Impact Therapy and Addictions Counseling Creative Techniques

hi I'm Jeff Jacobs founder of impact therapy which is an active creative multi-sensory Theory driven approach to counseling I'm here with Heidi O'Toole who does workshops on impact therapy in addictions and combines the two we're going to talk about impact therapy and creative techniques what a great fit it is for the addictions field because we we you activate the brain and we know in addictions especially the chemical addictions and even the process addictions what you're doing is you're impairing the brain and so that's why this is such a good fit to not just engage the clients but then give them the opportunity to retain the information in the things to think that we say in our workshops one is the brain likes novelty and secondly advertisers do what they can look what they do to get you to change and counselors just try to be nice look that's we we want to be nice as we do more but we want to be more active in our approach because in an addictions field if change doesn't take place we're talking life and death we're not talking about you know not that I'm comparing it to any other mental health issue but we do know that addiction without treatment ends up with deaths we want to engage our clients yeah we're gonna just run through some of these the use of a shield is important especially for those that are married to or involve with live with right or live with us if you grow up in your call accommodations they need when you work those of you that are school counselors teach your students to use the shield with their alcoholic parent or that you know so so this isn't important and it is because if you just hold that pill back up what it does is here is the parent the parent or the partner who's alcoholic and their alcoholism really just cuz if you don't you're just you're gonna get good and you're gonna be attacked and harmed by the addiction so we can teach people to be able to walk and know the difference between the addiction and the person and we show this to our clients we do this why because the brain likes not it does they'll remember holding up a scene with a big beer big beer box in place right the other the other technique that I use that is really just a great metaphor for addictions is the shovel and many times when I'm running groups or somebody just gets in a repetitive cycle about yes but yes but that's very common in addictions yes but you don't understand but you didn't have my life and I'll just take this out of my box and I'll just start and they'll say what are you doing and I say I'm being you and I said you just keep digging the hole deeper each time you pick up each time you relapse it digs the hole deeper let's say the purpose of this group or this counseling session is to get you to put the shovel down I may be biased but just even what did you do that I think I would absolutely remember that if I were a client don't dig myself deeper into oh and each time you pick up you're digging the hole deeper and and then I meet the client right where they honestly look yes you are in a hole and I can but I can promise you if you put the shovel down the hole won't get any deeper so we use these props and if you notice we're combining them with very very effective statements that we use in counseling and that what that does is open the door to the part of the brain that can start to make sense of what's happening in their life and you're challenging their irrational as he is thinking of in rebt terms or transactional analysis getting them out of the child see get into the adult and getting them to edit the beliefs that really are getting them to continue to dig the hole deeper I use this sign yeah if somebody gave me this long time ago but just that chair and I use extra chairs by putting a think sign in one chair in the little chair sure on the other chair with and then in addictions then we add the B rocks yeah right that's what we add the beer box also with addictions I say if I mean if if you don't think okay you're gonna sink I mean that's just we you have to be able to think through the drink think think and I know you're real good at that of giving little jingle which is exactly what advertisers do they try to get you to come up with some little saying that jingle isn't your antics in your head it's in your head here's another thing I use with a little jingle staying out of this is a lot easier than getting out and I build that up with one third of the belly one-third of the people who get into addiction get out alive so staying out is a heck of lot easier okay then getting out show that where you're and when you're in it here's people think Oh drugs and alcohol gambling whatever this lifestyle expands my world not really because over here say you're my husband and I really want to love you and have a relationship with you I can't get to you what if you're my child's Duncan I'm stuck in my ditch and what if my child needs me over there I can't get to my child my job how do I get to my job in the morning when I'm hungover so it really shows how it limits your what we do and impact therapy is weird not right the title of the impact there the book is called impact therapy the courage to counsel because we have the courage to do what it takes you know I mean not that we're doing anything may no we're just letting what you need to have courage to confront coz when I first started and went before I learned addictions counseling that was nice to my clients I mean I'm not saying I'm not nice but nice will kill you listen and you and you have empathy and I didn't know to confront or to show this to get I've never got their brain engaged and they caught me right because that's a deep addiction thing well and the defensive miss the oven of the of the addict and this is another great great creative technique that I remember that that helps me focus we get the clients to focus we as counselors it's imperative we focus there's so many defense mechanisms I use these two arrows to remind myself when working with the addictive population where to focus my energies because what I've been taught is the higher the defense mechanisms the deeper the pain and so we will really we have to filter out the barrage of Defense's and that's what being confident like you said you study addictions you realize oh that's a defense mechanism so am I gonna focus my energy there and if we just talk we may stay with that for awhile or we recognize that as somebody truly in pain and seeing