As of June 1, 2015, I am certified as an advanced alcohol and drug counselor since passing the (very difficult) exam in May!  As I embark on this exciting and challenging field, I forsee an ongoing and continually deepening exploration into ways of integrating expressive therapies into addiction treatment.  I draw heavily on Prochaska’s stages of change in matching interventions to the needs of recovering individuals, so I tend to incorporate expressive arts as a way of helping the client to move to the next stage of change from wherever they are.  Creative expression, ritual, and internal imagery can be some of the most potent ways for a human being to transform, and yet the process of recovery often seems like a death-defying walk on a tightrope, where one relapse could mean the difference between life and death.  Under such dire and precarious circumstances, I often find myself delicately negotiating a balance between “too much” and “too little” expressive material.  There are risks on both sides of that equation.

Looking back on how I got interested in this field, I have to give an enormous amount of credit to my mentor and supervisor, Ms. Donna Johnson.  I had never seriously considered that I would ever be interested in specializing in this field, but when I met Ms. Donna and heard her speak about addiction treatment, her passion was contagious.  One of the most important things I learned from Ms. Donna is how addiction treatment, though it has many overlaps with mental health, is really its own thing and requires a very distinct skill set and knowledge base from mental health treatment.  Ms. Donna is also an incredible model of the subtle and profound power of motivational interviewing as well as the patience, insight, and humor required to be a trustworthy guide to someone in recovery.  Her company, Addiction Solutions, is a global center for addiction, criminality, integrated care, and corporate training and consulting.  She provides supervision and education worldwide, so if you are interested in getting your credential as an addictions counselor, she is highly recommended!  Please visit www.addictionsolutions.org for more information.



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