Thursday, June 13, 2024

Interview With Abraham Kou

Author of A Quick Start Guide to Methadone Maintenance Counseling


Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?

I’m originally from Corona, CA and currently live in Philadelphia, PA.

If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?

I came out to Philadelphia for graduate school and never left. There is a huge demand for mental health services in the city, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed my time here. Philadelphia is a gem in that it’s one of the “smallest” big cities out there because of all its close-knit communities.

What made you decide to write and publish your first book?

I wrote my first book based on needs within the mental health community for a comprehensive and easy to read text on methadone maintenance. The current books available are either too dense or not supported by peer-reviewed sources. I felt a very deep pull to write something that could help at least one helping professional facing the same difficulties when first starting out with this treatment population.

How would you describe your books to first-time readers?

A Quick Start Guide to Methadone Maintenance Counseling (2018) is a short and easy-to-read manual written by practicing mental health professionals. This guide adopts a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework for understanding opioid use disorder and covers topics like the theory and phases of MMT, maternal opioid addiction, harm reduction, trauma and chemical dependency, motivational interviewing, working with clients’ loved ones, building sober social support and spirituality, nutrition and exercise, and useful resources for treating opioid dependency.

What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?

During the writing and publishing process, I learned that pre-launch marketing is tremendous in the overall performance of a book. It’s important to have many conversations and create buzz to help swing the book in the proper trajectory once it’s released.

If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?

I would let myself know to put more effort into pre-release marketing, given the importance of building a foundation into the early stages of selling a book.

How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?

For me, it’s not so much about the number of people, but the appropriate audience. This work is targeting budding mental health professionals in methadone counseling.

What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?

The largest challenge was coordinating and overseeing all the different parts that went into this book. Whether it came to art, editing, formatting, marketing, or ensuring that the content was solid, all of it required a lot of time and attention to detail.

What are your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

There was plenty of content available that was put out by methadone maintenance researchers. It is one of the most evidence-based treatments for managing Opioid Use Disorder, and it made the writing much easier for me. Coordinating all the different aspects of publishing was challenging, but manageable given the support that I had for both content and editing. As far as marketing, that is something I am still figuring out as a helping professional, as it’s not something that they really teach us in both training and school.

What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

My biggest weakness would be marketing. I think it takes a special eye and voice to ensure that the end product has a platform to reach the appropriate audiences.

When do you think you will write your next book?

Hmm, I’m not entirely sure. This book was written during a time period where I felt a burning desire to contribute to an area that hasn’t had a whole lot of writing specifically for mental health professionals.

Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher or a traditional publisher?

I’m a self-published author. I preferred to make sure that my work came from as close to the source as it could with as few influences that may have changed the spirit of the writing.

Andreas Michaelides

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