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Individual Therapy for Substance Disorders

Individual psychoanalysis may go on for years, but brief therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy can begin to produce results in just a few sessions.

Individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which clients work one-on-one with a qualified mental health professional in a secure, comforting, and private setting. It is sometimes referred to as psychotherapy, talk therapy, or individual counseling treatment.

Individual therapy is the most common evidence-based psychological treatment for mental disorders and can include a variety of treatment techniques. Examples of such treatments include psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Behavioral therapy, Humanistic therapy, and holistic therapy.

Types of Individual Psychotherapy

The American Psychological Association (APA) categorizes individual psychotherapy techniques into five primary groups:

  1. Psychoanalysis – is the type of therapy that is frequently represented in classic movies, with the patient lying on a sofa and the therapist reclining near their head. The analyst does not express their own ideas but instead allows the client to project their emotions onto the analyst.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – focuses on teaching individuals how to be their own therapists and intends to assist them in developing self-reliance. The goal of CBT in individual therapy is to help patients develop coping skills so they may learn to modify their own thinking, troublesome emotions, and behavior through activities done both in-session and as “homework” outside of sessions.
  3. Behavioral Therapy – The behavioral approach is a type of treatment that focuses on existing behaviors and issues and what adjustments may be made to eliminate problematic behaviors.
  4. Humanistic Therapy -A person is evaluated from a humanistic perspective as a whole rather than simply via one specific aspect of their personality. It is a branch of psychology that examines the idea of being entirely unique and special.
  5. Holistic Therapy – A form of treatment known as holistic therapy focuses on the “whole” person. The integration of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being occurs in this type of treatment. Its objective is to aid people in learning more about themselves on all these levels.

Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is an effective treatment option for a wide range of mental, emotional, and behavioral health problems. Individual treatment has various advantages, including:

1. Personalized therapy

The therapist will design a treatment plan based on your issues and needs.

2. Confidentiality

You may not want the entire world to know you are undergoing therapy. You can discuss your issues with the therapist, knowing they will be kept private. Individual treatment will safeguard your confidentially the most because your problems will only be communicated between you and the therapist.

3. Gain a Better Understanding of Yourself

Individual counseling provides a safe space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Individual therapy, as opposed to family or group therapy, focuses solely on you. This allows for a more in-depth understanding of yourself, increasing self-awareness of your emotions and typical defense mechanisms by identifying the underlying causes of your symptoms so you can develop coping methods to help you deal with stressful situations.

4. Improved Communication Skills

Speaking with a qualified therapist can assist you in developing effective communication skills. Identifying your genuine emotions, expressing them in a way your partner can experience them, and requesting what you need are all part of individual therapy for communication problems.

A licensed clinical social worker, qualified counselor, or therapist may assist you in learning relaxation methods, active listening skills, and how to express your inner self while being respectful of others.

5. Develop Coping Skills

Individual therapy is all about one-on-one counseling, so patients have plenty of time to work through stress, depression, or anxiety to help them face problems and overcome challenges. This type of treatment provides positive coping techniques such as self-soothing and acceptance. A therapist may assist you in exploring and understanding the source of your stress. You may then collaborate to develop specific solutions that will help you combat it.

How Does Individual Therapy for Addiction Work?

Individual therapy sessions allow people to talk confidentially about their problems or situations with a trained professional. It doesn’t necessarily make problems disappear but can give the person the tools to cope. This therapy is used with other mental and behavioral health treatment types, such as substance abuse counseling and family therapy.

Individual counseling sessions may help with various problems that produce stress, anger, sadness, or conflict. An individual and a therapist will discuss a variety of mental health concerns in a safe, confidential setting, including but not limited to:

  • Expression of feelings and thoughts
  • Patterns of behavior
  • resolving issues
  • Dispute resolution
  • Weaknesses and strengths

Some issues can be resolved with a few weeks of short-term therapy. Chronic or more complicated issues, on the other hand, may necessitate long-term therapy. The number of sessions and frequency of appointments are determined by the individual’s situation and the clinician’s suggestions.

