What makes Next Step Therapy fairly unique is the fact that all the senior partners are accredited and experienced addictions therapists, practicing counsellors or psychotherapists and have a minimum of 15 years of continuous and active engagement in their own recovery from substance misuse.
One of the characteristics of addictions treatment in many countries is the general low level of skills and experience of front-line addictions practitioners. There is also a correspondingly low level of pay and status. As soon as a practitioner becomes experienced, they move away from direct contact with clients and into management and programme monitoring roles. Nevertheless, there are many examples of facilities where dedicated and experienced therapists have direct contact with clients as focal counsellors. These treatment programmes have higher retention rates and outcomes. Evidence suggests that a good therapeutic relationship between client and counsellor leads to higher attendance at sessions, higher motivation and engagement in the process of change. This leads to favourable follow-up outcomes.
Counsellors at Next Step Therapy are engaged fully with clients from preadmission, throughout the complete treatment process and for up to 6 months aftercare following discharge from the programme.
We have a partnership organisational structure to avoid the pitfalls of a hierarchical treatment model where the primary function of senior staff is to serve the needs of the programme rather than the needs of the individual clients. The therapeutic programme and the direction of the business is directly under the control of the therapists working with clients of a daily face-to-face basis. In this respect, we operate more like a GP surgery than a conventional treatment centre.
All partners are qualified and IAAAC (Irish Association of Alcohol and Addiction Counsellors) accredited drug and alcohol professionals. They are also members of either the IACP (Irish Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) or ICP (Irish Council on Psychotherapy). They will be accredited with these organisations or working towards accreditation.
All therapeutic staff are encouraged to be active in pursuing continuing professional development. They will be particularly encouraged and supported to undertake and publish research on the efficiency of the IATP programme. We will fund senior counsellors to professional doctorate level studies to test and improve our service.
It is an axiom that “as within, so without”; that tensions within the counselling team are transferred to the client group. The reverse, known as parallel processing, is also possible but generally does not occur within a professional and healthy team. To ensure that our team remains emotionally and therapeutically healthy we have weekly supervision groups and separate support groups for counsellors to work with countertransference.