Individual Therapy for Addiction Treatment

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Your Guide to Individual Therapy

Individual therapy, or psychotherapy, is one of the most effective treatments for substance use disorder. It is a type of therapy that focuses on the individual and their substance use and related problems. It can be customized to meet an individual’s needs. It is also practical because the therapist can create a trusting environment.

Individual Therapy

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a type of therapy that emphasizes personal interaction to resolve problems and improve one’s symptoms. It is one of the most effective forms of treatment for many individuals, especially those who have substance use disorder.

Psychotherapy can take many forms, including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Each type of psychotherapy has been proven to improve symptoms and to help individuals recover from substance use disorder more effectively than other forms of treatment.

Types of Psychotherapy

There are many different types of psychotherapy for substance use disorder. The number and type of therapy sessions depend on the severity of the client’s substance use disorder.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy grounded in cognitive theory, which looks at how thinking patterns lead to emotional responses and how emotions influence our ideas and behavior. Thinking patterns are often called schemas, which are thought patterns and assumptions that repeat over time. Cognitive behavioral therapists look at dysfunctional schemas and help their clients recognize when they occur to in order to replace the old thought patterns with new, healthier ones.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational enhancement therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to improve the function of patients affected by substance use disorders. It aims to enhance motivation on the part of the client and help them overcome any other aspects that are hindering their ability to recover, such as depression or anxiety. It also helps them find new ways of coping with these issues to work towards their goals.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is another type of psychotherapy used to treat people with substance use disorders. This often focuses on the relationship between the therapist and the client and their interactions. This form of treatment aims to allow clients to uncover unconscious thoughts and feelings that could be affecting their behavior and help them change these underlying beliefs.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is similar to psychodynamic therapy but instead focuses on changing the client’s interpersonal relationships. It also helps them recognize their emotions and how they respond to others. The goal is to help them develop healthier interpersonal relationships.

Humanistic Psychotherapy

Humanistic therapists believe that humans are all unique, which creates a need for individualized therapy. They ask clients how they want to be treated and what their treatment needs are to create a therapeutic relationship. Humanistic psychotherapy is a good treatment option for many people with substance use disorders because it focuses on the client’s needs and goals.

What Types of Issues Can an Individual Therapist Help With?

In addition to substance use disorder, many other mental health problems can be treated with the help of an individual therapist, including:
• Anxiety
• Bipolar disorder
• Depression
• Eating disorders
• Grief and loss issues
• History of childhood trauma
• Major life changes, such as a move, divorce, or death of a family member
• Mood disorders
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts

Psychotherapy is also a great tool for helping a client deal with a substance use disorder that is related to one or more other mental health conditions. The therapy sessions can be tailored to the individual and their needs.

Benefits of Psychotherapy

Benefit 1: Provide a Place to Talk About Personal Issues

Individuals with substance use disorder often feel ashamed and fearful when talking about their addiction. They may even deny that they have a problem at all. Psychotherapy can be a safe environment for clients to talk about the issues they are experiencing. In this setting, clients can explain how their addictions have affected their lives and how they feel about these effects.

Benefit 2: Encourage Self-Awareness

Many individuals with substance use disorder believe they do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. This often makes them think they can continue using under their own strength without any adverse effects. However, this is not true because substance use can cause problems and contribute to other health concerns. A psychotherapist can help clients recognize these issues and encourage them to seek out professional treatment early.

Benefit 3: Learn More Self-Control

Psychotherapy is also aimed at helping people learn self-control. The therapist and the client can work together to identify triggers, personal barriers, and the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Psychotherapy sessions can help clients recognize their strengths and allow them to see potential issues before they arise. This helps individuals learn ways to take control of their addictions instead of letting their addictions control them.

Benefit 4: Practice How to Communicate Effectively

Psychotherapy teaches the client how to communicate more effectively by providing a safe environment where the client can practice communication. The therapist will help them develop healthy ways of expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions to others. This is important for everyone in society because it helps everyone learn how to relate better with one another without creating tension in their relationships.

