Why Therapy is Important for Treating Addiction

Addiction is a serious and dangerous habit, and a hard one to kick. When you enter a recovery program, it’s not just the substance abuse that is difficult to stop. Detoxification is only the first of many steps that lead to a recovery and healthy lifestyle. 

One of the most critical parts of recovery is working with a counselor and going through therapy. Therapy and counseling is a mainstay of any substance abuse treatment program. It can include cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, and group and  individual therapy.  

Types of Therapy for Treating Addiction

Research suggests that behavioral therapies are most beneficial to those in recovery programs or rehabilitation when treating drug addictions. The most common types of therapies are: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This focuses on identifying negative events or triggers and how to modify the response. It also teaches health coping skills when faced with a difficult choice. 
  • Motivational incentives: This type of therapy offers incentives for abstaining from substance use. In a rehab facility, this may be vouchers for activities or “prizes” for good behavior.
  • Reinforcement: This type of therapy teaches a person life skill that are helping in avoiding relapse or addiction in the future.
  • 12-Step Facilitation: A person goes through a 12-step process to accept their addiction as a disease and actively participates in a program with a group to overcome their addiction.

The Importance of Individual Therapy

While the therapies above are considered essential in the road to recover, a well-rounded progress that includes group and individual therapies is recommended. Group therapy allows a person to participate and develop healthy relationships, practice social skills, and learn from peers. 

Individual therapy focuses on the person and builds a positive relationship with a therapist. When someone has a trusting and supportive relationship with a therapist, they are more likely to reach long-term goals and achieve complete remission. It is also less likely that relapse will occur. In individual therapy, the therapist will create a personalized plan to account for a person’s needs, expectations, and abilities. They listen and provide a safe zone, that is without judgement and they are more willing to be flexible with a recovery plan. Because they are not confined by a group setting or a specific program, there are no set rules or strict plan for recovery, meaning it can happen on a personal level. 

Individual therapy gives a person someone in whom they can confide and talk about private issues. It is common to feel embarrassed or ashamed when going through an addiction recovery program. Talking about personal and private issues in a group setting may be uncomfortable. One-on-one time with a therapist allows for a more comprehensive approach to recovery and a life of abstinence.  

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