Cooperative Communication for Mindful Self-Awareness

A range of factors contribute to the individual needs of every person on the path to recovering from addiction. Age, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds all come into play in determining how to best overcome a person’s unique challenges; in some cases, there are other psycho-social concerns involved. There are, however, a few points involved in addiction recovery treatment which are common to everyone struggling with their need for assistance. These reflect common underlying factors which frequently allow an addiction disorder to take root.

One of those aforementioned points is the strengthening of communication skills, a process which greatly improves an individual’s ability to express their needs. Another such point is the development of a more mindfully self-aware lifestyle, which assists in the understanding of what those needs are. Cooperative communication is a therapeutic model employed by West Coast Recovery Centers to meet both of these ends; it encourages personal growth and independence, while building a framework for a more internally satisfying view of reality.

Cooperative Communication for Personal Independence

Cooperative communication is a term originally coined in the 1990s. It describes an overall style of communication which encourages people to work together, or cooperatively, towards the achievement of their goals. The opposite approach, confrontational communication, is often misrepresented as having a basis in personal independence and individual capability. From a psychological standpoint, it is more likely to personify a closed perception of reality. This is the type of communication engaged in by people who might require help, but who are unable to bring themselves to ask for it for fear of appearing weak or inadequate.

As a treatment for addiction disorder, as well as for other behavioral disorders, cooperative communication involves a guided education in different styles of interpersonal communication. It teaches how and why each type of communication is effective, and provides instruction on when to use a given communication technique to the most substantial effect. Crucially, it illustrates the difference between empowering and disempowering communication: communication that is helpful and constructive, versus that which serves to isolate oneself, or to put people at odds with one another

Cooperative Communication for Addiction Recovery Therapy

The use of cooperative communication in addiction recovery treatment is a therapeutic approach to the development of valuable life skills. Studies show that it improves a person’s ability to express themselves, which leads to a reduction in stress in both their professional and personal lives. Demonstrably, it also serves to help bridge the gap between acknowledging the existence of a problem and being able to ask for help in overcoming it. 

As a form of behavioral treatment, cooperative communication therapy at WCRC happens in gender-conscious group sessions. Through cooperative methods, individuals are encouraged to set aside their own limiting beliefs and false belief systems. Clients develop their awareness of how their style of communication, including their communication with themselves, affects their ability to communicate effectively. Through the support and recognition of the group, individuals whose substance abuse is at least partly based on limiting beliefs are encouraged to set those beliefs aside, in favor of a healthier mental state based on a positive and constructive frame of mind. 

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