement, such as the following:

  • Practical issues such as length of sessions, number of sessions, and topic to be addressed in sessions;
  • Expectations of counseling should be outlined in the counseling agreement so all parties are on the same page. Counselor will explain what he expects of the client, and similarly the client should let the counselor know what he needs as well;
  • Goals will be another aspect of the agreement, this allows for a concrete system rather than a vague idea of “the helping process;”
  • Large problems and possible solutions will be broken down into small pieces that allow the client to meet them one step at a time;
  • The client must agree on and “own” the goals to make them work.

The client and the counselor will work together toward resolving problems and meeting outlined goals. The counselor will assess on an ongoing basis the most effective method of individual counseling to ensure that they are supporting the client’s needs as best as possible.

Recovery planning on discharge.

Termination is not the last counseling session, but rather a phase in which the counselor will work with the client on preparing a discharge and aftercare plan. When the client is done treatment, they will be able to stay sober and continue working toward their goals on their own.

This is a timely and carefully planned process that involves the collaboration of not only the client’s counselor but also the entire clinical team and the family, to ensure every resource possible is at the client’s disposal when completing treatment. However, if the counselor or medical person sees a need for an extension, then that will also be recommended as that has many benefits in the recovery of the client.


Effects of Substance Abuse also includes

Compulsive cravings combined with prolonged substance abuse can prompt physical consequences throughout the body. Most substances will cause strain on the organs, as well as the venous and respiratory system after prolonged use. Many forms of addiction alter the user’s physical make-up, sometimes even just after a few weeks of use.


  • Organ damage
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Cancer (caused by nicotine or steroid use)
  • Prenatal and fertility issues
  • Gastrointestinal disease

In addition to the above medical concerns, chronic use of certain substances can lead to long-term neurological impairment, such as exacerbating or giving rise to mental health problems.

Neurological and Emotional Effects.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

The ultimate health consequence of substance abuse, of course, is death – either caused directly by a situation such as an overdose or heart attack, or eventually through the development of drug-induced cancer or AIDs.


Are you or a loved one currently struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs? Get help now before one of the worst-case scenarios happens.

The first step in addiction treatment is often medical detox, especially when it comes to alcohol, heroin, cocaine and many prescription drugs. Then counseling……

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-established form of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested to be effective in treating a wide variety of disorders, including substance abuse.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing distorted ways of thinking that can lead to substance abuse.
  • CBT therapy sessions usually last about 1 hour a week for 16 weeks.
  • It is a well-established treatment for a wide variety of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • It can be combined with other treatments such as medication and motivational interviewing.

How CBT helps a person to recover from Addiction.

  1. Focus on what reinforces substance abuse.

The first goal of CBT is to identify the ways using substances have been reinforced in your life. You are taught to recognize these maintaining factors by exploring both the positive (e.g., enhancing social experiences) and negative (e.g., escaping negative emotions) reinforcement of using drugs or alcohol.

  1. Create reinforcement for abstinence.

The next step is to increase the reinforcements related to not using (e.g., providing rewards to yourself for abstaining) or build your own coping skills in order to deal with stress.

  1. Develop a relapse prevention plan.

The relapse prevention component of CBT involves identifying your triggers and developing a plan for anticipating and addressing any potential relapses in the future.

The one on one CBT session.

Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions are typically very structured and last about 1 hour. Your therapist will likely spend the first few minutes of every session establishing an agenda for the session. This will be your opportunity to identify any important topics that you would like to discuss that day during the appointment.

The majority of sessions in CBT are focused on discussions of mood and individual difficulties.

Homework is also a large component of treatment. You are expected to complete exercises outside of the session each week. You and the therapist agree on the exercises.

Other therapeutic modalities include.

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Contingency management
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • 12-Step program
  • We also offer counseling to out-patient clients, both for alcohol and drugs plus other psychological needs.