it with the multi-sensory approach we go after the pain we go to heal the pain not just talk about the defense mechanism we talked earlier about one of the tool of the whole idea rearview mirror mmm-hmm any client that's trying to get in recovery but all they're doing is looking in the rearview mirror and saying things like why's the windshield yeah the windshield is what's the windshield this big and the rear-view mirror is that big and it gets clenched to think oh and it's not that your past doesn't have a purpose that goes back to validating because many people have shame when with addictions that's why they anesthetize so we validate whatever it is the experience in their past but then we get them to put it in perspective oh the windshields this big the rearview mirrors this big show us a couple more of those another thing that we do and and and we then we also we know that our clients go through this if they go through the 12-step process doing their mentors we see this is just a sand sifter okay using a sand box and I tell them whether it's a group or an individual where you're your dirt is welcome here we're gonna sift through your dirt it's welcome here again validating you know we're going to sift them because without the dirt nothing can grow so please bring your dirt here and that's what we'll do we'll through it yeah and that's so just knowing people again shame guilt remorse or resistance so we want to let people know that we're not going to judge we're gonna validate what they've experienced but then we're going to work on moving forward this is one that I also for psychoeducation because a lot of addictions is not therapy at psychoeducation I do a lot of trainings and school systems in higher education and communities and so you want to engage you want to have fun not everybody knows the consequence of addiction and I talked about the power this has over us whether we're addicted or not and so I appeal to the younger population saying this way so you can go out your party in one night you think that you're talking to her and you're picking her up and you think you took her home but you wake up next to her you see and that always that the crowd laughs they get engaged they relate but it just shows how alcohol when you're impaired you'll make different decisions so it's not just about everybody being addicted it's about that process into addiction well look let's close this out just by talking a little bit more because what we're trying to sell you on anybody that's watching is the idea of then it's okay to be creative yes and it makes the addictions work is for her and it's not I want to say it's not as rewarding it can be but but you have a lot of clients that don't well though one third of the people may use only one-third of the people so you you know you give everybody all you've got but you know going in only one-third are gonna make it for other factors that have nothing to do with us so we want to by giving them all we've got we want to offer them as many opportunities they have to heal to get well yeah free yourself up to be creative I mean into to get out of your seat use a whiteboard I think the small chair anybody they anybody they free leg house I have clients come back to me every week or group members and say I was in that chair all week long it's the most powerful thing the whiteboard in this world and it also an addictions counseling because the statistics are so low in how people get well it helps me I can say enjoy what it is I'm doing and I know you've had this and I'm Petty and they said this has almost helped me to not be a bird down yes and it's not that we're advocating a burnout workshop but that's no but that's what happens when you run out of things to do when you're ineffective and so this makes me more effective as a counselor and people get frustrated because of the addiction people they relapse or something and they take that person right and they feel well what's the point and that's what the can they get mad at the client and then they start yeah and sometimes there may be you they may don't maybe it up on the clients and so I know using a multi-sensory approach being creative having courage okay that Absa win-win for both the clients and the counselors yeah I'm gonna talk for just a second about this because it's it's it just got me thinking one of the analogies that I use is in the United States Friday night is high school football Saturday is college and Sunday is pros do you want to be a Sunday player some of you watching this maybe want to be a Sunday player then you have to be creative you have to be Theory driven hopefully you watch these YouTube clips on addiction you'll watch the other ones on impact therapy and for more information about impact therapy go to impact therapy calm you can also go to the honey you want to tell him how they get ahold of you my website is what's your echo dot org what's your echo org and that you can access me if you want additional trainings or if you have any other information ideas that we can offer to you you can send us an email let us know what your circumstances are and we'll be willing to help you through it or we're willing to come and present workshops where you and your agencies say that again what's your xxxx your echo o da word yes dot org all one word your echo morgue okay

Glenn Chapman


  1. As a recovering addict studying to work with other addicts beginning their recovery, I feel excited by what I've seen in this video. Brilliant techniques, and stuff that will really get into people's minds. It's given me lots to consider for my future career path, thank you so much!

  2. I really enjoyed watching this video. I am a graduate student and currently doing pre-practicum and I am not a person who likes to sit and just talk, I use analogies and props also to get the, thinking and they love it because I'm different. I think it really sets me apart from others who just sit for an hour or two. I came from education so I believe that recovery doesn't have to be boring and like you said, clients will remember the props more than they will a conversation. I too am a visual learner. Thanks for the video!👍🏽😃

  3. I'm an MFT and these videos really help me. Especially when you recommend the props because I am a visual leaner and it is a challenge for me to just sit and talk. Ed, I relate to the earlier you because I'm also nice to my clients because I'm afraid of them feeling like I'm judging them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *