Individual Therapy

Addiction treatment is a long process that consists of multiple components. In fact, once you make the decision to begin treatment for substance abuse or addiction, you will be participating in some form of treatment for the rest of your life. One of the most vital components of addiction treatment is therapy.

Therapy, both group and individual, allows the person suffering from addiction to learn just what has led them down the path to addiction. Additionally, individual addiction therapy helps them reprogram their brain and learn how to live their life without their addiction taking over again. 

On this page, we will focus on individual therapy and take a look at some of the different types of therapy that are offered during treatment. 

What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a type of therapy that takes place with just two people, the patient and the therapist. Individual addiction therapy sessions tend to last an hour, although that is ultimately up to the therapist to decide if they want to go longer. Everyone is different, so everyone’s therapy sessions, from the length of time to frequency, can differ.

individual therapy

Unlike group therapy, which is held in a group session and allows multiple people to take turns sharing, individual therapy takes place in a one-on-one setting and allows both the patient and the therapist to focus on the specific issues of just the patient.

It’s ideal for either expanding on something that was brought up during group therapy or for addressing issues not brought up during group therapy. Individual therapy is a great outlet for discussing things that the patient might be embarrassed or ashamed to talk about in front of other people as well.

Ultimately, the goal of individual therapy is to provide a safe space for patients opening up about their life experiences. 

What Kinds Of Individual Therapy Are There?

While individual addiction therapy is the generic term used to describe any type of one-on-one therapy session, there are many different types of individual therapy offered at treatment centers. Your therapist will likely recommend which type of individual therapy to do based on your needs.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a type of individual therapy that is focused on obtaining goals directly related to the present life of the patient. This type of therapy examines the unhealthy behaviors that might have led to the addiction developing in the first place. It also identifies any triggers that may have helped in developing said behaviors.

In the case of substance abuse, bad behaviors continue due to drugs creating a feeling that the body keeps wanting. Even when negative consequences occur because of the drug use, the person still values the benefit of the use more than the risk of the consequence.

During behavioral therapy, the therapist will typically use various interventions to address the bad behaviors that have resulted in addiction. These interventions include:

  • Relaxation training
  • Exposure
  • Psychoeducation and planning
  • Functional analysis
  • Assertiveness training

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, focuses on not just behavior but also on thoughts and feelings. CBT is based on the idea that negative thinking patterns lead to unwanted feelings and behaviors, and problematic behaviors lead to unwanted feelings and negative thinking. 

During CBT, the therapist will act as a coach to understand what exactly led to the thoughts and feelings associated with addiction. They will also try and understand the thoughts and feelings that came about as a result of the substance abuse.

One of the biggest components of CBT is addressing the cognitive distortions that feed into the bad behaviors and thoughts. Cognitive distortions are flawed ways of thinking. They may sound rational at the time, but they are actually irrational and illogical.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a type of therapy that is similar to CBT. In fact, DBT was created to address the limitation of CBT when treating those suffering from certain mental health disorders and chronic self-injurious behaviors. DBT has proven to be effective in treating the following issues:

individual therapy
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • PTSD
  • Self-mutilation
  • Suicide attempts

DBT focuses on four skill-building modules that are used to highlight dialectical thoughts. These modules are based on the notion that opposing ideas can be brought together to find balance. Each module lasts about six weeks and can be repeated if needed. The four modules are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Emotional regulation

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a type of behavioral therapy that treats addiction to alcohol, stimulants, opioids, marijuana, and nicotine. During this type of therapy, the patient is given a physical reward for accomplishing their behavioral goals. Some different types of rewards that are used include:

  • Treatment-related vouchers
  • Physical prizes
  • Positive reinforcement

Biopsychosocial Therapy

Biopsychosocial therapy is used to treat a wide variety of substance abuse and other clinical health problems. This type of therapy focuses on the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the issue. The biopsychosocial model is used as an alternative to biomedical models.

Online Therapy

Given the changing landscape and new technological advances, some therapists are incorporating online therapy into what they offer. Online therapy works the same way that individual therapy works. The only difference is that the patient and therapist are communicating online via apps such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. 

While online therapy can replace many in-person options, some therapies still require the patient and therapist to be face to face.  

What Are The Benefits of Individual Therapy?

The biggest benefit of individual therapy is the one-on-one interaction between the therapist and the patient. The ability to meet one-on-one with the same person every session allows patients to lower some walls they’ve built to protect themselves. It also allows therapists to really get to know patients on a personal level, allowing them to better help. 

It also minimizes unnecessary distractions and potential confrontations that might take place in a group setting. Individual therapy is a great place to share things that the patient might not feel comfortable talking about in front of others for whatever reason. It can also be used as a place to expand on something that might have only been touched on during group therapy.

While all different types of therapy are beneficial to the overall success of drug and alcohol treatment, individual addiction therapy can be particularly beneficial for a number of reasons.

Some other benefits of individual therapy include:

  • Creating self-awareness
  • Self-exploration
  • Improving communication skills
  • Creating healthy coping mechanisms
  • Getting a better understanding of yourself
  • Learning how to better handle emotions
  • Creating lifestyle changes
  • Creating a support system

At its core, individual therapy focuses on the connection between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This is done in order to help identify any negative behavioral patterns that you might have and begin the process of replacing them with more positive and healthy alternatives. 

While individual therapy is not designed to cure you of your substance use, it is a very helpful tool in the long process that is addiction recovery. Individual therapy can help you learn about the behaviors that might have led you down the path to addiction and teach you ways in which you can prevent it from happening in the future.

Want To Know More About Individual Addiction Therapy?

Individual therapy has proven to be very successful when it comes to the initial treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. Because no two people suffer from the same kind of addiction, there are several different types of individual therapies.

That’s why we offer a wide variety of options at CNV Detox, including multiple different types of individual addiction therapy. Our team of trained therapists and professionals will work with you to create a custom plan made for both you and your addiction.

We pride ourselves on getting you the help you need using a method, or methods, that work best for you and your addiction. If you or someone you know could benefit from one of the many types of individual addiction therapy that we offer, contact us today.