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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 for substance misuse is an approach to therapy during which the client is treated one-to-one with the therapist. Individual therapy is the most popular and may contain many different treatment styles. This includes psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychoanalysis is the therapy often depicted in old movies where the patient lies on a couch with the therapist seated near their head. The analyst does not bring in their own opinions but allows the client to transfer feelings onto the analyst.

During individual therapy:

  • the therapist and client can focus on each other
  • build a relationship
  • work together to solve the client’s problem

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.

Benefits of Individual Therapy

  • It adds to your support network
  • You gain a better understanding of yourself
  • You learn to handle your emotions
  • It helps identify the underlying causes of your symptoms
  • It helps provide coping strategies
  • It helps you manage your symptoms
  • Promotes lifestyle changes

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 with them. This therapy is used with other mental and behavioral health treatment types, such as substance abuse counseling and family therapy.

Why You Need Counseling

Counseling is the backbone of many people’s substance abuse disorder (SUD) treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy all serve to 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)

CBT 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

If you or a loved one is struggling with a SUD, genuinely individualized treatment is available at Illinois Recovery Center. We can 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. We can provide:

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?