Addiction is labeled a “complex disease” because it affects so many aspects of a person’s life. Studies show that in 2017 almost 21 million Americans needed addiction treatment, while only 2.5 million Americans received help.
For a successful recovery from substance abuse, a person needs individual therapy that is specialized just for them. Individual therapy will address all issues of addiction, including the symptoms, the underlying causes, and the consequences. Individual therapy is an integral part of treatment.
When you enter into rehab, you will be assigned a therapist that will be with you every step of the way. You will build a relationship with your therapist that will allow you to feel comfortable and safe, opening up your inner struggles. Your therapist will use different types of individual therapy and design a program that will have the highest chances of recovery.
Different Individual Therapy Types
To successfully treat addiction, people need a combination of different individual therapies. Individual therapy builds the skills required to stay sober while helping find the root cause that led to addiction. Behavioral therapy is commonly used to treat addiction. Along with generalized behavioral therapy, it has been broken down even further into specialized and highly effective techniques.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a common and useful form of talk therapy used to treat addiction problems. CBT focuses on specific issues and setting goals to overcome these obstacles. Through CBT, a person will learn to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors as well as learn skills to redirect these thoughts and prevent relapse.
CBT is a short term, goal-oriented therapy that combines psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. The psychotherapy side focuses on how the pattern of thinking starts in childhood, while the behavioral side focuses on how our thoughts affect our behavior.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often broken down into more specific types of treatment.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): The patient learns how to be aware and accept their thoughts and emotions instead of changing them.
- Cognitive Therapy: The patient learns to recognize and change negative thinking and emotions
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT): The patient learns how to live in the moment and to be aware of how automatic responses cause stress.
- Multimodal Therapy: The therapist will focus on the seven sides of the patient’s personality. They include behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal relationships, and biology.
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT): The patient focuses on changing irrational thinking and behavior into rational ones.
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF_CBT): This is a highly structured therapy that focuses on trauma in life. The patient will learn why it has led to negative behaviors and emotions.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The main goal of DBT is to learn how to live in the moment. It teaches how to improve relationships, control emotions, and to handle stress positively. DBT can be performed in three different settings, individual sessions, group sessions, and phone sessions. No matter the environment, DBT follows the same characteristics.
- Support- encouraging the positive
- Behavioral- identify harmful behavior and learn healthy ones
- Cognitive- changing negative thoughts and behaviors
- Skill Set- enhancing positive skills
- Acceptance and Change- accepting of emotions and positive changes
- Collaboration- healthy communication and teamwork
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Unlike other forms of therapy, MI will be by a therapist, but the patient designs their plan of treatment. They decide their motivation for recovery and build a plan to achieve their goals. When a patient feels like they have lost all control, MI gives them a sense of control over their addiction.
“The spirit of Motivational Interviewing” is a phrase often used to describe this type of therapy. The “spirit” is made up of three components.
- Collaboration. The therapist becomes a support person rather than a guide. The patient has more knowledge of their experiences, so the therapist tries to see things through the patient’s eyes.
- Evocation. MI focuses on the patient setting goals for themselves. It helps build the desire for a healthy life by putting the patient in charge. The therapist does more listening than talking, allowing the patient to find the answers from within.
- Autonomy. Motivational Interviewing puts all the power in the patient’s hands. The therapist respects the patient’s decisions and supports them along the journey.
Motivational Interviewing puts all the power in the hands of the patient. Even so, the therapist plays an essential role in MI therapy. The therapist follows principles that make their time together both productive and beneficial to their sobriety.
The therapist will:
- Express Empathy. This is a core value of all person-centered therapy. Expressing empathy allows the patient to feel comfortable opening up. This allows the therapist to understand the patient’s struggles and what is stopping them from getting better. This allows the patient to feel unjudged.
- Develop Discrepancy. The therapist has a patient point out the differences in what they’re doing and what their goals are. The therapist uses questions that will lead the patient to think about things and discover things about themselves.
- Roll with Resistance. Motivational Interviewing, like all therapies, is met with some kind of resistance from the patient. MI is a confrontation free form of treatment, so the therapist will not manipulate the patient’s thinking but will offer alternative ways to think about the situation.
- Support Self-Efficacy. This principle believes in change. Patients who have tried to get sober and relapsed start to think that they can’t do it. The therapist will help the patient see their successes and build their self-confidence.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT is a short-term form of therapy that helps identify negative thoughts that keep a person from living a healthy, positive life. A patient learns to understand why they think the way they do. The patient will develop healthy habits and positive thinking, which produces healthy emotions. REBT works on the belief that happiness happens from within and not created by external influences.
