Individual Therapy for Addiction Treatment and Co-Occurring Disorders

individual therapy

While in treatment for substance dependence, it’s important for individuals to have access to the most helpful resources. Recovery is a process that is full of challenges. Those who are on the journey to recovery will face difficulties and obstacles. But, with the help of professionals who understand the process, individuals can find peace and victory as they move forward. 

One of the most helpful components of addiction treatment is therapy. Therapy is a resource from which people can benefit tremendously when going through addiction treatment. This resource can help to encourage people throughout the treatment process and prepare them for life outside of treatment. One important type of therapy for those who are overcoming substance dependence is individual therapy. 

What is Individual Therapy?

Therapy enables people to have a “safe space” where they can discuss their challenges. When a person is in an individual therapy session, he or she can speak one-on-one with a professional therapist. In this type of therapy, people can talk about their personal experiences with addiction and how it has impacted their lives. A therapist can work with those in therapy to identify the triggers and underlying causes of addiction. This will allow them to begin developing a plan to address those issues in a healthy way. 

Those who are in treatment for substance dependence may begin their journey with a medical detox program. This helps to end physical substance use and dependence. But, addiction affects people on different levels, including psychologically and emotionally. So, it’s important for people to have access to resources that offer healing and help to the other areas of a person’s life. This is where therapy comes in.

Also known as psychotherapy, Individual therapy seeks to help improve behavioral and emotional health. It works to help people to address their unique and specific needs throughout recovery. The goals of individual therapy include the following:

  • To improve individuals’ thought processes 
  • To encourage change in the lives of those in recovery
  • To provide support and guidance throughout recovery

If you are suffering from drug or alcohol use disorder, know that there is hope. A professional treatment program can help you find total freedom from substance dependence. Also, know that you do not have to face recovery alone. With help from the professionals at a treatment center like ours here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, you can get the support you need in order to overcome alcohol or drug misuse.

What Does Individual Therapy Involve?

As mentioned before, individual therapy involves sessions with the recovering individual and his or her therapist or counselor. The number of sessions per week will depend on the type of program the individual is in. However, it’s beneficial for people to meet with their therapists multiple times every week to talk about various matters, including:

  • Trigger identification
  • Relapse prevention skills
  • Past experiences (i.e. trauma)
  • Cognitive behaviors

It’s important to have an understanding of these components as you learn more about individual therapy. Knowing more about what to expect in treatment can help to make you more comfortable throughout your recovery process.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Individuals

Individual therapy helps to make people more aware of their thought processes. The way people think and feel affects the way they behave and react. For instance, if a person has negative thoughts about his or her life, the individual will likely feel unworthy of love or help. The person may not seek assistance or try to change. He or she might experience an immense amount of guilt or shame. People who are struggling with these thoughts may harm themselves or others. 

Thoughts are more powerful than many people believe them to be. That’s why individual therapy seeks to identify harmful and negative thought processes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, a component of individual therapy, works to do just that. 

This approach encourages individuals to identify and analyze harmful thought processes. Again, these negative cognitive patterns can be life-altering, impacting various areas of people’s lives. So, it’s important for those in recovery to be aware of any unhealthy patterns that exist. CBT also helps individuals to replace their negative thought processes with positive, healthy ones. This enables those in recovery to focus on moving forward and creating a healthier, addiction-free life for themselves. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) for Individuals

Another component of individual therapy is dialectical behavioral therapy. This type of therapy works to help people to regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and build and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. 

Stress is often a trigger for those who are dealing with addiction. People may turn to alcohol or drug use in response to this trigger. For example, a person may drink after a long day at work. Or, an individual may use heroin to escape from the effects of an argument with a spouse. Some people use drugs or alcohol in order to stop thinking about their financial problems. Needless to say, this is a harmful way to deal with stress.

Dialectical behavioral therapy helps people to develop healthier, non-addictive ways to address feelings of stress. For example, individuals may be encouraged to engage in physical activity in order to cope with the effects of stress. Or, they may be nudged toward speaking about their stress, working through the causes and effects of their stress.

Finally, DBT helps people to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others. Addiction can cause people to struggle in this area for various reasons. Sometimes, people who suffer from substance abuse become socially withdrawn, spending less time with friends in pursuit of the “next high.” In other cases, people may drift apart from spouses, children, or other family members. This can cause relationships to fall apart.

Individual therapy works to help people make amends and develop healthy relationships with others. This is even continued in group therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Individuals

Individual therapy also works to help people in the area of acceptance. Those who suffer from substance use disorder can’t control the disease they’re experiencing. They may behave in ways they cannot control and suffer from unhealthy patterns in their lives. It’s common for individuals to feel an overall loss of control, even when they take a step toward recovery. Therapy strives to restore a sense of control to those in recovery. But, sometimes, there will be things that individuals simply cannot change or govern. This is where acceptance comes in.

For instance, it’s impossible to change one’s past. Although many people certainly wish that this was a possibility, it simply cannot be done. This is often hard for people to accept, especially when the past is full of regretful events and things such as substance misuse. 

Mindfulness is an important element of recovery. It’s the act of thinking about the present rather than dwelling on the events of the past. It’s important to note that avoidance of one’s past is not what mindfulness intends to inspire. However, individuals who are working to recover from substance dependence can benefit from moving forward without taking their negative experiences with them. Learning from the past is one of the most important things individuals can do as they seek to change for the better. 

What Are the Benefits of Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy brings with it plenty of benefits. Some of them include the following:

  • Confidentiality: It can be difficult to speak about challenges in a large group of people. But, in individual therapy, those in recovery can freely speak with their therapists without fear or discomfort.
  • One-on-one conversations: While group therapy is absolutely beneficial, it can be helpful to work through challenges in a one-on-one setting. Individual therapy offers people the opportunity to speak with a professional therapist without having to share space or time with others in recovery.
  • Convenience: In many cases, since this type of therapy is for the individual, it can be done according to his or her schedule.
  • More opportunity for growth: Individual therapy allows for more time and opportunity for individual growth. Sometimes, feeling “lost in the crowd” can stunt an individual’s mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. But, people can flourish in these areas when they have the undivided attention of professionals who understand and care about their specific needs.
  • Individual pace: Since this type of therapy does not take place in a group setting, it can be set to a pace that will best benefit the individual. 

If you want to overcome substance dependence, individual therapy just may help you to do so. As you take the first step toward recovery, you’ll find that therapy approaches such as psychotherapy can offer you the guidance and support you need in order to leave addiction in your past.

Individual Therapy at Sana Lake Recovery Center

It’s not easy to reach out for help. Sometimes, shame, guilt, and even pride can hinder you. But, if you’re ready to walk away from a life of substance dependence and find true peace and freedom, now is the time. Take the first step on the road to recovery by contacting us today. Allow our team of medical professionals to help you end alcohol or drug misuse in your life, one day at a time!

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psychotherapy/about/pac-20384616

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/psychotherapy

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.