Addiction Treatment: Individual Psychotherapy

Individual Psychotherapy

Counseling is an integral part of drug and alcohol rehab programs. It focuses on bettering yourself by talking through mental health problems, which will help you lead a happier, more productive life. There are many counseling options to choose from, but individual psychotherapy is arguably the most intimate and personal. At Granite Mountain, we offer multiple types of individual therapy, as we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all addiction treatment. 

What Is Individual Psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy is a form of counseling in which a person sits down with a licensed mental health counselor or professional therapist to talk about their thoughts, feelings, moods, and behaviors. In rehab, therapy can be especially beneficial for people recovering from substance abuse. Unlike group therapy in which others can also contribute to the conversation, individual therapy is simply a one-on-one discussion in which you are the center of attention.

Individual psychotherapy seeks to find solutions to issues and modify thought patterns that are keeping you from reaching your potential and enjoying your life. People who are dealing with depression, grieving the death of a friend or loved one, or recovering from physical or sexual abuse may attend therapy sessions to heal and cope with their trauma.

Everything discussed in individual therapy is confidential, making each session a safe space to open up and be vulnerable. The only case where conversations may not be confidential is if there is a threat to your safety or that of others. In this situation, your therapist may be required to inform the local authorities of any concerns they have.

What Happens During Individual Psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy involves two people: you and your therapist. You are the topic of conversation, and all attention will be focused on you and your needs. Your first session will usually be an evaluation used to determine your therapy goals. With your therapist or counselor, you will also figure out how many sessions you will need and what type of therapy will be used. 

Following this, you and your therapist will most likely talk about past experiences that have affected you and see how this relates to your pattern of drug abuse. Each therapy session will most likely last 45 to 60 minutes. How many sessions you will have can depend on several factors, including insurance limitations, the severity of your symptoms, and how quickly or slowly you’ve made progress in therapy

During each therapy session, you must be completely honest with your counselor. Your success here depends on how willing you are to share your feelings and emotions. It’s also common during therapy to feel overwhelmed, upset and sad, so don’t be surprised if you start crying during a session. In these moments, your therapist will be able to comfort you and talk to you through your feelings.

As each therapy session progresses, your counselor may ask you to complete activities at home that will help with your skill-building. These practices will also build on what you’ve learned during each session and increase your confidence.

Types Of Individual Therapy

Although the basic practice of individual therapy involves a one-on-one session with a therapist, it actually is offered in several forms, each of which can be beneficial to your life during recovery. Some types of therapy will be better suited for certain conditions than others. Which one you embark on will depend on the recommendation of your clinician or licensed medical professional. 

Types of effective individual psychotherapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The belief behind cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is that negative thoughts lead to negative behaviors. CBT uses a goal-centered approach while focusing on specific issues that are troubling you in a set number of sessions. By helping patients transition into positive thinking, CBT-trained therapists can provide them with coping mechanisms that can help curb substance abuse. Depression, eating disorders and phobias are also known to improve with CBT.

CBT is a popular method of treatment in drug and alcohol rehab centers since negative thoughts often lead to substance abuse. It is a structured form of therapy, and it can also help patients identify certain issues quickly.

CBT may cause patients some discomfort since it forces them to confront deep-seated issues quickly. However, your therapist will minimize any distress you may experience, and the coping skills you develop will help you deal with this stress.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) 

The original goal of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was to treat borderline personality disorder, but this practice has evolved since its founding. DBT promotes balance by using the theory of dialectics, which involves discussing two different perspectives at once to create balanced opposites. The ultimate goal of DBT is to avoid black-and-white thinking; rather than an “either-or” philosophy, DBT advocates a “both-and” approach to thinking.

DBT has been known to treat intense negative emotions, as well as substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Holistic Therapy 

When traditional modes of therapy aren’t the best solution, holistic therapy can work wonders on patients recovering from addiction. Holistic therapy involves alternative forms of healing that focus on the mind, body, and spirit, rather than solely someone’s psychological issues. as an individual rather than simply being sick.

  • Yoga therapy: Yoga is a group of ancient Indian mental and physical practices that focus on flexibility and mindfulness. Yoga therapy takes things a step further by using movements, physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation practices to address a patient’s specific needs.
  • Wilderness therapy: Wilderness therapy offers a unique opportunity for patients to deal with their emotional and behavioral issues in the great outdoors. Counselors use adventure experiences to help people in recovery develop coping strategies and build self-esteem.
  • Tai chi: This Chinese martial art is practiced mainly for meditation, defense training, and health benefit, but it can also help patients deal with stress in addiction recovery.

Why Should I Enroll in Individual Psychotherapy?

The benefits of individual therapy are easy to see, but due to the stigmas and misconceptions attached to it (“Therapy is for crazy people,” “Talking about my problems won’t help me”), some people may be reluctant to try it. However, individual therapy can help people live happier, more fulfilled lives, and it can allow them an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings without judgment from friends or family. Over time, psychologists give you tools to help you deal with your substance abuse and approach life sober.

Once you have given up drugs and alcohol, your life isn’t going to immediately revert back to normal. Addiction does not only involve a physical dependence on substances. Rather, it is an all-encompassing illness that does long-term damage to your mind and body. Once you’ve completed a physical detox from drugs and alcohol, your mind can still be hooked on them. Without proper aftercare with individual therapy, you are more likely to go through the three stages of relapse and begin using again. 

Psychological and social triggers also can lead to relapse. These include hanging out with friends who use, dealing with stress, or visiting an old neighborhood where you began using. In the past, you may have used drugs to escape pain, grief or stress, these triggers can cause thoughts of self-doubt. Individual psychotherapy in rehab can help reverse these destructive thoughts.

If you are hesitant to try individual therapy, think of it as the beginning of a close partnership. Your counselor is someone you can trust, and this trust can lead to a deep and loving bond that can last years after you’ve recovered.

What are the Benefits of Individual Psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy can make a significant positive impact on your well being. Even people who don’t have an addiction go to therapy to work out problems that may stem from childhood trauma, grief or stress. After a few sessions, many patients find that their lives are improving. 

Individual psychotherapy will help you cope with your addiction in a healthy way. Negative life experiences and difficult situations have often led people down a path of substance abuse. Individual therapy can those in recovery with strategies that will help them move forward positively in life, without drugs and alcohol.

It is known to treat mental health problems like mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder) and personality disorders (schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder).

How Can Individual Psychotherapy Help with Dual Diagnosis?

Many people who suffer from addiction also deal with co-occurring mental illnesses like anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders. Since individual psychotherapy is designed to treat these conditions, it can be doubly helpful for addictions as well.

It can be difficult to deal with a dual diagnosis. Fortunately, our Granite Mountain therapists are trained in this area of addiction treatment, and they can apply individual therapy to you and your specific needs.

Get Individual Psychotherapy Today at Granite Mountain

Our staff of professional therapists and mental health counselors can help you find the most effective mode of therapy. To learn more about our individual psychotherapy program and drug rehab program in general, contact us online or call 877-338-6287.

References:

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy

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

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brainstorm/201712/why-wilderness-therapy-works

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy

 

Article Reviewed by Gregory Struve

Gregory StruveGreg received a Master’s in Counseling from the Adler Graduate School in 2006. He trained at one of the top trauma and anxiety treatment centers in the world until 2008, when he became a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. From 2011 to 2016 he directed a program that lead the field in terms of innovative treatment of anxiety and trauma. During that time he even made several appearances on A&E’s intervention.