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What Are Addiction Recovery Therapies?

Addiction recovery therapies

When examining the many types of rehabilitation programs for substance use disorders, many of today’s modern treatment protocols incorporate a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. Though this may not be an exhaustive list, the following are examples of commonly utilized, evidence-based therapies:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency Management
  • Matrix Model
  • 12-Step Facilitation
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

Although you may participate in one of the above on its own, you’ll most likely be introduced to several of these therapies within a larger, more comprehensive treatment plan that includes private, group and family therapy in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Therapy Settings You May Experience

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy sessions may be included as an important part of both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs and typically last for about 50 minutes. One-on-one counseling sessions allow for therapists to better understand your specific problems in order to provide you with a more individualized approach to recovery. This type of therapy also allows for the development of self-awareness through speaking with and getting feedback from the therapist. Another benefit of individual therapy is that the relationship between the patient and therapist is stronger in one-on-one settings.

Group Therapy

Group sessions feature prominently in many treatment programs. As part of an inpatient or residential program, people may participate in multiple groups throughout the day. As treatment progresses beyond the initial, relatively intensive rehabilitation period, the frequency of group therapy may decline somewhat, but may continue to be sought daily, weekly, or at other intervals as it suits the individual’s recovery needs. Group therapy may be of particular benefit in the realm of substance use disorders as it helps to foster a supportive and encouraging environment for those recovering from addiction to share their experiences. Typical sessions include one or more therapists working with individuals dealing with similar health issues. The therapist guides the discussions and offers feedback or advice to help members better understand themselves and progress in their recovery.

Family Therapy

Family therapy allows relatives and other members of a person’s close support network to be involved with the therapeutic process and has been shown to be effective for both adults and adolescents. The goal of family therapy is to improve communication between the recovering individual and their family as well as to find ways to create a safe home environment for those in recovery. This type of treatment can help repair damaged relationships while also helping to teach family members healthy coping mechanisms. Typical sessions may be held at a treatment center, in a therapist’s office or in an outpatient setting. The frequency and length of sessions will vary depending on your program and can last anywhere from one to three hours over a set period of weeks and can occur within a private or group setting.

Alternative therapies for addiction

Do Alternative Therapies Work?

In addition to the traditional therapies offered for substance abuse, users can also augment their path to recovery through alternative therapies that complement many of the more traditional therapeutic approaches of an addiction treatment program. One often-touted benefit of many alternative therapies is that they are more holistic—they are able to target the whole person on a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level. Examples of alternative therapies one might find in treatment include yoga and mindfulness-based treatment, equine therapy, biofeedback and the use of herbal remedies. These are now being utilized by many recovery centers as complements to traditional treatments. More research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of alternative therapies as stand-alone treatments; however, current studies indicate that some types may effectively supplement more standard, evidence-based therapies for chronic conditions such as substance use disorders.

Should I Consider a 12-Step Program?

According to the journal Addiction Research and Theory, 12-step abstinence practices have shown a greater potential to better maintain recovery efforts long term. Pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the 12-step philosophy has helped countless numbers of people achieve and maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol. This model allows people a framework to surrender their addiction, process their experience and move forward into recovery through self-observation, self-restraint and self-acceptance. While attending meetings as the primary source of one’s recovery efforts can be helpful, 12-step practices may be especially effective when incorporated into part of a more formal addiction treatment program.