Addiction Recovery Coaching VS. Addiction Counseling And Psychotherapy

Addiction Recovery Coaching VS. Addiction Counseling And Psychotherapy

What is an addiction coach?

In recent years, professional recovery coaches have begun to appear online. An addiction coach does not provide formal therapy to a person recovering from addiction. Furthermore, an addiction coach can promote their services and work with clients without having credentials in counseling or treatment.

A coach is, in a sense, a personal cheerleader. When you meet with your coach for a session, you review your future goals and the progress that you have made so far. When you are accountable to another person for making progress, you will be more likely to stay on track.

An addiction coach specifically will help you to avoid alcohol and drugs as well as pointing out when you are exhibiting addictive behaviors. Recovery coaching can be a useful part of treatment and recovery.

When it comes to addiction coaching, your coach will likely have experience in working with people who have successfully overcome substance use disorders. Often, they will also either have personal experience in getting over an addiction or possibly experience in helping a close family member.

Is a coach like a sponsor?

You may be familiar with the concept of a sponsor if you have been to Alcoholics Anonymous or similar 12-step recovery fellowships. The purpose of a sponsor is to help you work through the 12 steps. If you have read through or even worked through the 12 steps, you are aware that they dive deep into personal spiritual and psychological issues. 

Does a sponsor have to be certified in counseling or therapy?

The only requirement to be a sponsor is to have worked through the 12 steps. In the program, they recommend that a sponsor should have a sponsor themselves. A sponsor does not have any particular protocol or curriculum to follow with their sponsees. Often, the way a sponsor approaches step work is dictated by how their sponsor worked through the steps with them.

Does the sponsorship system have oversight?

The integrity of sponsorship exists at the group level. If your sponsor is not helping you, you can speak with other members of the group. You can also bring up sponsorship issues in meetings. You do not have to stay with a sponsor who is not helping you.

However, you may hear within the group that you cannot trust your thinking in these matters. What if it is your “addiction” trying to sabotage your recovery?

What are the rules in choosing a sponsor?

In nearly all situations, the accepted rule is that a sponsor should be of the same gender and have worked through the 12 steps with a sponsor. Also, a sponsor should be in recovery without relapse or slip for at least one year. Otherwise, you get to choose a sponsor, and your sponsor gets to choose to accept you or not. 

Sponsors are not coaches.

Do addiction specialists recommend that you work with a sponsor? You might be surprised by the answer. They do support sponsorship in 12-step programs.

The 12-step philosophy, of which sponsorship is a cornerstone, is supported by the addiction treatment community. Significant institutions that credential doctors in addiction medicine support 12-step facilitation as an evidence-based therapy for addiction treatment.

While sponsors and coaches are both people who might help you with addiction and neither requires specialized training or certification, they are not the same. A coach is not limited to assisting you with the 12 steps. 

While your coach might function somewhat like a sponsor and may even have experience in being a sponsor, the coach may also follow other paths to help you recover from addiction. Hence, in most cases, a coach works outside of the 12-step framework.

How does coaching differ from psychotherapy or counseling?

A psychologist or family therapist with a doctorate must go through years of rigorous schooling and training to work in the mental health field. They must also obtain a license from their state to work in the field of psychotherapy.

Addiction counselors may have certifications for completing programs in addiction counseling. While certified to work in recovery support services, they are not licensed or credentialed to treat mental illness.

Often, counselors who work in rehabs have personal experience in addiction recovery and consider this to be what qualifies them to work in the addiction field. As you can see, there is a wide gap in training and credentialing requirements for a psychologist and a counselor.

Do rehabs have to employ psychologists or family therapists with a high level of training?

Surprisingly, many rehabs do not employ psychologists or family therapists with doctorates or even masters degrees. Counselors facilitate much of the group therapy in substance abuse treatment programs. These counselors often have, at best, a certificate from a training program. In some cases, this training may only take a month.

Are there certificate programs for coaches?

Coaches often go through specialized coaching programs to learn formal methods for working with a client. While not required, you may want to ensure that your coach is certified and may want to look into the certifying organization.

Some coaches have experience in psychology or medicine. There have been medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, and doctors of psychology, who have ventured into the addiction coaching business. While their training and licensing is not a requirement for coaching work, you may find this background experience reassuring.

Can a coach help with life issues beyond addiction recovery?

A coach may function in a variety of ways. There are celebrities, such as actors or musicians, and business executives who may not be comfortable or have the time to sit in 12-step meetings. These individuals may seek out a celebrity addiction recovery coach.

These meetings are open to the public and may not be suitable in some situations for people who are concerned about being recognized or confronted by the public. A coach may function as a sponsor for an individual in this situation.

Whether in a tour bus, on a private plane, in the board room, or at home, a coach can be there to hold you accountable for your recovery. However, coaches can also be an affordable part of anyone’s long term recovery. You do not have to be a celebrity or powerful executive to get help from a coach in overcoming alcohol or drug addiction

Often, addiction coaches also have experience as business coaches.

They may even have experience in building successful businesses. If you are in recovery from addiction and interested in starting or growing a business, you may find it helpful to work with a coach who functions in both capacities. 

There are also coaches with experience in motivating creative people to move forward in their work, such as art or music. Additionally, coaches can help with fitness and nutrition.

You may even seek out a coach who also works as a life coach.

A life coach helps you improve in all areas of your life by keeping to your short term and long term goals.

Why would someone in addiction recovery want to work with a coach for business, health, or creative pursuits? As you may be aware, the people who are most susceptible to addiction are often the people with the most potential for success.

They are usually creative, intelligent, and hard-working. Unfortunately, the condition of addiction uses these strong traits against you. When you overcome addiction, you will find that you are capable of accomplishing anything.

A coach can help you to stay on track to reach positive goals. Keeping busy with activities, such as art, music, business, and fitness, can help you to avoid negative influences that lead back to active addiction and drug abuse.

Can a coach replace a psychologist or family therapist?

While coaching can be a rewarding process, it does not replace formal therapy with a licensed therapist. There may be significant issues in your life that have taken you down the path to active addiction.

A therapist can help you to work through childhood issues and events from your past. Additionally, they can help you to identify triggers that you should be aware of and avoid.

While you can work with a coach and a therapist, a coach does not replace a licensed therapist. When it comes to addiction treatment, there are roles for doctors, psychologists, family therapists, counselors, sponsors, and coaches. 

How do I find a coach who is right for me?

You can start by searching online and also asking people close to you for recommendations. Once you have found some coaching candidates, you can narrow the field by looking at their experience. 

Also, see if they have published articles, blogs, or if they host a podcast. Reading their work and listening to them may help you to decide if you have found the right person for your coaching experience.

When you have decided on working with a particular coach, you may try out a session to see how well you work together. You may find that working with a specific coach for the initial meeting reveals personality conflicts. 

You and your coach must have compatible personalities and compatible working styles. For example, if you find that a coach has too much of an aggressive coaching style, you may want to look further for a more compatible coach.

Coaching can make all the difference in recovery and life.

When you have found the right coach and start working together, you will find that you can reach goals faster and more consistently. There is a reason why Olympic athletes work with coaches. A coach helps the athlete to upgrade their skills and move forward towards their goals of success. 

The coach keeps them on track with their daily routine of training. If you want to be successful and work toward achieving the great things you can accomplish, you may want to consider working with a coach.

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