Types Of Therapy Used In Addiction Treatment

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Addiction treatment facilities offer various types of treatment, including psychotherapy, to help people recover from substance use disorder. Different modalities take different approaches, but all are designed to empower clients with healthy coping skills.

Types Of Therapy Used In Addiction Treatment

When people look for addiction treatment options, they often wonder what type of treatment center they should attend. Choices include inpatient, residential, and outpatient treatment.

If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder (SUD), you might also consider the types of addiction therapy that these treatment programs offer.

Here you’ll find different modalities that mental health professionals may use during addiction healthcare.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is an umbrella term for modalities that explore human behavior.

This approach identifies behaviors, such as the use of substances, and helps clients uncover the reasons for these behaviors and become empowered to address them.

One key advantage to behavioral therapy is its practicality. Both clients and therapists can observe measurable results and determine which coping skills show the most success.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly effective treatment approach for people with SUDs.

This approach examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with the understanding that all of these factors influence one another.

CBT helps clients identify their cognitive distortions, or unhelpful thought patterns, and address those thought patterns in healthy ways.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy designed to help people handle intense emotions.

DBT helps people identify emotional triggers and develop coping skills, such as mindfulness, to deal with them.

This form of therapy is one of the most effective methods for treating borderline personality disorder (BPD).

People who experience both BPD and addiction as co-occurring disorders may find this type of therapy especially helpful.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) shares many similarities with CBT. In fact, REBT is an early form of CBT.

Some CBT treatment providers use REBT techniques in their practice.

Like CBT, REBT addresses unhelpful thoughts and feelings, though it sometimes approaches these unhelpful thoughts and feelings from a different angle.

REBT focuses more heavily than CBT on finding the root of the distorted emotions, while CBT often focuses more heavily on the resulting behavior.

Matrix Model

The Matrix Model follows behavioral therapy principles, but it is not a single type of therapy.

Rather, it is an approach that combines multiple evidence-based therapies in a highly structured way.

Matrix Model therapy often includes:

Motivation-Specific Therapy

Some forms of addiction therapy focus on discovering and building motivation.

Because drug addiction affects the brain’s motivation and reward pathways, many people find it helpful to bolster their motivation through therapy sessions.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a type of therapy that addresses mixed feelings and low self-esteem.

For example, it might be used for a person who desires addiction recovery but misses the people and places they associate with drug use and doubts their ability to achieve sobriety.

During MI, the therapist listens to the client and then guides them toward discovering their own sources of motivation.

As the client discovers their motivation for quitting drugs, they also get to know their strengths and learn how to use those strengths in recovery.

Contingency Management

Contingency management provides rewards in exchange for sobriety. These rewards may include cash, movie vouchers, or tokens that can be exchanged for prizes.

It has proved especially helpful for people experiencing cocaine addiction, perhaps because cocaine is a stimulant that has a strong impact on the brain’s reward system.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

People who have experienced trauma are more likely to have a drug or alcohol use disorder than those who have not experienced trauma.

Therefore, many addiction treatment programs offer trauma-informed approaches to therapy.

Seeking Safety

Seeking Safety is a therapeutic approach that was designed to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse as co-occurring mental health conditions.

This form of therapy is commonly offered by women-specific treatment services, though people of all genders may benefit from this therapy if they have experienced trauma.

Seeking Safety takes a multi-pronged approach, but it prioritizes the client’s need to find safety in therapy and recovery.

Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a modality that helps clients process traumatic events.

The client performs bilateral movement, such as moving the eyes from side to side or tapping on alternating sides of the body, while recalling past traumas.

This combination is designed to help people process trauma that they may have repressed, thus reducing symptoms such as hypervigilance and panic.

Types Of Therapy Structure

Addiction therapy may also use different structures. Within these structures, therapists may use any number of the modalities explained above.

Treatment providers often provide multiple therapy structures within a single treatment plan.

Individual Therapy

During individual therapy, the client meets with the therapist for one-on-one sessions. As a result, the client receives personalized attention and individualized care.

Group Therapy

During group therapy, a therapist provides counseling for multiple people in a single session.

Group therapy differs from support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), because support groups do not require a therapist’s presence.

Family Therapy

Many addiction treatment providers now offer family therapy, recognizing that a loved one’s addiction can have a strong impact on family members.

Family therapy helps families work together as a unit, using healthy interventions rather than blame.

Person-Centered Vs. Directive Therapy

Some therapy modalities use a person-centered approach, while others take a more directive approach. Both types of therapy have benefits and drawbacks.

In person-centered therapy, the therapist does not offer solutions or directions but supports the client and guides them toward discovering their own solutions.

In directive therapy, the therapist may offer more specific guidance, ideas, and suggestions.

Where To Find Addiction Therapy

Some therapists specialize in providing therapy for people who experience substance abuse and related mental health issues.

These therapists are commonly found in addiction-specific treatment facilities and sober living communities.

However, you may also find addiction therapists in some counseling offices.

Find Addiction Treatment Today

Addiction is a complex mental illness, but treatment options are available. If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse, contact Detox Rehabs to begin the recovery journey.


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