Where did we leave off? Oh, right. We’re talking about how it’s hard to ask for help and sit across from a stranger just talking into thin air. But we’re also talking about how we struggle to just listen to each other and so sometimes, we need to call a counselor. We need a person.
Not too long ago, I spent a week power washing my back deck. Yes, it was July in Missouri. So, yes, it was hot and sticky and the mosquitos were swarming. Why did it take a week? Well, after hour number one, I realized the maximum amount of time I could run the power washer was about 90 minutes. At that point, I was sore, tired, and splattered with mud. Five days of early-morning, 90-minute sessions taught me a lot about why I had never picked up a power washer wand before that week and also reminded me that counseling and power washing have more in common than we might think.
At first glance, my deck appeared just fine. I mean, I had looked at it for nine years and there was some age-related wear and tear, but obviously, nothing too hideous to cause me to do something about it. Around hour number five of managing that powerful power washer wand, I began to see the toll the weather and scurrying animals and little human feet and Missouri sun had had on the once-clean and smooth wood. Yikes!
Isn’t this how life is sometimes? We’re just going about our day-to-day, noticing that some things that used to be easy are a little more difficult, a couple relationships have fizzled, our job is just the job that pays the bills, and we feel tired. (Not the 11:59 p.m. tired, but the 7:45 p.m. is-it-bedtime-yet tired).
So we do some things to ease the tension and return to our former level of comfortable living. We read the latest and greatest self-help book, we increase our dose of daily Vitamin D supplements, we add a Body Pump class to our gym routine, and we turn our electronic devices off an hour before our head hits the pillow. All great things! We feel the relief…for a few days. And then it’s back; that nagging, “something isn’t right” feeling and “I don’t know what to do next” thought.
When discussing best practices in helping people with substance use disorders, the subject of drug testing is seldom discussed beyond noting its importance. However, managing drug testing within a clinical environment can be tricky. A thoughtful approach to managing drug testing is crucial because if it is handled well, it can enhance treatment process and outcomes, but if it is handled poorly, it can get in the way of effective interventions. In this article I will discuss the pros and cons of drug testing and detail some local resources useful for integrating drug testing into your clinical practice.
The primary barrier to the effective use of drug testing in counseling is the perception that it is punitive. Indeed, in many environments the person being testing has nothing to gain and everything to lose. In the criminal justice system, workplaces, and even some treatment programs a positive result on a drug test can mean incarceration, a lost job, or an unsuccessful discharge from treatment. Chief concerns in these situations are that the person being tested has a loss of privacy and loss of control over the use of the test results. Furthermore, these uses color people’s ideas of the purpose of drug testing. Therefore, clinicians using drug testing need to specifically address this perception and correct any misunderstandings about the use of test results.
People rightly come to the therapist because they have become inwardly enslaved
and they yearn to be set free. The crucial question is: how is that freedom to be attained?
– Rollo May, Freedom and Destiny
At a four-day “Boot Camp” for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Reno this February, I aspired to actively participate in the training rather than sitting back passively. The latter is certainly the easier route, and it’s the option I sometimes take in life, but it leaves me feeling a bit lifeless. On the other hand, while raising my hand and speaking in front of 150 other attendees invigorates me, the thought of doing so also brings in its wake a swell of fear and trembling that seems to pin me down into a state of passivity. Read More »