Exploring Relapse Prevention Planning
Steps to a Relapse Prevention Plan
1. Identify the high risk situations. Use the template at this site to help your patients to identify these. These will include thoughts, feelings and behaviors which potentially lead to relapse.
2. Have a toolbox of coping skills. Your patients need to have an identified plan. You can solidify these plans by using discussion, role play and writing. The template identified above will also assist with this activity.
3. Challenge your thinking. Building the practice of thoughtfulness is one of the best changes you can facilitate with your patients. Many times, belief systems must be deconstructed to identify faulty messages which they are operating with. Once a patient identifies their errors in thinking, they can often generalize that experience and apply it across a broader range of beliefs.
Remember that relapses are part of addiction when you view it as a disease. Just like someone with diabetes can have varying insulin levels, addicts can have varying levels of adherence to their desired goal. Relapse is part of the learning process.
Let me know how your relapse prevention planning is going! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: email me at Allison@allisonvelez.com
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When working with addictive issues, establishing a relapse prevention plan should be a main priority from the onset of counseling. In order to identify the needed
elements of the plan, the patient must identify the personal high risk factors that are present in his environment and psyche.
First, understand that a “lapse” is a single, short-lived action that deviates from the goal. A“relapse” is multiple lapses which result in loss of control. Relapses are usually gradual and are preceded by many warning signals.
The goal of a relapse prevention plan is to identify as many potential factors as possible and make a plan to deal with them before they come up. The best way to deal with these situations is to have a solid plan.
A high risk situation is any person, place, thing or thought that tempts the patient to lapse. Lapses result in some negative effects that include:
· Even stronger cravings to use more
· Hurting others and the trust between you
· Losing trust in yourself
· Danger of full relapse