Overcoming addiction involves much more than merely quitting drugs and alcohol. Due to all sorts of underlying issues, people turn to substance abuse. One of the goals of psychotherapy in addiction treatment is getting to the deep-seated issues that consequently contribute to the problem. Above all, the aim of therapy is to improve clients’ mental health. Individual therapy is the primary form of psychotherapy.
What’s Behind Addiction?
Drug and alcohol abuse affects people of all ages, races, and occupations, but how does it start? Sometimes, a mental health disorder feeds into it due to someone attempting self-medication to cope with anxiety or depression. In contrast, others become dependent on prescription pills and get to a point where they can’t function without their drug of choice.
As their dependency on addictive substances grows, they withdraw from family, friends, and even activities they used to love.
Psychotherapy for addiction helps people recognize the underlying factors that contribute to abuse. Moreover, people that use psychotherapy can learn how to move past trauma and practice better ways of dealing with stress and anxiety as part of the healing process. Because individual therapy focuses on just you and your specific issues, it is the best form of psychotherapy for discovering these underlying factors.
The goal of therapy is to address and resolve issues in order to improve a client’s mental health and well-being. Therefore, all forms of psychotherapy, in particular individual therapy, may be a part of the trauma-informed care that rehab facilities offer.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Simply put, psychotherapy — also known as talk therapy — allows clients to work through various problems that are creating difficulties in their life. They meet with a trained counselor, either in individual therapy or in a group setting.
The types of professionals that conduct psychotherapy sessions include psychiatrists, addiction specialists, and psychologists. Most sessions last anywhere from half an hour to about 50 minutes. In addition, psychotherapy involves more than one type of therapy, and it’s up to the counselor to decide which is most appropriate for each client’s needs.
For example, the types of therapy you may participate in as part of addiction treatment, which all fall under the psychotherapy umbrella, include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Your psychotherapy program may involve one or more of these.
What is Individual Therapy?
Individual therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is done one-on-one between you and a therapist. You can use individual therapy to help you overcome addiction. You can also use it to help you manage a mental illness, overcome trauma or personal issues, increase self-esteem, learn new life skills, manage the daily trials of life, and improve on yourself. Because individual therapy is right under the umbrella of psychotherapy, most of the major forms of psychotherapy are also forms of individual therapy.
Types of Individual Therapy
There are multiple different types of individual therapy that you can use. Some of the top forms of individual therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy. Other types of individual therapy include interpersonal therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, psychodynamic therapy, humanistic therapy, and holistic therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is individual therapy that helps you change your negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions into positive ones. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help you improve your mental health and overall quality of life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is arguably the most popular form of individual therapy. The philosophy behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that healthy and positive thoughts breed healthy and positive patterns of behavior. Therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy to treat everything from mental illness and addiction to eating disorders and severe mental illnesses.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. DBT focuses on regulating your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that you can cope with and accept pain. Mindfulness is an important regulating practice within dialectical behavior therapy. Therapists often use this mode of therapy to treat addiction, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and other severe mental illnesses.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a time-limited and evidence-based form of individual therapy. Therapists use interpersonal therapy to treat mood disorders and improve the interpersonal relationships that clients have with one another.
During interpersonal therapy, your therapist will first address conflicts that you have within your relationships. After this, your interpersonal therapist will help you manage any unresolved grief that you have. In the third phase of interpersonal therapy, your therapist will help you with life’s transitions. In the fourth phase of interpersonal therapy, your therapist will help you resolve any new interpersonal disputes with family and friends due to conflicting expectations.
Interpersonal therapy was originally created to help treat major depressive disorder. Now you can use it to also help treat mood disorders like bipolar disorder. You can even use it to help treat drug and alcohol addiction, depression, eating disorders, and dysthymia.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of individual therapy that uses mindfulness skills to help people recognize and address their challenges and past trauma while controlling their emotions. The goal of acceptance and commitment therapy is to have people accept their past, present, and future struggles so they can be free to do things that align with their personal values and improve their lives.
This mode of therapy is unlike cognitive behavioral therapy in that the aim of cognitive behavioral therapy is to change your negative traits. Acceptance and commitment therapy, on the other hand, wants you to accept your struggles and flaws rather than change them.
ACT is beneficial for people in addiction treatment. This is because ACT allows people to accept and move on from the past mistakes that they made due to their addiction. Thus, addicts can just focus on starting new healthy patterns of behavior that will lead them to establish long-term sobriety.
Psychoanalysis is the form of individual therapy that analyzes a person’s unconscious thoughts and behaviors. In fact, psychoanalysis analyzes unconscious thoughts and behaviors as much, if not more, as their conscious thoughts and behaviors. The goal of psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious.
The stereotypical image of a person lying down on the couch talking to a therapist comes from psychoanalysis. This mode of therapy originated from the psychological theories and therapeutic methods of Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis is beneficial to addiction treatment because it helps addicts realize what the underlying reasons are for their addictions.
