The process of rehabilitation from a substance use disorder includes several therapeutic methods, with individual therapy playing a central role. During treatment, these one-on-one talk therapy sessions provide the individual with an opportunity to make positive changes in their life. Read on to learn more about individual therapy and the evidence-based psychotherapies used in substance recovery treatment.
What is therapy?
Therapy refers to a counseling process that involves a series of meetings between a patient and a licensed mental health provider. Therapy may be of short-term or long-term duration, and may also involve group sessions. During therapy sessions, the therapist uses specific methods or techniques to guide the discussion, and may assign various exercises and “homework” to further assist the patient in reaching a set of defined goals.
What are the benefits of individual therapy?
Individual therapy is a private exchange between the therapist and the individual who is seeking to make changes in their life. In substance use treatment, individual therapy sessions are instrumental in helping a patient identify dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns that might be contributing to their addiction.
Individual therapy provides a safe and confidential space where the individual can discuss situations, past and present, that cause them emotional pain. The individual is able to work through the painful events and begin the healing process through ongoing therapy sessions.
Some of the goals of individual therapy might include:
- To increase self-esteem
- To learn new coping skills
- To improve relationships
- To learn the value of self-care
What types of individual therapy are used for addiction recovery?
There are several types of individual therapy that have been shown to be effective for substance use disorder rehabilitation. These are forms of psychotherapy that have been clinically studied and found to be effective, also known as “evidence-based.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is a highly effective behavioral therapy used not only to treat substance use disorders, but also a broad range of mental health disorders. CBT guides the individual in changing the way they think about and respond to the world around them. By shifting their thoughts from negative to positive, their behaviors also shift from self-destructive to productive.
Dialectical behavioral therapy: DBT focuses on four areas: emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. By developing these skills, the individual learns to better manage negative thought patterns and minimize self-criticism. The tools individuals learn in DBT can help someone in recovery make the necessary positive changes in their daily life.
Psychodynamic therapy. Based on Freud’s psychoanalysis theory, psychodynamic therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on examining past events, like childhood trauma, neglect or abuse. By revisiting these events, the individual can learn how they might have factored into their substance use disorder and unpack them to begin the healing process.
Contingency management: CM uses rewards to incentivize the individual in early recovery to remain committed to sobriety and avoid relapse. The rewards are often tied in with the individual’s regular substance screening results.
Motivational enhancement therapy: MET helps individuals in early recovery to overcome feelings of ambiguity or resistance related to their new life in sobriety. MET therapy is based on five treatment goals that look to develop and express empathy, identify disparate feelings about treatment, avoid arguments, accept resistance and acknowledge self-efficacy.
The therapist will choose the treatment methods they believe will be most effective for addressing the needs of each patient. Individual therapy is highly useful in helping someone in early recovery make the necessary changes to achieve long-term sobriety.
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.