Individual psychotherapy, as a practice, refers to a therapy method involving one treatment provider and one individual receiving treatment. According to an article published by Medical News Today, psychotherapy works based upon trust between the provider and the client and the process of treating psychiatric disorders can take months or even years. When it comes to residential drug rehab, individual psychotherapy can take on various forms and is combined with other evidence-based treatments.

Woman in her 30s at the therapist office

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

One form of individual psychotherapy may include the use of behavioral therapies such as DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, and CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is recommended for the treatment of drug and alcohol addition by such recognized and authoritative organizations as the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Their studies and research have shown that this type of therapy is designed to build trust between the counselor and the client – in this case a recovering addict or an individual suffering from an co-occurring disorder – so that, together, they can create better ways for the individual receiving the treatment to see their life. They will meet privately on a regular basis for a set number of weeks, working through a series of scenarios that are unique to the individual situation. This gives the recovering addict necessary tools to deal with the stress of their daily life, as well as the means to overcome situations that might be likely to result in relapse. DBT is a variation of CBT. According to a research article published by PubMed, DBT was originally developed specifically for the treatment of individuals who exhibited suicidal behavior. However, recent research shows that DBT is quite effective for conditions such as bipolar disorder without the manifestation of suicidal thoughts and for those who are suffering from a dual diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue. In addition to addiction issues, DBT has been shown to be of benefit for co-occurring disorders, such as binging.

What to Expect From Individual Psychotherapy in Drug Rehab

In a residential drug rehab setting, individual psychotherapy can be tailored to the individual needs of each resident. Typically, you will meet with your psychotherapist on a weekly basis. The first meeting will be an assessment, followed by the development of a treatment plan. This may include CBT or DBT. The subsequent meetings will carry out the treatment plan, including reviews of situations you may have been confronted with. Together, you can determine if your thought patterns, or cognitive reasoning, benefitted you and whether your actions, or behaviors, were adequate to handle the situation. The benefit of an inpatient treatment facility is that you are surrounded with others who are in similar stages of their lives and their recovery processes. In addition to the individual therapy sessions, you’ll participate in group therapy and group support meetings. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking part in these group activities enhances the benefits you receive from your individual treatment plans for several reasons, including the camaraderie that comes from not feeling alone, learning from the mistakes of others, or benefiting from shared information about coping skills, reducing stress and gaining a sense of control over your own recovery. A research study on Medline Plus goes on to include several other benefits to participation in group sessions to supplement individual psychotherapy:

  • Inspiration. Surrounding oneself with the success of others can help an individual concentrate on his or her own recovery.
  • Family. When an individual may feel or be estranged from one’s family, a group dynamic can provide the support they feel they are missing.
  • Self-policing. When a group depends upon each other for success, they can police the members and put positive peer pressure to bear for the benefit of individual members.
  • Increase self-esteem. Positive feedback from others who are going through similar circumstances can increase one’s outlook of their own self-worth.

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