Individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy during which a trained professional helps a single individual work through personal problems they’ve been struggling with. It’s an effective treatment for a wide range of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Individual therapy is also known as talk therapy, and it can help control or make symptoms that affect a person’s well-being better.
Counseling is the backbone of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment for many. Likewise, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy can help you stay abstinent. In addition, psychotherapy can treat other mental health conditions that frequently play a part in substance abuse.
How Does Individual Drug Counseling Work?
Counseling sessions give people the opportunity to talk through problems or situations confidentially with a trained professional. It won’t make your problems disappear, but it will give you the tools necessary to cope with them more effectively. Individual therapy may be used in combination with other types of mental and behavioral health treatment, such as family therapy and SUD counseling. Individual therapy involves the person discussing their:
Individual counseling aims to pinpoint potential problems and make the person feel better and less confused internally. This type of counseling can help a person think seriously about their inner self so that they know who they are and what their purpose is in everyday life. It’s important to have a realistic view of oneself.
An example would be if a person has negative thoughts about themself and believes that they are useless and unimportant in everyday life or has a sense of low self-esteem. Then, individual counseling can help them by bringing them out of that negative example. They can then invest in talking about:
- Their involvement with others
- Their values
- Their potential
Why You Need Individual Therapy for Addiction
A substance use disorder is much more than a physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. Even after detox, when you’re no longer physically dependent, you’re at high risk for relapse. Some psychological and social influences can be compelling triggers that can cause relapse, such as:
- Stress (especially sudden life stresses)
- Prompts in the environment (visiting a certain neighborhood)
- Social networks (spending time with friends who still use)
All of these things can trigger a strong urge to use again. Counseling can help you escape these cravings and learn to manage the difficulties of life without drugs or alcohol.
Most recovery programs highlight two important treatment areas:
- Detoxification therapy and treatment
- Individual counseling
The important function that psychotherapy plays in recovery should not be a surprise. Although detox and medications (such as methadone in heroin addiction cases) focus on real dependencies, it’s often not enough to protect the individual from relapse. The psychological element of addiction should be concentrated on through individual therapy.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that since the 2008 survey, 40 to 60% of addicts have relapsed. Due to this high relapse rate, individual therapy for recovery is not a remedy but a task to rebuild the person’s life to prevent relapse and calmly build a future.
In addition to helping to prevent relapse, sessions of individual therapy can provide these six types of benefits:
- Growing your support network
- Help you gain a better understanding of yourself
- Learn how to handle your emotions
- Learn to identify underlying causes of symptoms
- Provides coping strategies
- Helps you manage your symptoms
Group vs. Individual Therapy for Addiction
When you take part in treatment for SUD, addiction therapy may take place in several formats.
- Group and individual therapy are two pillars of addiction treatment. Although these two methods of treatment have a similar goal of helping you overcome substance abuse, they offer unique therapy experiences meant to meet the wide range of concerns linked to substance use.
- Therapists and other substance use treatment specialists know that every person needs individualized attention and care. Programs often offer a combination of individual and group therapy to help you overcome addiction. Although both approaches have specific features, they also have common characteristics. For instance, they often have similar objectives such as:
- Recovery and life skills training
- Motivational interventions
- Education about addiction and coping skills
- Relationship skills building
- Education on reconnecting with family or significant others
- Mindfulness training
- Long-term recovery skills training
- Case management services
Individual and group therapy can help you achieve your goals in recovery. Your individual needs will decide which format may be of greater benefit to you at any given time. An assessment by a treatment professional can help you decide what to include in your treatment plan.
The main difference between group and individual therapy is who receives the services. While group therapy helps several people at one time, individual therapy can allow you to concentrate on your own recovery.
The evaluation process at the beginning of your treatment can help you, and your counselor discovers the exact nature of your distress. If you’ve never had a mental health evaluation, you may be diagnosed with a SUD or a co-occurring disorder that can make a difference in the treatment planning. When you can identify full the challenges, you’re facing and the goals you wish to achieve, you can work with your therapist to develop your own addiction treatment plan.
Early in your recovery, the chance to work with a treatment provider on a one-to-one basis can bring several benefits, including:
- Enables focus on your personal recovery path
- Helps you find and maintain your motivation for recovery
- Determines your specific preferred program in recovery
- Offers the chance to ask questions about the treatment or recovery process without being judged by others
- Builds a close collaborative understanding with your therapist of your background, history, and needs
Individual therapy can help you build a feeling of safety, support, and trust with a counselor. This can serve as a backdrop to exploring your relationships, challenges, resources, and experience of addiction.
Approaches to Individual Drug Counseling
Frequently, individual therapy will combine several approaches to meeting your recovery goals, including:
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)–MI is used to strengthen the person’s motivation and commitment to the goal of sobriety. One of the difficult hurdles to overcome in addiction is a lack of motivation.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)–CBT teaches people struggling with addiction and mental illness to see the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Increasing awareness of these things has an impact on recovery.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)–DBT helps individuals learn the skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation.
These are effective in helping people stop using drugs and alcohol. Although many individual therapies use planned schedules for sessions and goal planning, therapists can work with you to achieve flexible sessions to meet your needs.
How Long Does It Last?
How often you attend therapy sessions in SUD treatment depends on your individual needs in recovery. Individual and group therapy may start as soon as you enter treatment. Some people receiving addiction treatment may start their therapy in a residential or inpatient hospital setting. These levels of care offer the most frequent and intensive services.
6 Reasons Individual Therapy Might be Right for You
Some people hesitate to engage in therapy because of the stigma about mental illness. But, individual therapy is a benefit for all types of people who might be experiencing one of these common problems.
- Extreme sadness, anger, or other emotions
- Trauma such as the death of a loved one or a divorce
- Substance use disorder
- Workplace problems
- Lack of enjoyment of activities
- Strained personal and family relationships
Whatever issues you might have, therapy can be a life-changing experience.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
As mentioned, many people with SUD also have mental illness issues. This is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Researchers have discovered that about 50% of people who experience SUD during their lives will also experience a co-occurring mental disorder and vice versa. Common co-occurring disorders include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
In most cases, it’s better to treat the SUD and the co-occurring mental disorder at the same time, instead of separately. It is also necessary that treatment be designed to treat the person’s specific combination of disorders and symptoms.
Individual Therapy Can Open the Door to Recovery
If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder, you may feel as if the door to your future has slammed shut. You can reopen that door through addiction treatment. At New Jersey Rehabs, we can offer you individual counseling as well as group, behavioral and holistic therapies. Additionally, we have a specific program for dual diagnoses. This is all to assure that you have the options necessary to develop a treatment plan specifically for you.
We also have treatment programs that range from a medical detox center and four levels of inpatient and outpatient services to sober living residences. Our only goal is to help you reach yours. It doesn’t matter how long or how severe your problem is; it is never too late to step through that door to recovery. Contact us today.