What is Addiction Counselling?


The purpose of Addiction Counselling

 The purpose of addiction counselling is to help you as the client live a more enjoyable life than you currently live. It can’t ‘cure’ you of any problem, be it an addiction or a mental trauma. It can, hopefully, give you a better understanding of the issues affecting you and support with managing them. There are hundreds of different models of counselling and psychotherapy, but they all generally involve the same practices. The client explains the problem they’re having to the counsellor and the counsellor offers advice and suggestions. Sometimes the client is unaware of what the problem is. The client might just feel down or feel strange. If it’s an addiction issue, the client might not know why they can’t stop using or engaging. This is something the counsellor can help them discover.


People often think that counsellors are just going to ask them about their childhood and patronize them about their lifestyle. This often makes people feel uncomfortable and scared of the idea of going to counselling. Remember a counsellor is on your side. He or she is there to help you, not make you feel uncomfortable. 

Another thing to understand about the process is how one thing does not fit all. For the counselling to work, you need the balance of having the right counsellor and the right method of counselling. Before you committ to anything, ask around and Google around until you find a counsellor you think might suit you. Give the counsellor you settle on a few sessions to see if it’s right. Don’t go running around having one session with several different practitioners, that could cause more damage than good. Likewise, don’t immediately think that if you don’t like a counsellor, that they aren’t good. Sometimes you need someone who makes you feel challenged.


What happens in a Addiction Counselling Session?

While every counsellor and model are different, the general practice will have a counselling session lasting for 50 or 60 minutes long. Most of this time will consist of you talking about several different things. Don’t worry if you feel like you won’t know what to say. Usually, you spend time talking to your counsellor about things that happened to you during the week, during your life, and things you’re hoping or expecting will happen to you in the future. It varies, and that’s okay. Counselling is not about just spending one hour a week with someone; it’s about spending a few hours every day during the process thinking about what you’re learning. Then thinking about what you want to bring to the next session.

You should generally be in control of the flow of the session, so don’t worry about feeling pressured to talk about something you don’t want to. Only very few types of therapy are confrontational, and you’ll be informed beforehand if they are. Some people prefer this, but the majority of models are slow-paced and at your discretion. The first session or two will usually involve the counsellor explaining how things will go, as well as the laws around confidentiality and disclosure. They will also conduct some sort of assessment usually.

How much does Addiction Counselling cost?

 Counsellors, like any other service people, such as doctors or mechanics, are there to provide you a service. This service is to help you with mental health or addiction problems. They are usually very well trained in different areas relating to mental health and will typically have a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. In Ireland right now, an hour with an average counsellor is about the same cost as a 10-minute consultation with a doctor or dentist. Addiction Counselling Dublin charges €95 per session as our counsellors are highly experienced and sought after. There are some free and low-cost options, usually for specific problems like suicidal ideation, but they could have a waiting list. Some of these services use trainee counsellors and students, which might not the best for you, depending on your circumstances. An investment in your mental health is probably the most important investment you can make.

Helping Hand

How Addiction Counselling can help you

The ways that counselling could help you are going to be unique to your situation. Counselling should leave you with a better understanding of yourself and the things that trouble you, such as addiction. Counselling should help you understand the things that drive you to use or engage and assist you throughout the recovery process. At the very least, you should exit the process with more information about your situation than before. It will often be more cost-effective and long-lasting than doing nothing at all. You might be able to enhance your knowledge on addiction and mental trauma by watching videos on YouTube and getting advice and insights from random people during your day to day life.

In counselling, however, the advice you’re getting is from someone with a formal qualification and enough experience in the area you’re asking about. When you start counselling, it can seem very intimidating and unnatural. You will be sitting in front of a stranger with fancy certificates on the wall, who you’re going to tell very personal information to. The combination of feeling like you have no control, alongside the fear of what might come out, can be very stressing. If you are intimidated by going in to see someone, there’s always online counselling, which might make you feel more in control. You can sit at home and walk away from the screen whenever you want. Discuss your concerns with counsellor beforehand over the phone or in-person and inform them of the way you’d like things to work. You’re the client after all.

Counselling for care-givers

Counselling isn’t for people affected by addiction alone. It’s for everyone experiencing mental pressure from life events such as dealing with the pain of witnessing a loved one experience addiction. A lot of clients who come for addiction counselling are motivated by their partners, or parents, or friends.

It’s very common for these parties to call up first and looking for advice about the situation, and then to arrange a session for the person. They are often taken off-guard if asked if they themselves would be interested in counselling. They never seem to think about this. If you decide you could benefit from counselling, and indeed almost everyone can benefit from counselling, then try to get a counsellor who has no association with your loved one. Also if your neighbour is a counsellor, don’t ask them for sessions. It’s important to maintain professional boundaries.



Counselling can also equip you with the knowledge of how to ask open, exploratory questions and how to dissect their answers to get to the underlying issues. That’s not to say that going through counselling will make you a counsellor, absolutely not. Sometimes people who have had counselling believe that they can go around counselling others as they have first-hand experience. The problem there is that they only have the first-hand experience of their own situation and not of the millions of other situations which people can encounter. While you shouldn’t start to think that you’re an expert after a few sessions you should try to adapt your counsellor’s way of asking questions and exploring ideas. Do this in consultation with your counsellor for the best results. This way you can get help, and learn how to offer better help.

Managing Stress

Counselling can help you with the stress of your loved one’s addiction and the strain it places on your relationship. That one hour a week or so can be a reprieve from the tension associated with supporting someone through addiction. You can easily get dragged down in despair and frustration over something you can’t control. While you can’t control their addiction, what you can do is ensure you’re in the best mindset to support them. This can be when they are ready to overcome their addiction, or at least to help them with harm-reduction.

Counselling may change your perspective on the situation and enable you to respond differently to their behaviours. You might learn to be more empathetic or to be stricter, which can help in certain social interactions. It’s amazing what a few words or sentences can do and how they can change the way you think. Spend your time in counselling speaking about your loved one’s situation. The counsellor is there to serve you, not the other way around.

Counselling can be a great help to you in times of trouble. As well as helping you with your problems, a good counsellor will also be able to offer you practical advice that you can share with your loved one. He or she will suggest strategies to use to manage boundaries during your loved one’s addiction and recovery strategies to assist them after. He or she will be able to inform them about your loved one’s particular circumstances, as well as your own feelings, on an on-going basis.

Counselling for Support Givers

The 5 Session Recovery Plan

The number 5

We offer a tailored 5 session, intense addiction recovery programme designed to assist you with recovery as fast as possible. The programme consists of psycho-education and action planning. We tailor the programme to each client’s lifestyle and goals. For more information, please get in touch.