There is a common misconception that once someone stops abusing a substance, their recovery is over. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and often the journey to sobriety is just beginning.
Detoxification is the first of many steps on the road to recovery. It is crucial to get connected with a trained individual substance abuse counselor as soon as possible to enhance the chances of a lasting recovery. Recovery is truly a life-long process, and one of the most useful steps someone can take is committing to a professionally supervised therapy program.
The Important Aspects of Individual Counseling During Recovery
Most modern therapies can be executed in individual or group settings. However, a holistic approach to addiction recovery should encompass both individual and group options. The social and accountability aspects of group therapy are absolutely essential to a healthy recovery, but the importance of individual therapy and the therapeutic relationship cannot be overstated. Statistics show that a patient who trusts and confides in his or her therapist is significantly more likely to achieve sobriety and avoid relapse. This relationship provides the person with someone who:
- Is able to provide a personalized plan for recovery
- Will provide an unbiased listening ear and a judgment-free zone
- Is willing to provide the flexibility of treatment moving at the pace of the patient
In addition, individual therapy provides the confidential space necessary to express some of the hurt and pain behind the addiction. Individual therapy options also provide more one-on-one time with a licensed counselor who has your back and is providing a personal path to recovery.
What Might Individual Therapy Consist of?
Individual therapy can prove especially helpful when a patient is dealing with two or more co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse and depression. This allows for a personalized approach to whatever various disorders someone is suffering from. In general, individual therapy provides a private, confidential, relational, and professional treatment option. Specifically, though, a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) may use various proven therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Contingency Management Therapy, or Motivational Interviewing. Because addiction or mental health concerns can be so destructive on family units, couples or family therapy options can also be extremely effective.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches patients how to recognize changes in moods, thought patterns, or environments that may instigate harmful behavior or drug use. A trained therapist will use CBT to help you identify and avoid these triggers. You will, in turn, learn to replace these harmful patterns with healthy ones that can aid you on the road to recovery. CBT is one of the most widely used and effective methods of treatment for a variety of disorders, including addiction and depression. The techniques learned can be beneficial for a lifetime and can help avoid relapse or patterns of destructive behaviors.
- Contingency Management Therapy- Contingency management is a behavioral therapy that uses rewards and incentives to aid in the recovery from drugs or alcohol. To encourage sobriety and healthy behavioral patterns, patients receive rewards for achieving goals or adhering to lifestyle changes. Examples of positive goals include days or weeks of sobriety, clean drug tests, repaired relationships, and the like. Contingency Management Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for many disorders, especially those involving drug or alcohol addiction. This can be especially useful for patients who may be unable to take normally prescribed medications or detox drugs. However, it can also prove very successful when used in conjunction with prescription treatment.
- Motivational Interviewing- In this method, known also as simply MI, a therapist will try and “motivate” a patient to abstain from drugs or alcohol or to make positive behavioral changes. Often MI will focus on the love of family and friends and the relational benefits of sobriety or behavioral change.
- Couples or Family Therapy- In addition to affecting your life, your whole family will feel the effects of addiction or mental health struggles. Successful treatment requires support from family and friends and a commitment to end destructive behavior. Often, motivational interviewing tactics can be used to convince a patient that their behavior is harmful to others as well as themselves. Studies show couples or family therapy options can lead to lower rates of relapse, increased family bonds, and increased relational resiliency.
Individual Therapy Vs Group Therapy
Often individuals will see the best results with a combination of both individual and group therapy. There are, however, different circumstances where one or the other might be preferred.
While basically any type of therapy is better than no therapy, group therapy often proves the most effective for substance use treatment. In group therapy, a patient is more likely to be challenged (although this can be difficult) and held accountable for behaviors.
Studies show the positive power of peer pressure can be an overwhelming encouragement in recovery. Individual therapies have proven more successful with mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. This setting allows a patient the confidentiality and safety that a group setting might not.
In addition to traditional group therapy, twelve-step programs such as Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous are proven peer support groups. While they can be an extremely useful part of a recovery regimen, they are often led by former addicts and not trained counselors, and thus are not the same as traditional group therapy.
As noted above, individual therapy can be especially potent when a patient suffers from co-occurring conditions.
Successful Use of Individual Therapy for Co-occurring Disorders
In the past, treatment for addiction would often be separated from treatment for mental health disorders. Care would be delivered in separate facilities by uniquely trained therapists specializing in addiction OR mental health.
As a result, many people who suffered from both addiction and a mental health disorder such as depression or schizophrenia would only receive treatment for one but not both. Conversely, many addicts would successfully receive treatment for their addiction but not the underlying mental health based causes.
Thankfully, that mindset is a thing of the past and most treatment centers view co-occurring disorders as a unique field with unique treatment. Statistics show that the majority of addicts are also dealing with some kind of underlying mental health disorder. Specialized treatment in co-occurring conditions may be the only thing keeping these patients from homelessness, relapse or collapse.
Treatment for co-occurring disorders may is often most successful in an individual setting. Here, trained professionals can address both the addictive or destructive behaviors and the underlying mental health concerns.
Therapeutic Options that Focus on Individual Counseling
Most if not all common treatment options feature some form of individual therapy. While the modality may differ, the staff at Behavioral Health Centers is committed to using individual therapy in whatever treatment context you may find yourself. The benefits are too overwhelming to be ignored. Some of the treatment options in which you will encounter individual therapy are as follows:
Residential treatment programs
Residential treatment programs provide structured, on-site support as you proceed through rehab. Patients often find it easier to proceed through the rigors of treatment or detox away from the stress of their everyday home or work life. In the residential treatment environment, individual therapy options would generally be used for 3-5 hours a day for 4-5 days a week.
Outpatient treatment options
Many rehab facilities, including Behavioral Health Centers, provide outpatient options that offer clients the flexibility of off-campus living while maintaining the relative structure of residential treatment. Outpatient options are reserved for clients who do not require the 24-hour care present with a residential option. Outpatient options may also be more appropriate for younger patients, parents of young children, or people with work commitments. Individual therapy will often be used in this setting 1-3 times a week for 1-3 hours a day.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a comprehensive behavioral health care program for people battling with drugs or alcohol abuse and often co-occurring medical or mental health problems. IOP allows the patient to only have to visit our facility several days a week for a few hours at a time. Intensive outpatient programs do require more time than a common outpatient program.
Unlike an inpatient treatment program, it does not require the patient to have to stay at our facility 24-hours per day. Behavioral Health Centers proudly offer intensive outpatient programs included within the several different options for what is considered to be outpatient treatment. This type of program can be in lieu of an inpatient treatment program for addiction or co-occurring disorders.
More and more, mental health and addiction counselors have come to appreciate the role of alternative therapies in treatment for addiction or other disorders. Acupuncture, hypnotherapy, massage, equine-assisted therapy, and even yoga are all great options that will be overseen by a trained individual therapist.
Experience the Behavioral Health Difference Today!
Are you or someone you love ready to embark on your journey to recovery? Let our trained and licensed mental health counselors help you. Our extensive track record with individual substance abuse counseling is second to none, and we are ready to invite you into the family. Don’t let stigma or fear of failure keep you from changing your life. Contact us today!