A recent health alert from the CDC has shown a significant increase in deaths from overdoses. For the 12 month period ended in May 2020, preliminary statistics are showing drug deaths of over 81,000 in the United States alone.
This is significantly worse than prior years. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl have contributed the most to this increase, however overdoses of meth and cocaine have also been seen. Synthetic opioid deaths alone have increased almost 40% in the one year period. Possibly even more startling is an almost doubling of synthetic opioid deaths in 10 western states.
Professional substance abuse treatment can make the difference between continued suffering and a healthy, sober life. As a counselor, it can be beneficial and important for your treatment plan to also include alternative therapies that address trauma and other elements of the client’s life with addiction.
Addiction treatment therapy is very broad and no two clients are alike. It is partly customized to the substance of abuse and also takes the client’s unique personality into account.
Exposure to traumatic events can lead to sleep disorders, cognitive problems (i.e. memory lapses, reduced concentration), depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. Anyone who experiences these events can be vulnerable to psychological issues resulting from their one-off continual exposure to traumatic situations.
While many find conventional treatments like counseling to be therapeutic, others have discovered that alternative treatments like art therapy can greatly inspire healing. If you’re skeptical about the benefits of art therapy, keep reading. You’ll gain an understanding for what it is and how it benefits sufferers.
Art Therapy: An Overview
People who have experienced trauma often come to the conclusion that there are no words to describe their emotional pain regarding what they witnessed or endured. Yet, as many therapists will insist, communication is often the most effective method for working through trauma in order to manage conditions like post traumatic stress disorder.
When clients find it too difficult to convey their emotions or talk about the circumstances of their trauma, art therapy allows them an entirely different medium to express themselves. Many have discovered that it leads to immense healing.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is led by a trained therapist who helps sufferers “use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.”
Today, this therapy is practiced worldwide in crisis centers, psychiatric clinics and hospitals, forensic institutions, schools, and private clinics. Art therapy programs can be found throughout the U.S.
How Does Art Therapy Help ?
Art therapy is especially beneficial for people who have survived traumatic events and helps those who have suffered the loss of a loved one through a traumatic illness, witnessed or participated in a battle, experienced a natural disaster, or suffered a physical injury.
While art therapy does foster a certain appreciation for art, that is merely one of the benefits associated with this type of treatment. Art therapy helps people who are suffering with psychological conditions by improving depression, helping resolve emotional conflicts, improving self-expression and interpersonal skills, reducing stress and negative emotions, and managing negative behaviors. It also helps participants discover personal insights that allow them to grow and move beyond the walls of their trauma.
Consider applying the many benefits of art therapy into your practice.
As counselors and professionals in the addiction treatment industry, we will surely come across individuals with cooccurring disorders. A very common mineral health concern is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Individuals with PTSD may show a variety of symptoms related to their trauma, including depression, hyper-alertness, substance abuse and difficulty sleeping. These patients may require a variety of therapies to help them deal with the emotional consequences of past events. Alternative treatments are now being used to help reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Florida Certification Board has announced that an extension of the Certified Recovery Support Specialist scholarship is now available starting July 1, 2020. This is the same scholarship program that was previously available through a grant from The Florida Department of Children and Families in the offices office of substance-abuse and mental health. This scholarship may be applied towards exams, renewals and reinstatement.
If you have recently completed all of your requirements to get the CRSS, we urge you to consider applying for the scholarship as it is awarded a first come first serve basis. Bear in mind it is based on financial need.
The scholarship can be applied to by clicking here.
Many of our students have inquired about the status of Florida Certification Board testing sites. Due to COVID-19, many of the testing sites around Florida were closed, to ensure that no transmission was possible in the close quarters of the testing site. For several weeks, students were not able to take their exams or gain certification.
The good news is that as of the date of this blog post, June 18, 2020, several test sites have re-opened and with proper notification to the Florida Certification Board, students will be able to take their exams for certification.
Below, please find a list of testing centers that may be open and accepting new exam candidates.
Please confirm with the Florida Certification Board to ensure you have an appointment at the appropriate testing center. You may also check back on this post for updates on additional testing center openings.
Those considering a career in the addiction field often ask which certification is right for them. Of course, there is no right answer, as the decision largely depends on each student’s personal circumstances as well as their goals in the industry. However, we can broadly paint a picture that allows most students to work toward the certification that’s right for them.
Just a few years ago, the Florida Certification Board had three counselor-level certifications including the Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) and Certified Addiction Professional (CAP). Eventually the CAS was discontinued. Some time thereafter, the FCB introduced a mandate that CAPs were required to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to behavioral health. This seriously limited the number of applicants that could ultimately become a CAP.
Many of our students are concerned about reciprocity between two states, however many do not realize that they can parlay their state certification, in some cases, into a national certification that is recognized across the United States.
We often receive calls from prospective students interested in finding out more about career possibilities in the field of addiction once they have received their certification. It is a very difficult question to answer, but in this blog post, we will discuss the various considerations students should understand when choosing their certification.