Why Individual Counseling is Needed

Counseling is the backbone of many people’s substance abuse disorder (SUD) treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy help an individual stay clean. Psychotherapy can also treat other mental health conditions that frequently play a part in substance abuse. Psychoanalysis involves exploring the organization of the personality in a way that looks at deep conflicts and defenses. According to the principles of psychoanalysis, you can only cure a problem by recognizing and solving the initial conflict.

A SUD is more than a physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. After medical detox, you have a high risk for relapse when your body is no longer dependent on a substance. Psychological and social factors can be potent triggers that could cause a relapse. Relapse triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Environmental cues, like going to a specific neighborhood
  • Social networks–spending time with friends who still use substances

These factors may create a strong urge to use it again. Counseling can help you break away from the cravings and learn to manage what comes your way without drugs or alcohol.

Counseling Therapies

Several individual therapy programs are used to treat SUDs. No method is considered to be better than the others. Similarly, no one approach works for everyone. The appropriate treatment plan should be tailored to treat your addiction and individual needs.

Individual Psychotherapy

Individual therapy can help you when you have bipolar disorder, depression, or any other significant mental health condition that needs treatment on its own, separate from substance use disorder.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches the individual to recognize moods, thoughts, and situations that trigger drug cravings. The therapist teaches you how to avoid these triggers. You will learn to substitute negative thoughts and feelings with healthy ones that help you not to use them. These skills you’ll learn will last a lifetime, making this a powerful treatment method.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on acceptance and change. While treating SUDs, DBT emphasizes curbing substance use and behaviors that lead to it while enhancing healthy behavior that helps you avoid using.

Contingency Management Therapy (CM)

CM gives you tangible rewards for staying clean. They may be vouchers for goods and services or privileges in a strict treatment setting.

What is the Role of the Therapist in an Individual Therapy Program?

The therapist’s job is to:

  • effectively understand the client’s problem and
  • develop a treatment plan with the client.

This means that therapists must be imaginative and adaptable so they can treat their clients in an individualized way. They must adjust treatment based on what the client needs and can do.

Substance Abuse Therapists

These professionals help people whose lives are ruined by drug or alcohol addiction. They help their clients learn coping skills and self-control over their impulses. Good therapists will explain the process step-by-step. This requires:

  • Helping the client reflect on issues to make positive changes
  • Listen and encourage the client by being kind, dependable, and empathetic
  • Helping the client to think about their life and emotional struggles
  • Keep complete confidentiality of client’s records

7 Reasons Therapy Might be Good for You

Many people hesitate to seek therapy because of mental illness and substance use stigma. However, individual therapy is helpful to anyone who might be experiencing any of these common problems:

  1. Extreme emotions (sadness or anger)
  2. Trauma
  3. Substance abuse
  4. Work problems
  5. Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  6. Strained personal and family relationships
  7. Concerns expressed by friends or family

Individualized Treatment at Illinois Recovery Center

Our individualized treatment is available at Illinois Recovery Center if you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder. We provide a variety of therapeutic modalities for our individual therapy. No matter what mental health issue you are dealing with—anxiety, a mood disorder, or any mental health concerns—our counseling services are here to help you get through the challenges.

Our skilled and compassionate therapists are happy to work with you to improve your well-being, promote personal growth, boost your self-esteem, build healthy coping mechanisms, and aid in your full recovery.

therapy services

We can provide different mental health services, such as:

We can also offer you a supervised medical detox program to help you safely eliminate the toxins from your body and break your dependence.

Following detox, we have professionally trained therapists to help you create a tailored therapy program to help you discover and treat any underlying mental issues that may have aggravated your substance abuse.

You or your loved one deserve the best treatment available to give you the best possible chance for lifelong recovery. Contact us today and find out what we can do for you.


  • What is individual therapy?
  • What is the difference between individual and group therapy?
  • What is individual talk therapy?

Published on: 2022-10-12
Updated on: 2024-05-15