Humanist therapy is a form of individual therapy that focuses on helping people make rational choices that will help them reach their potential. Examples of humanistic therapy include client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy.
Rather than acting as an authority figure, the therapist helps the client make changes in his or her life to reach maximum potential by expressing concern, care, and interest. Essentially, client-centered therapy allows clients to work through their own issues with the emotional support of the therapist.
Gestalt therapy focuses on having the client be aware of the present and taking responsibility for his or her actions. Existential therapy emphasizes the client’s free will, sense of self-determination, and search for meaning in life.
In holistic forms of individual therapy, original practices are used to help treat the client’s issues or past traumas. For example, practicing art and music can be used as a holistic therapeutic tool to help treat clients.
Benefits of Individual Therapy
There are countless benefits to individual therapy. One of these is that it helps you gain a better sense of yourself. This is because you’re not spending time focusing on other people and their issues like you do on group therapy.
Individual therapy is a deep dive into you. Thus, you will learn about your life, your patterns of behavior, and your struggles with just you and a therapist. Through this deep dive into yourself, individual therapy will help you learn why you do the things you do. It will also help you learn who you are as a person, and what in life is meaningful to you.
Having a therapist to bounce thoughts off on in individual therapy will help you gain an outside perspective about yourself. This, in the long run, will help you become more aware of how others perceive you.
Understanding the Reasons Behind Your Actions
Individual therapy will help you understand the underlying reasons for why you do what you do. Discovering the underlying reasons for why you do what you do is especially helpful in addiction treatment. This is because it will help you get to the root of your issues. By getting to the root of your addiction issues, you will more likely be able to come up with a treatment plan that will lead you to sobriety.
Learning Healthy Coping Skills
Your therapist will also provide you with coping skills throughout individual therapy. If you struggle with dealing with life’s stresses or with past trauma or mental illness, the best thing you can do is learn ways to healthily cope with those issues. That way, you can function in life at a high level, regardless of your stress level, past trauma, or mental illness. When it comes to addiction treatment, individual therapy will help you learn how to cope with detox symptoms or cravings.
Examples of individual therapy that use mindfulness techniques include dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance-commitment therapy. These are great examples of forms of individual therapy that will teach you how to cope with life or addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also another good example of a form of individual therapy that encourages the use of coping mechanisms. CBT helps you regulate and manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Individual therapy is a beneficial tool that will help you identify and create boundaries in your social relationships. It can teach you about yourself in a way that will help you identify the boundaries that you need from others. Identifying boundaries for yourself with others is essential when you are looking to become sober after addiction.
After you identify boundaries in your life, you will have to communicate those boundaries with the people in your life. Individual therapy can help you with that also.
By constantly communicating your thoughts and feelings to a counselor in individual therapy, you will gain better communication skills. These improved skills will help you grow in your levels of emotional intelligence and empathy. Better communication will also improve your ability to be assertive and confident. Furthermore, gaining better communication skills will help you become a better and more respectful listener.
Effectively Navigating Life Changes
One of the final benefits of individual therapy that we will discuss is the ability to help you go through a stressful lifestyle change. For example, becoming sober after addiction can be very overwhelming. This is especially true since doing so will cause you to have to change your social circle and scene on top of the way that you cope with life.
Without the assistance of individual therapy, going through such a major lifestyle change can become so overwhelming that you cannot successfully complete it. Not having the assistance of individual therapy during such a lifestyle change can even cause you to develop other mental illnesses and toxic behaviors that you didn’t have before.
At the end of the day, coping with life, addiction, and mental illness is stressful. Therefore, if you can help make doing so easier on yourself by participating in individual therapy, do it.
Individual Therapy for Addiction Treatment: How It Works
First of all, for anyone in individual therapy, you’ll get more out of it when you’re actively engaged in the process. Furthermore, there should be a good deal of trust between you and your therapist to build a strong working relationship.
Remember, you’re working with your therapist in a collaborative effort in individual therapy for addiction treatment. Hence, be as honest and open as you can. Also, whenever you have assignments, be sure to do them or practice what the counselor advises.
You can also continue individual therapy after your rehab ends. While therapy can be short-term, some clients find it beneficial for longer periods of time. Certainly, if you’re wrestling with serious issues or trauma, long-term therapy can be incredibly helpful.
Compassionate and Innovative Addiction Treatment
Phoenix Rising is an addiction treatment facility in beautiful Palm Springs, California. We help our residents rise from the ashes of substance abuse and defeat addiction as they renew their bodies and minds. With us, you can gain helpful insight into your addiction as well as learn to incorporate mindfulness as a coping strategy.
The services we offer include:
Addiction has controlled your life for long enough. Isn’t it time you finally took your life back from this devastating problem? Let the caring team at Phoenix Rising help you experience lasting renewal. Contact us today to find out more.