Benefit 5: Understand the Causes and Effects of Psychological Problems

Many clients with drug and alcohol problems often believe they can continue using because their pain will eventually disappear. However, this is not true because their addictions can create severe issues in their lives. The more a person uses drugs or alcohol, the more likely they will develop other disorders like anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. Psychotherapy helps clients understand the causes and effects of these problems to have an effective treatment plan in place before it is too late.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand that there’s a cause for their problems; all they know is that something is wrong with them and that they need help. Therapy sessions can help them discover why they behave or feel in a certain way to know what steps to take next to overcome those feelings or behavioral patterns.

How Does Psychotherapy Work?

The psychotherapy process may vary depending on the type of treatment that is being provided. In many instances, treatment will include an assessment and an interview with the client to set goals and discuss options. Mental health professionals will take a thorough history of the client’s life before therapy begins. The client may be asked to fill out a questionnaire or a journal-keeping record of how they have been feeling and what issues are causing problems. After this is completed, the therapist will discuss ways in which treatment might be helpful for the client.

In some cases, the psychotherapist will also evaluate the client with substance use disorder to determine how severe their addiction is and how it might affect the course of treatment. To understand the client’s addiction, they may ask the client questions to further their assessment. The parent or primary caregiver of an adolescent with a substance use disorder may be invited to work with the therapist and help assess symptoms in their child.

A psycho-educational interview may be conducted. The client learns about their problems and how they came to have them using behavioral therapy. They will also learn to cope with their substance use disorder by learning behavior management techniques.

What to Expect During Psychotherapy Sessions

Expect to Be Able to Open Up

While the content and goals of psychotherapy may be different for each client, there are many general similarities. Overall, the sessions will focus on the client’s issues in a safe and supportive manner. Communication between the therapist and the client is encouraged so that they can work collaboratively to create a treatment plan that will best fit their individual needs.

Expect to Learn New Things About Yourself

Clients who struggle with substance use disorder often feel ashamed of their addictions and want to hide them or deny them. Through therapy, clients may be able to open up about their struggles and learn healthier ways to react, manage stress, and cope with the emotions they feel.

Expect to Work on Guiding Your Behavior

Therapists will teach clients many life skills necessary for managing their behaviors and emotions. For example, they may teach techniques for coping with anxiety, insomnia, anger control, or depression. These techniques may be used alone or combined in various combinations to create a step-by-step treatment plan that is most effective for the client.

How to Find an Individual Therapist?

The best way to find an individual therapist is to ask your friends and family if they can recommend someone. It could be someone they know personally or a friend of a friend. Many people feel more comfortable going to therapy with someone for the first time if they know them or at least know of them first.

Another way is by looking on the internet for therapists who specialize in what you are going through. Many professionals specialize in treating almost every mental health concern that one might have.

If you need treatment, see your doctor, and they will help you find some therapists who might be able to help you. Many medical professionals have connections to individual therapists who they trust. You can also reach out to a local addiction treatment provider who can connect you with a therapist specializing in substance use disorder.

How Do You Know an Individual Therapist Is Right for You?

It is essential to be realistic and honest with yourself when finding the right therapist for you. What type of therapy do you want? What are your specific needs? If it’s someone who you feel comfortable talking to, someone who respects your beliefs and lifestyle, and someone who knows what they are doing, then you should seek them out. Whether it’s someone who’s been highly recommended by a friend or family member or an online search, get a recommendation from someone you trust.

There are many factors to consider when looking for an individual therapist. Your best bet is to go with a therapist who matches your preferences and will best help you overcome your problems.

How Long Does Psychotherapy Last?

Many people with substance use disorders struggle for an extended period, but some recover more quickly than others. This depends on how severe the problem is and how motivated the client is to work on their issues.

In some cases, clients may need more sessions than others to recover from their addiction problems and overcome their fears. With regular psychotherapy sessions, however, many clients are able to move past their problems.

Get Help Today

If you are dealing with a substance use disorder or have a loved one with addiction issues, seeking the right treatment can be the first step to a life free of drugs. Many treatment providers are available to provide the support, guidance, and skill building needed to get sober. If drug use has taken over your life, inpatient rehabilitation may be your best option. There, you can receive individual psychotherapy, as well as group therapy, to address your root causes of addiction. Outpatient treatment centers also offer similar services. Get the help you need and reach out to a local treatment provider today.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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