Many people believe that addiction recovery is just about detoxing. However, the reality is that total recovery from alcohol or drugs is a long process that can take a lifetime and involve many different steps and therapies. Various types of counseling are used throughout the recovery process to help individuals overcome their cravings, avoid relapses, and remain clean throughout their lives. Individual therapy is one of the most common and essential parts of holistic addiction treatment.
Why Individual Therapy is Necessary in Addiction Recovery
Recovery from substance abuse is so much more than just the detoxing process, which only takes care of the physical recovery from drugs or alcohol. Therapy addresses the mental and emotional needs of an individual in recovery. Because drugs and alcohol are often used to self-medicate or to deal with difficult situations and emotions, there are usually a lot of unique emotions and thoughts to unpack after the substances are out of the person’s body. Therapy can help put those pieces back together, and help the individual address their challenges, allowing them to function successfully in life again.
Ongoing therapy is also necessary to help avoid relapses. There are so many social situations or psychological issues that can play a role in triggering a relapse. Individual therapy can address many of these triggers, including:
- Situational stressors. Stress from work, relationships, family, and other life situations can lead to a desire to self-medicate. Therapy helps find more constructive ways of dealing with stress.
- Environmental factors. Going back to situations where an individual used to drink or use drugs can trigger old thought patterns and behaviors. This can include going to the same neighborhood, restaurant, bar, or other location tied to addictive behaviors. Therapy helps an individual find coping mechanisms to deal with such situations.
- Social cues. It can be challenging to continue to see friends who also would drink or use drugs, especially if they continue to do so. There can also be pressure to join in again. Therapy helps the patient understand this and learn to have healthier relationships, as well as ways to approach tricky social situations.
What to Expect in Trauma Therapy
Trauma and PTSD therapy can be an outlet for those who haven’t verbalized their trauma in the past. It’s unsettling to discuss trauma for most individuals. However, it’s a necessary step for recovery in many cases. Therapy provides individuals in recovery with a safe environment to explore past traumatic experiences and to re-envision their role in the situation. This can provide the necessary healing to aid the recovery process.
Patients might talk about a traumatic experience such as:
● Witnessing a violent crime
● Being physically attacked
● Being a victim of sexual abuse or assault
● Military action
● First Responders
● Being involved in a natural disaster such as a flood, tornado, fire, or earthquake
Individual Vs. Group Therapies for Substance Abuse Recovery
Group therapy for addiction can provide peer support for individuals in recovery and allow clients to feel more connected to others and less alone. And, while we believe that group therapy is an integral part of any addiction recovery process, the foundation for success in recovery treatment is a personalized approach. At Illuminate Recovery, we provide both group and individual counseling for the most well-rounded, comprehensive treatment plan. The individualized therapies are customized to the needs of each client. This high level of personalized care provides the most successful outcomes for each of our clients.
What Happens in Individual Therapy for Addiction Recovery?
In any individual therapy session, a patient will meet with a therapist on a one-on-one basis. Often the same therapist sees the patient over a more extended period, sometimes for months or years. The patient and therapist can develop a rapport and understanding of each other so that the client feels more comfortable with the therapist.
Individual therapy allows the therapist and client to focus on the client’s unique set of emotions, thoughts, and history. This level of individual attention means that the client can get to the root of their issues much more quickly than in a group therapy setting, and the client and therapist can work together toward individual solutions and, ultimately, recovery from addiction. Additionally, individual sessions with a therapist can address certain issues or feelings that a client may not be comfortable sharing in a group setting, as well as cover more ground with one-on-one time.
Several different types of therapies may be used in individual sessions, but they often include psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In psychoanalysis, an individual’s personality is explored deeply, addressing their inner conflicts, personal defenses, phobias, and feelings. The therapist will ask guided questions to encourage the client to explore their thoughts and emotions in a safe and welcoming environment. Together, they work toward understanding the issues and finding positive solutions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In cognitive behavioral therapy, clients learn how to recognize their moods and thoughts that crop up during drug or alcohol cravings. It also involves identifying certain social situations and patterns that can lead to relapses. CBT therapists work at an individual level with each client to help them learn to avoid these destructive behaviors and thought patterns.
With this type of therapy, not only are troublesome thoughts and situations recognized and avoided, but clients learn how to replace these negative lines of thinking with more constructive and healthy ones. The healthier, positive thoughts and situations help the client remain clean and resist temptations.
CBT uses specific, proven techniques to help people get through difficult thoughts and emotions. Therapists trained in CBT can offer their patients powerful tools for lifelong success against addiction.
Personalized Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Recovery
In any addiction recovery situation, a variety of therapies should be used together for the most well-rounded treatment program. Group therapies promote positive relationship building and peer support that are so important in recovery. Clients also learn from others, learn to trust others, and practice valuable social skills in a safe setting.
However, it’s the individualized therapies that get at the root of an individual’s problems, helping them deal with their thoughts, emotions, and unique situations. Therapy that treats each person individually is personalized to the client’s needs. Every addiction and recovery story is different and can require different approaches. The client will have the best chance of full recovery when the treatment plan is customized to their needs.
Continuing Individual Therapy After Addiction Treatment
Addiction to alcohol and drugs can be a lifelong battle, with many difficulties. While the intensive therapies offered during and immediately after detoxing are critical, it’s also essential to go forward with a plan for continuing therapies. While everyone is different, and their treatment plans will differ, maintenance therapy is generally recommended for anyone in recovery.
Therapy for anyone after their initial addiction treatment can usually slow down gradually, perhaps having appointments less often, or using other therapies. But these therapies provide important check-ins for clients, allowing for assessments and adjustments that will be most beneficial.
Individual Therapy at Illuminate Recovery
Our experienced and compassionate team of therapists and other care providers at Illuminate Recovery offer caring, comprehensive care to every patient that we treat. We understand that each patient is unique, and our team can easily tailor our approach to fit the individual. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan that works for substance abuse recovery. Our clients are treated as individuals and receive high-quality care and treatment customized to their unique needs and goals. With this level of individualized care, our patients have the best chance at a life of health and sobriety.