The Ins and Outs of Individual Addiction Therapy
Drug addiction is a chronic condition characterized by a patient’s inability to responsibly control their consumption of a substance. Over time, an addict’s mind and body become more and more dependent on their drug of choice to function normally. Consequently, people who suffer from addiction experience agonizing withdrawal symptoms when they miss a dose.
These symptoms make quitting a drug very challenging. On top of that, many addicts use drugs to cope with stress, trauma, and other serious problems. Most people cannot successfully overcome their addiction without addressing underlying emotional issues or developing the coping mechanisms and skills necessary to stay away from drugs.
Professional addiction treatment gives patients the tools that they need to tackle their emotional problems and break harmful habits, and individual therapy is a fundamental component of the best addiction treatment program. A drug problem will wreak havoc on your mind and body if you don’t do something about it right away. You deserve a happy life, so make sure that you check out this guide on individual addiction therapy to learn more about one of the most important aspects of the addiction treatment process.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Individual Therapy?
- 2 The Role of Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment
- 3 Approaches to Individual Therapy
- 4 How To Get the Most Out of Individual Therapy
- 5 Choosing an Addiction Treatment Program
- 6 Individual Therapy Will Help You Succeed
What is Individual Therapy?
In individual therapy, also called therapy, individual psychotherapy, psychosocial therapy, talk therapy, and counseling services is one type of psychotherapy. The patient attends one-hour talk sessions with a trained professional. During these sessions, the patient discusses their thoughts and feelings about their drug use and emotional struggles. Individual counseling may be short-term (focusing on immediate issues) or long-term (delving into more complex problems). Once the therapist understands the factors that contribute to the patient’s maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, they can help the patient develop the skills necessary to stay sober and help improve or control symptoms that influence an individual’s well-being.
The Role of Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment
Addressing Underlying Issues
Many addicts struggle with stress and co-occurring mental health conditions. While abusing drugs can temporarily alleviate some of the negative symptoms of these conditions, drugs often exacerbate mental disorders and reinforce destructive patterns of behavior. Individual therapy gives patients the opportunity to talk about their problems in a judgment-free environment while finding healthy ways to avoid triggers and minimize the negative effects of these complex underlying issues.
Learning Coping Skills
Individuals who struggle with addiction encounter triggers in everyday life. If an addict doesn’t know how to react to stressful situations in a healthy way, then they may use drugs as a coping mechanism. Each patient has unique problems, so addiction therapists analyze their patients’ triggers and provide every patient with a tailored combination of skills and exercises to soften the emotional impact of triggering events. When a patient learns how to cope with the factors that contribute to their habitual drug use, they will be less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to escape their problems.
Developing a Relapse Prevention Plan
A relapse can cause a patient to fall into old patterns of behavior. To make matters worse, using a drug after abstaining from it for a while greatly increases the risk of an overdose. The primary goal of drug addiction therapy is to prevent relapse, so your therapist will help you create a written relapse prevention plan to help you stay on track. Your relapse prevention plan should outline your triggers, goals, healthy habits, daily maintenance routines, emergency contacts, and accountability strategies, and other important information pertaining to your sobriety.
Approaches to Individual Therapy
Patients have a diverse range of needs and personalities. Because of this, mental health professionals have developed a variety of therapies over the years to help all kinds of patients overcome their unique problems. The following five psychotherapies are among the most common approaches in addiction treatment plans, and you will likely undergo a combination of these therapeutic approaches in your one-on-one sessions.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A person’s patterns of thought directly affect their behaviors. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and effective types of therapy. The goal of CBT is to transform the ways in which patients think about their problems so that they can make better choices for their long-term health and happiness. CBT is a very common treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems, so many therapists use this approach extensively when treating patients with co-occurring disorders.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Therapists primarily administer DBT to patients who have exhibited severe depression, suicidal thoughts, and other extreme mental health symptoms. DBT heavily emphasizes self-acceptance and provides patients with the tools that they need to practice healthy self-control. During DBT, patients develop distress tolerance skills and learn how to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.
Some patients need a lot of direction and positive encouragement to build the necessary willpower to achieve their goals. In a typical motivational interviewing session, the therapist points out the patient’s negative thoughts and behaviors and actively encourages the patient to do something about these problems. Once the patient is willing to address a particular thought or behavior, the therapist will help them develop a detailed plan to deal with it. Most patients who undergo motivational interviewing feel a greater sense of self-efficacy and want to take a more active role in their treatment after a few sessions.
After months or years of substance abuse, many individuals who struggle with addiction lose any sense of meaning in their life. Without a sense of purpose, an addict is more likely to fall back on bad habits. One of the main purposes of psychodynamic therapy is to help patients find reasons to succeed in life so that they can develop positive long-term goals to work toward.
