Learning the language of addiction counseling for recovery success
How do you go about learning the language of addiction counseling and why is it so important? Language is a powerful tool. If used improperly, language can work against us in achieving our goals.
Counselors can make all the difference.
When it comes to success, you will want all the help you can get. Therefore, you will want to include private therapy in your plan. So, listen closely to the words your counselor uses. Do they make you feel bad about yourself? If so, let them know. You have a right to be treated with respect. You need your success team to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Does your therapist call you an addict?
Use of the word “addict” is pretty common in the world of addiction care. In NA meetings, members will encourage you to identify yourself verbally as an addict. You may get so use to this word that you don’t think too much about it. Unfortunately, the word has a lot of negative history. You have a medical condition that requires professional care. Why must professionals use words that may make you feel like a criminal?
So, what words should we use instead?
For example, counselors can say that you suffer from substance use disorder, rather than calling you an addict. Using currently accepted terminology is important. There is work being done at Harvard to study the importance of language in addiction treatment. Since there is such literature available, counselors should keep up with current work in this area.
Should I find a new counselor?
If your counselor uses language that makes you uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you have to leave. If your counselor is helping you, you can, in return, help your counselor. Educate the medical professionals whom you work with about the existence of studies on language and addiction. You deserve the best, so it is important to ask for the best in care.