After an individual has developed a psychological, behavioral or physical addiction to a substance, it is incredibly difficult to quit without professional guidance and support. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that requires participation in various types of therapy to successfully overcome.
Substance use disorders are as unique as a person’s fingerprint, with complex factors and variables involved in each individual’s case. Addiction recovery professionals use a broad range of therapies to address each individual’s distinct needs. This allows the therapist to create treatment plans tailored specifically to each patient’s recovery needs. Read on to learn more about the different types of therapy that are effective for substance use recovery.
What is therapy?
Therapy, also referred to as psychotherapy or talk therapy, involves counseling sessions between a licensed therapist and a patient. These sessions take place in a safe, confidential setting where the individual is free to discuss the details of their substance use history, personal life and psychological history.
Psychotherapy is perhaps the central treatment method used in addiction recovery, as it allows an individual to explore their underlying issues and begin healing. Additionally, therapy provides patients with new coping techniques and healthier thought patterns to improve quality of life and protect against relapse.
Which therapies are effective for addiction recovery?
Most addiction therapists do not limit themselves to just one therapeutic method, and draw on multiple different treatment practices to better meet each patient’s individual needs.
The most effective types of therapy for treating individuals with substance use disorder include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT focuses on both cognitive (thoughts) and behavioral (actions) elements. The therapist uses CBT to guide the individual toward modifying dysfunctional thought-behavior patterns that contribute to their substance use. Once these are identified, the individual is taught how to reshape negative thoughts into more positive, constructive thoughts and actions.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: MET is an approach that helps the individual overcome any lingering resistance to making behavioral changes necessary for their During an initial interview, the therapist may identify the sources of their apprehension and help the individual to embrace recovery and become internally motivated to change their life for the better.
- Dialectical behavior therapy: DBT is focused on shifting negative self-talk and self-criticism to self-acceptance, while also making improvements in four key areas. This is accomplished through practicing mindfulness, improving interpersonal effectiveness, learning to better regulate emotions and improving distress tolerance.
- Contingency management: CM is an incentive-based therapy that provides small rewards in exchange for continued sobriety. For example, receiving negative test results from a substance screening would result in a reward, such as a small gift. Rewards are used for behavioral conditioning and to help reinforce the individual’s resolve to remain sober.
- Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy helps the individual explore past traumatic events and any lingering subconscious thoughts related to them. Painful or traumatic past events can foster negative thoughts and emotions that contribute to substance use, so examining these and working through them is essential to sustaining sobriety.
There are many reasons as to why therapy is the fundamental cornerstone in substance use disorder treatment. Participating in therapy, including both as individuals and in groups, can help people make positive changes in their life. In turn, this fosters a new sober lifestyle and, ultimately, sustained recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.