While many therapeutic approaches emphasize the past and future, humanistic therapy primarily focuses on the present. In a humanistic therapy session, the therapist seeks to help the patient explore their thoughts and feelings freely, and the patient directs the course of the conversation. Judgment-free listening, empathetic understanding, and a sense of equality are extremely important in humanistic therapy, so it is a great approach for patients who struggle with low self-esteem.
How To Get the Most Out of Individual Therapy
Don’t Be Afraid of the First Session
Talking about your problems with a stranger can be a little intimidating, but you shouldn’t be too tense or withdrawn around your therapist. After some time, you will develop a rapport with your therapist, and you’ll feel comfortable expressing yourself to them. You might be afraid that your therapist will want to address certain topics too quickly, but they only want to discuss your problems when you’re ready. A good therapist will never violate your boundaries or force you to do anything.
Prepare for the Session
Between sessions, you should keep a log of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This information will give your therapist a deeper understanding of your situation, and they’ll be able to more effectively address the sources of certain problems in your life. You should also note any questions or topics of discussion that you want to broach ahead of time in order to get the most out of your therapy sessions.
Patients occasionally withhold information from their therapist because they don’t want to disappoint them. This is extremely counterproductive behavior. If you’ve relapsed or made a mistake, then failing to disclose this information to your therapist will only set your progress back. Your therapist simply wants to help you overcome your addiction and become a healthier person. They are not going to scold or punish you for making a mistake. Instead, they will analyze the circumstances surrounding your harmful behavior and help you find ways to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Believe in Yourself
After struggling with addiction for so long, you might believe that you just don’t have what it takes to achieve long-term sobriety. This mindset is incredibly damaging, and such negative thinking will likely push you toward a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your thoughts and beliefs significantly impact your ability to succeed at any task, so in order to stay away from drugs and alcohol forever, you really need to believe that you can succeed. Ask your therapist for strategies to overcome self-doubt if you constantly struggle with self-defeating thoughts.
Apply Lessons From Therapy to the Real World
Therapy isn’t some magic solution to your problems, and simply showing up to your therapy sessions won’t make your addiction disappear. Therapy will give you the tools to resist temptation and cope with negative emotions, but it’s up to you to use these tools. With that in mind, you should constantly think about the lessons that you’ve discussed in your sessions and use healthy coping mechanisms in real life to get the most out of your therapy. Some coping strategies can be difficult to wrap your head around, so don’t be afraid to tell your therapist if you’re struggling to use the skills that you’ve cultivated in your sessions. Your therapist will gladly present you with alternative strategies and help you practice coping skills to help you prepare for real-world situations.
Find the Right Therapist
Sometimes, a patient and their therapist just don’t click. This is perfectly fine. A lack of chemistry doesn’t indicate that there’s anything wrong with you or your therapist; it just means that your personalities don’t align. If you find yourself in this situation, then you should gently broach the subject with your therapist as soon as possible. Your therapist will not take it personally. Instead, they will do what they can to address your misgivings, and if you’re still not satisfied with your therapist, then they will connect you with a therapist whose skills, style, and traits better align with your needs.
Choosing an Addiction Treatment Program
For most patients, individual therapy isn’t sufficient on its own. The majority of patients can benefit greatly from an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program that incorporates individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapies. The following sections detail some of the most important factors to consider when choosing an addiction treatment program.
The Extent of Your Addiction
How long have you been using drugs? Do you take high doses to get your fix? While individual therapy is great for patients who have already abstained for drugs for some time, patients who currently struggle with severe drug use should consider more intensive treatment options. Trying to quit drugs without the proper support or medical facilities can be extremely dangerous. Thus, if you suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms when you miss a dose, then you need to contact a reputable detox facility right away.
A Therapist’s Opinion
Addiction therapists have helped countless patients achieve sobriety. Most therapists have worked with patients in almost every kind of situation, so they can use their knowledge and experience to help you choose a suitable treatment program. To get the best recommendation, make sure that you tell your therapist about your past experiences and current struggles with drug addiction.
Your Home Life
The stability of your living situation can have a major impact on your success as a recovering addict. In some situations, couples or family therapy may be more appropriate in order to address relational challenges with all parties involved. If your family members, neighbors, or roommates encourage you to use drugs or foster a negative environment, then you will have a difficult time staying sober. Addiction recovery centers are drug-free environments, and many programs connect patients with sober housing options to facilitate their long-term sobriety. With that in mind, you should seriously consider enrolling in an inpatient program if you don’t currently live in a supportive environment.
Individual Therapy Will Help You Succeed
Individual therapy is the cornerstone of any addiction treatment program. Without effective therapy, you may have trouble abstaining from drugs when you inevitably run into challenges and temptations in the real world. Drugs make every aspect of your life worse, so if you’re ready to finally overcome your addiction and regain control over your life, then you should call Miracles Recovery Network as soon as possible to find out more about individual therapy in your area.