The recovery journey is full of potholes that can potentially trip up even the most determined person. This is why your commitment to recovery must also include a continuing care plan. In the months following residential treatment, continuing care actions, including ongoing outpatient therapy, can provide the support needed to reinforce recovery skills and succeed in recovery.
The role of psychotherapy in early recovery is significant. No one can accurately predict the challenges that may emerge as you proceed along on your recovery journey. Attending regular meetings with a therapist can provide an important source of support to help you manage any setbacks.
So, how do you find a therapist after treatment? Read on to learn about the importance of psychotherapy, plus some tips for finding the best therapist for you.
What is Therapy?
Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is a counseling format used to treat a diverse range of mental health issues, including substance use disorders (SUD). In talk therapy sessions, the therapist will use one or more therapeutic modalities that will help you identify underlying factors that may have been contributing to the SUD. Through the therapeutic process, you learn to modify thought and behavior patterns and acquire new coping skills.
Psychotherapy is available in individual, or one-on-one, settings, or in group settings. Both of these formats provide unique benefits. Individual therapy sessions allow you to dig deep into your personal history, family life, and any adverse life events to examine their possible roles in your SUD. Group therapy allows participants to share their stories and discuss recovery challenges they might be encountering, and learn from each other.
A high percentage of those with a SUD also have a co-occurring mental health issue. In treatment for the SUD, it is essential that both the SUD and the mental health disorder are addressed and treated simultaneously. Psychotherapy is a key treatment element for mental health issues, as well as the SUD.
Why Addiction Treatment Therapy Is Essential
Psychotherapy is the centerpiece of the treatment process. It is through therapy that you learn to make fundamental changes in your emotional and behavioral response to triggers. The therapist is charged with the job of helping you, in the earliest phases of recovery, to unwind the thought distortions and irrational beliefs that have kept you hostage to the cycle of substance use.
Therapists that specialize in substance use disorders are trained to identify their patients’ dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. As you share, the therapist will guide you toward self-examination. This allows you to gain better understanding about why these thought-behavior patterns are dysfunctional. The therapist will help you learn how to replace them with healthy, productive patterns using cognitive behavioral therapy. As the new, positive thought patterns are practiced, they become new habits that will serve as effective coping skills in recovery.
Once residential treatment is completed, the focus shifts to maintaining sobriety through utilizing continuing care actions. Regular outpatient therapy sessions, in both individual and in group formats, become a vital part of the continuing care plan, providing support and guidance on an ongoing basis.
How to Find a Therapist
The process of finding a good therapist often begins through word-of-mouth referrals. Your treatment center may have recommendations, as may your primary care doctor. You might also want to ask friends or loved ones for referrals. Insurance companies will provide a list of mental health providers that are in your coverage network, so that is also a good starting point.
As you comb through various therapists and begin interviewing them, you should consider these questions:
- What are their qualifications? The therapist should possess the necessary education and state licensing to be qualified for the role. Most will have a master’s degree, at minimum.
- Do they specialize in recovery? Finding a therapist who is trained in the field of addiction recovery is ideal. These therapists will have additional education and training in this field.
- Are they a good fit? To be a good fit, the therapist must exhibit empathy, good listening skills, a non-judgmental attitude, and case management skills. You should feel a good connection with the therapist during the initial interview.
Psychotherapy is an intrinsic component of your continuing care strategy. Take care to select a therapist you feel comfortable with, which is usually based on a gut feeling during the interviewing process. Ideally, over the first few sessions, you should feel a trusting bond forming with them. The therapist will become an important source of support along your recovery journey.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.