Critical Thinking for Addiction Professionals

By Michael J. Taleff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Characteristics of the
Critical Thinking
Professional

We now need to define critical thinking beyond what was stated in Chapter 1. We will then outline the qualities of a first-rate critical thinker. Once these are established, we can move on to more ways you can apply this material to the addiction field.

Recall that our major focus is to encourage addiction professionals to instill elements of critical thinking into their daily work. Doing that, they will be able to detect and avoid many illogical thinking ruts that cause problems in treatment and programs. Such skills will also help prevent them from falling blindly into fallacies promoted by other professionals and literature.

Yet, old beliefs that have been ingrained in people over the years require many new learning experiences before they can be replaced (Halpern, 1998). The reward in addiction counseling is the ability to give clients the best distortion-free therapy possible. Clarity of thought, combined with an empathic stance, can make for a highly competent counselor and a smoothly running program.

It is time to balance the more traditional addiction counseling strategies with well-formed thought. For years the focus of many addiction approaches has been on the emotional, that is, “getting things out,” or venting feelings. Critical thinking does not oppose the emotional element of therapy. Far from it. But now it is time to integrate all the functions of human capacity into a cohesive whole. That includes the thinking part of us. For too long, thinking and its

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