ACA Blog

  • Adina Silvestri

    Beneath the Sheets: 3 things you never say to a sex addict

    • Adina Silvestri
    Oct 16, 2014
    There’s a stigma associated with being a “sex addict” that differs from any other addiction label. It’s like a double taboo that no one wants to be associated with. Of course, whether you use the term “sex addict” or “impulse control disorder,” the treatment remains the same.
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  • Stephen Ratcliff

    A lesson in unconditional positive regard

    • Stephen Ratcliff
    Dec 20, 2012
    In working with individuals who are struggling with co-occurring mental health problems and addiction, its not totally uncommon to have a client arrive to session intoxicated to a degree. This raises a number of ethical questions as well as the dilemma of whether or not to continue the session. Client safety is paramount of course. It makes sense to me that a person struggling from the intense emotional overload of psychological trauma or severe depression may self-medicate with a substance such as marijuana, yet therapeutic work with an individual who is intoxicated is typically of limited substance.
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  • Marianela Medrano-Marra

    When Creativity Heals

    • Marianela Medrano-Marra
    Oct 31, 2012
    “…art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing. She alone knows how to turn these nauseous thoughts about the horror or absurdity of existence into notions with which one can live.” –Frederick Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy
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  • Jill Presnell

    The Inpatient Therapist: The addiction of suicide

    • Jill Presnell
    Oct 02, 2012
    I have one more part to the series on reactive detachment but wanted to pause to discuss this topic. We frequently work with individuals who have had fleeting suicidal thoughts for years. It’s become part of their life. This is the case for most of the members who participated in a recent group I facilitated. The group began as a discussion about secondary gains. The topic of suicidal thoughts came up. We dove in.
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  • Jill Presnell

    The Inpatient Therapist: The “Drug Seekers” (Reactive disengagement Part 2)

    • Jill Presnell
    Sep 24, 2012
    I work on an Acute Inpatient Mental Health unit. We provide mental health treatment, not drug and alcohol treatment yet we keep getting folks who are addicted to illegal or prescription drugs. Individuals who are violent and psychotic from using bath salts get dragged to the ER by police and then are dumped on us. Addicts trying to escape going to jail come to the unit claiming that they are depressed and suicidal. People with “chronic pain" whose doctors won’t give them anymore pain meds or who have used up their script early suddenly claim that they feel hopeless or depressed and “can’t take it anymore.” They know that when they’re admitted they will be given more pain meds. Once these people get on the floor, they spend the whole time arguing and drug seeking. If they come to groups, they blame everyone else for their problems and don’t take responsibility for anything. They act like teenagers.
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  • Doc Warren

    HALT! Remembering your PPT’s can help not only in recovery counseling but also general therapy.

    • Doc Warren
    Sep 04, 2012
    Those of you who specialize or have had training in substance abuse likely know what the above capitalized letters reference, those without such training may not and it is a shame as they have so much to offer not only our clients who are battling with addiction but most everyone we treat not to mention ourselves. HALT stands for never letting yourself get too: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. PPT’s remind us that we need to examine and monitor the People, Places and Things that we get or are involved with. Are they helpful or harmful to us?
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  • Self-Love as Relapse Prevention

    Jun 19, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_4859" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jennifer Bingaman"][/caption] About 90 days ago, I had a client who was barely of age sit in front of me and tell me intimate details about how he fell into opiate addiction. It started as most drug addictions do – with the gateway drugs – but it also started with another common theme we rarely talk about as a motivator for addiction; self-love.
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  • A Good Listening To…

    May 30, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_4859" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jennifer Bingaman"][/caption] I started out at my internship counseling a batch of men who had little experience with detox, rehab, or counseling. At first, that revelation was scary. I was going to be the first counselor they’ve ever had. I would be their first experience with a real attempt at sobriety. It turned from a fear into a feeling of purpose. As my clients’ first counselor, I had the ability to influence how the client sees therapy for themselves now and in the future. I found I really enjoyed treating this population.
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  • Reflections on 530 Hours

    Apr 23, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_4859" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jennifer Bingaman"][/caption] The first half of my internship is over. The 900 hours staring at me 12 weeks ago has now been sliced in less than half. It feels unreal. I’m three months away from finishing my master’s degree. When I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was go to college. That’s as far as I ever looked. Now, I have gone to college. I’ve gone twice. I’ve figured out (mostly) what I want to do with my life. With the realization about what I want to do with my life, I’ve also realized what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to work solely in addictions treatment.
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  • Male Drug Users and Female Counselors

    Apr 12, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_4859" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jennifer Bingaman"][/caption] It’s been four months since I started my counseling internship at a men’s residential drug treatment facility. When I started, I was nervous about talking to my clients, working with them, and developing rapport with them. I worried about knowing enough about certain drugs or lingo. I worried that maybe my skill set needed to be honed more. I had images of my clients scoffing at me because I was too naïve or I was not understanding them correctly. I worried my clients would make no progress with me as their counselor. These were the difficulties I envisioned.
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