Albert Ellis developed this therapy after a personal experiment that proved our behaviors come from our thoughts. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” He believed that people blame external forces for their problems when it is their thoughts that are the problem. To help explain this, he developed the ABC Model.
- A- Activating Event: an event happens around you
- B- Beliefs: a belief forms about this event
- C- Consequence: an emotional response occurs based on the belief
There are three basic steps to the therapeutic process of REBT.
- Identify Underlying Irrational Thoughts and Beliefs – “I must,” “I should,” “I cannot.”
- Overly upset over other people’s mistakes
- Believing you must be right all the time and perfect at everything
- Believing you can only be happy by avoiding problems
- Feeling like your happiness is based solely on external forces
- Challenge the Irrational Beliefs
- The therapist will challenge these irrational beliefs logically to force the patient to see them as absurd.
- Gain Insight and Recognize Irrational Patterns
- Accepting that beliefs are irrational is a tough thing to do. The therapist must be empathetic and caring to help the patient make the breakthrough needed.
- Learning that making a mistake is ok or not being perfect at something is ok. As long as a lesson is learned from the error, then forward progress is being made.
- Meditation, journaling, and guided imagery is a great way to track progress which in turn encourages more growth.
The Matrix Model uses a combination of therapies. It has been found most beneficial for those with a stimulant addiction but can be of great benefit in all addiction situations. The main focus of the Matrix Model is relapse prevention through group and family therapy and education. The therapist rewards good behavior while instilling self-esteem and self-confidence.
The main components of the Matrix Model are:
- Individual Therapy Sessions: These sessions focus on the treatment plan and the progress made. Some individual therapy sessions may involve family members.
- Early Recovery Groups: Patients who are in the early months of rehab will learn the tools needed to fight cravings and fill their time. With support from other members of the group, the patient will develop a schedule and be held accountable.
- Relapse Prevention Groups: Group members share their experiences and learn from each other strategies to stay sober. These groups include thirty-two different topics on relapse prevention.
- Family Education Groups: A 12-week program that teaches family and loved ones everything about addiction from what the drug is to why their loved one does what they do.
- Social Support Groups: In the last months of treatment, patients meet to focus on drug-free activities that they can participate in and people they can hang out with that will encourage sobriety.
- Twelve-Step Meetings: Participation in a 12-step program is a vital part of Matrix Model therapy. There are meetings held in many locations at all different times, and some treatment centers have onsite meetings.
While participating in the Matrix Model program, random drug testing is done. It is not used as a punishment but to determine if a more structured program is needed.
Medications are sometimes a necessity in cases of severe addiction. There are a variety of medicines that can help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal. For those addicted to alcohol, opioids, or other sedatives, it can be dangerous and sometimes fatal to detox without the help of medication. Medication is most often used in patients with a dual diagnosis. Gaining control over mental problems with medication allows a patient to focus on the addiction issues in their life. Some of the common addictions and medicines used to treat are as follows:
Medication for Opioids
Methadone and Buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. After complete detox, Naltrexone is prescribed to block the receptor sites in the brain. All medications alone or in combination, along with therapy-based treatments, help a patient remain sober.
Medication for Alcohol
The FDA has approved the use of three medications to treat alcohol addiction.
- Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the brain that make you feel happy and crave alcohol. It is used to prevent relapse in heavy drinkers. Genetics plays a role in the effects of Naltrexone.
- Acamprosate (Campral) is used to reduce symptoms of long-term withdrawal. In patients with severe addiction, it can help with anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and the overall feeling of unhappiness.
- Disulfiram (Antabuse) changes the way a body breaks down alcohol. And if a person drinks while taking this medicine, it can have unpleasant effects such as nausea, irregular heart rate, and flushing in the face. If a patient is not highly motivated to beat addiction, then it can be challenging to keep the patient taking it as prescribed.
The Importance of Individual Therapy in Addiction Therapy
Even though all the therapies mentioned above can be done in a group or individual therapy settings. It is essential for most people; it is easier to build trust with one person than with a room full of people. For some, it can take weeks to feel safe enough to reveal the most inner secrets. In individual therapy, deep trust is built between the patient and the therapist, which increases the chances of successful sobriety.
About Addiction Recovery and Individual Therapy
Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance abuse addiction? Are your fears and thoughts of the unknown holding you back from seeking help? Do you have questions about Individual Therapy and how it can benefit you?
At Ken Seeley Rehab, we have the knowledge and programs to help you achieve and continue a life of sobriety. To learn more about Ken Seely Rehab and our Individual Therapy program, contact us today! We look forward to helping you on your journey to sobriety.