Quitting drugs and alcohol is a wonderful accomplishment, but fully recovering from addiction involves addressing and treating the emotional, mental, and psychological aspects of substance abuse as well. Individual therapy can help you do this in a safe, non-threatening, and non-judgemental way. In addition to helping you unpack the circumstances, emotions, thoughts, and feelings that led to and contributed to your addiction, individual therapy can help you identify and work through challenges that are unique to you. Learning how to deal with challenges in a healthy way can help you to stop relying on addictive substances to function, which can help you let go of drugs and alcohol and regain control of your life.
What Is Individual Therapy?
Individual therapy is a type of treatment in which a trained professional helps a single person work through any personal issues they’ve been facing. The one-on-one sessions, which can be virtual or take place in person, help people deal with emotional difficulties and mental illnesses. Although individual therapy itself is a common type of treatment, some of the different types of therapeutic approaches used in individual therapy are more common than others.
The primary goal of individual therapy, which is also known as talk therapy, is to help improve symptoms that influence your well-being. This often means helping you understand your own thought and behavior patterns, but can also include ways to effectively manage stress, techniques to handle interpersonal challenges, and coping strategies for dealing with distressing emotions and challenging circumstances. Individual therapy can also help you set and achieve goals.
What To Expect During Individual Therapy
The first thing you should expect to do during an individual therapy session is talk. Talking to a counselor or therapist may feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, but as time passes, individual therapy sessions can start to feel like an ordinary conversation. Here’s a little insight into what you can expect.
- The First Session. Generally, during the first session, the therapist will gather information about your physical, mental, and emotional health to help address your needs and concerns and determine the best course of action.
- Session Structure. Most individual therapy sessions are structured so that you do the majority of the talking. As you talk, the therapist will provide feedback as needed or when you request it. This structure helps boost your self-confidence and ensures that the session remains focused on your specific needs. Session times can vary, but most individual therapy sessions last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.
- Homework. You should also expect to have homework every once in a while. The type of homework assigned can vary, but the purpose of this work is always to help you build on and develop topics you previously discussed in therapy.
- Confidentiality. You can also expect confidentiality during your therapy sessions. Most therapists explain confidentiality during the first therapy session, but you can expect your therapist to keep what you share private unless you or someone else is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others.
Now that you know what to expect, let’s look at some of the ways individual therapy can help you recover.
How Does Individual Therapy Benefit Addiction Recovery?
Individual therapy can help change your life. In addition to helping you articulate your feelings and emotions, individual therapy can help you:
- Identify defense mechanisms that lead to unhealthy behavior patterns
- Establish a healthy, trusting, and emotionally safe relationship
- Understand the importance of setting and respecting boundaries
- Boost your self-efficacy, or the belief you have in your ability to meet and overcome challenges
- Become more self-aware
All of these benefits can help improve your personal growth, but individual therapy can actually help you recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Here’s how.
1. Individual Therapy Can Help Uncover The Reasons Behind Your Addiction
Addiction doesn’t generally happen on its own. The condition is almost always a symptom of other underlying conditions and feelings. If you’re going to recover, you need to know and understand what led to your drug and alcohol use in the first place. Individual therapy sessions can help you do that. In addition to exploring your childhood, one-on-one time with a therapist can help you work through traumatic situations, toxic relationships, and other situations that are unique to you. As you start to uncover the reasons behind your addiction, you can start healing, which can help motivate you to make more positive changes in your life.
2. Individual Therapy Can Help Face Challenges Head-On
Addiction and denial usually work together. Whether you’ve used drugs and alcohol to escape challenges in your life or denied having a substance abuse problem altogether, denial prevents you from facing reality which stops you from solving your challenges in the first place. In other words, denial keeps you stuck. Individual therapy can help you face your unique challenges head-on. This combats denial, which is often rooted in fear. The more you realize that you can, in fact, face your challenges, the less likely you will be to deny reality. Overcoming denial is not only a step toward recovery, but it’s a sign of maturity and personal growth.
3. Individual Therapy Can Teach You How To Cope With Challenges In A Healthy Way
Addiction is almost always associated with some form of self-medication. As you recover from drugs and alcohol, you’ll have to learn how to deal with challenges without turning to drugs or alcohol. Individual therapy can help you do that. Instead of giving you a list of generic techniques to handle challenges, individual therapy allows your therapist to get to know you. The one-on-one time you spend with your therapist can help them give you tools, techniques, and methodologies that align with your specific personality and set of values.
4. Individual Therapy Can Help You Handle Your Most Distressing Emotions and Thoughts
As you recover, you have to learn how to manage cravings, which are often triggered by distressing emotions and thoughts. Your emotional capacity and individual thoughts are unique to you. That’s why working with a therapist on a one-on-one basis can help you learn how to regulate the emotions and thoughts you struggle with most. As you learn to manage these distressing emotions and challenge these disturbing thoughts, you’ll be better equipped to manage triggering situations which can help you avoid relapse.
Let Therapy Help You Recover
Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction can be extremely challenging, but individual therapy can help. In addition to providing someone you can trust, working with a therapist on a one-on-one basis can help you let go of denial, handle challenges in a healthy way, regulate your emotions, and avoid relapse. Learning how to do all of this can help make the recovery process easier. Participating in individual therapy can also boost your self-esteem.
Let us help you recover your life and regain your self-confidence. We want to help you live a thriving, purposeful, enjoyable, and sober life. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.
Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies
Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.