Opioid Addiction Counseling

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Substance use counseling is an important component of comprehensive outpatient medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction. Decades of research have shown that combining buprenorphine-based medications with professional guidance through treatment, focusing on mental and emotional well-being is the most effective way for you to be successful in your recovery process. At AppleGate Recovery, we want you to be successful, which is why we offer addiction counseling at selected locations. If our counseling services are not available at your location, we will refer you to one of our trusted partners to make sure you get the care you need.

AppleGate Recovery focuses on a whole-patient approach towards healing for opioid addiction treatment with the expertise of specialized, trained professionals dedicated to making a difference in the field. When dealing with a complex disease like substance use disorder, AppleGate Recovery counselors use proven techniques to address the causes and consequences of addiction and underlying factors that attribute to your trigger points into substance misuse and eventual addiction. Counselors also work with you to create and reach your recovery goals, with the added support of group sessions where you can share your experiences and find comfort and inspiration from each other.

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Individual Substance Use Counseling

When you are in opioid addiction treatment and meet with substance use counselors as part of your MAT program, the counseling sessions work to address the underlying emotional and psychological impacts of substance use disorder. These individual counseling sessions are crucial for you to prepare for everyday challenges you may face while in treatment and overcome the ups and downs that you will come across on your recovery journey.

One of the main goals of individual substance use counseling sessions is to develop healthy coping mechanisms and replace previous patterns that revolved around substance misuse. You will also learn to:


  • Overcome cravings and urges to misuse substances
  • Prevent relapse and understand the disease of addiction
  • Build life skills that can improve your overall quality of life
  • Work through past trauma to heal reoccurring, triggering memories
  • Repair fractured friendships and relationships
  • Develop a strong support system for ongoing recovery
  • Set goals and make plans for a happy future life free of opioids

Group Counseling

Counseling sessions that use a support group format are a tremendously effective part of a comprehensive MAT program. Friends, family, and clinic staff all play their roles in helping you through treatment and recovery, but people who are going through a similar journey and have experienced the realities of addiction first-hand can provide indispensable insight as well. When you share your feelings with people who can empathize with you, it can bring a comforting sense of relief and belonging after previously feeling alienated by addiction. Other benefits of group sessions include:

  • Sharing experiences with other group members to help find solutions, learn new tools or strategies, and problem-solve together.
  • Reduced feelings of guilt and shame when you communicate and share similar feelings, knowing you’re not alone.
  • Supporting each other and holding others accountable for their individual and group treatment goals.
  • Creating lasting friendships that serve as a support network for those who may not have many loved ones or friends by their side.

Setting Goals for Recovery

Goal setting is a vital aspect of recovery and is discussed often during substance use counseling. Creating future objectives gives you something to strive for and helps motivate you to achieve more than you ever thought possible once the fog from opioid misuse is cleared from your mind. Counselors play a pivotal role in the goal-setting process as sometimes it can be difficult to start the process independently. AppleGate Recovery counselors are trained to encourage you to develop healthy, attainable goals and help you along by tracking your progress and answering the following questions:

What are my
“big picture” goals?

Goals don’t always have to be very specific. You can benefit from having more broad goals like “be happy” or “live a healthier lifestyle.” Although these are more difficult to measure, they can kick off the process of making more definite goals down the line.

What specific things in my life do I want to improve?

Making detailed plans for the future creates benchmarks for measuring progress and success. You are urged to define these goals in detail so you can celebrate all your achievements as you go.

How do I prioritize my goals?

Your unique life story will dictate your priorities, especially when rebuilding your life after the adverse effects of addiction. Counselors can aid you in determining which goals are the most essential for your mental and physical health to help you prosper.

Extended Support Systems

AppleGate Recovery suggests that you supplement your treatment plan with both individual and group counseling, as well as an extended support system. These counseling services are provided both in-house and by referral at select clinics. This includes family members, friends, loved ones, and groups specializing in addiction recovery. You are free to choose which extracurricular peer groups you’d like to join and you have a variety to choose from, such as NA or Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs (IOP) that coincide with the objectives and ideals of AppleGate Recovery programs.

Counseling after Treatment

After you achieve buprenorphine maintenance or taper off your medication, you will largely benefit from remaining in some form of substance use or addiction counseling to keep you on the right track. A post-treatment plan incorporates strategies that aid you in preventing relapse and continuing on your journey towards long-lasting recovery. Before finishing your MAT program at AppleGate Recovery, you can work with your substance use counselors to create a more detailed and personalized post-treatment plan that maps out specific long-term goals you’d like to achieve. Post-treatment counseling also helps you achieve the following:


Connect with a support group that includes friends, family, and specialized healthcare professionals, and maintain those relationships


Identify and manage problematic relapse triggers and life-line support when you experience difficulty


Maintain a healthy lifestyle to help the mind and body heal and work harmoniously

Post-Treatment Planning

It’s imperative that you prepare to make the transition from treatment into long-term recovery whether they plan to remain on medication long-term or taper off of it entirely, is a decision that will be discussed and recommended by your medical provider. Furthermore, a plan for life post-treatment is also crucial to ensure you are maintaining everything you’ve learned and built through the course of your treatment and work in substance use counseling.

Develop and Maintain support Systems

Support, whether formal or informal, is a critical part of your recovery. A professional substance use counselor, therapist, or addiction support groups can serve as formal networks, while family, friends, and loved ones are more informal. Both forms supply you with significant encouragement, motivation, and other emotional and psychological needs. Each person in recovery has different access and resources to create these networks, so AppleGate Recovery counselors work closely with you to help plan for your future in recovery with your unique situation in mind.

Identify Co-Occurring Conditions

Substance use disorder is often accompanied by several other underlying conditions that, if left untreated, could exacerbate addiction further or cause a cyclical effect where one illness feeds the other. Many of these co-occurring conditions tend to be related to mental health, and AppleGate Recovery counselors are trained to recognize the symptoms and effectively address them. Because OBOT medical providers are working certified physicians, you can speak to them about these symptoms and receive additional prescriptions to treat them if needed.

Uphold a Healthy Lifestyle

Once your body begins healing from the damage caused by opioid use disorder, you can look forward to improving your physical and mental health by improving your daily habits to include healthier practices. A routine incorporating exercise, proper nutrition, and productive hobbies can do wonders to boost natural endorphins, enhance energy, reduce cravings and help you mend your overall wellbeing.

Identify and Manage Triggers

Everyone has different triggers that can cause them to feel shaky in their ability to remain on the recovery path. Half the battle is identifying these triggers, which is something you will do with your substance use counselors through the course of treatment. The most difficult part is managing these triggers and reactions, which can take practice and guidance. If you have have powerful triggers that are tough to overcome you are encouraged to seek additional therapy to develop a plan for handling situations with more confidence.

Construct a Relapse Plan

No one in recovery wants to think about relapsing, but it’s part of the disease of addiction. The occurrence of relapse isn’t a failure, and the best way to deal with the situation is to have a plan to bounce back as quickly as possible. AppleGate Recovery counselors can help you map out a step-by-step strategy that includes all necessary resources for returning to treatment, which heavily reduces the stigma surrounding relapse and encourages you to reach out for help.