Living with substance abuse or addiction can make life very challenging. Maintaining healthy relationships, working, and simply functioning can become nearly impossible as substance abuse takes over.

Addiction is a complex condition that requires comprehensive treatment. Comprehensive treatment plans care for a person’s body, mind, and spirit. Individual therapy is a critical aspect of addiction treatment programs.

This article will detail the benefits of individual therapy in addiction treatment. You will learn:

  • What to expect from individual therapy
  • Common types of therapy used in addiction treatment
  • How therapy fits into addiction treatment
  • Where to find addiction treatment

Contact the First Step Behavioral Health specialists now to explore our holistic rehab programs or schedule an intake assessment.

What is Individual Therapy?

Addiction doesn’t just affect a person’s body. It can also impact the way people feel, think, and behave.

Individual therapy is an evidence-based tool. People can use it to understand and process their thoughts and feelings and improve functioning. Talk and behavioral therapies can also give people new strategies to cope with challenges.

The most significant goal of one-on-one therapy during addiction treatment is for people to feel safe and supported. During individual therapy sessions, people meet with a trained therapist. They may discuss their feelings, sensitive topics, and their treatment progress.

Other goals of addiction therapy include:

  • Improving self-esteem
  • Helping people to process emotions
  • Assisting people to understand their motivations and behaviors
  • Reducing harmful behaviors
  • Reducing negative thoughts
  • Improving communication skills
  • Helping people have healthier relationships

Individual therapy can help people cope with symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorder. During therapy, people learn essential skills that can lead to personal growth and lower risk of relapse.

During therapy, people may address a range of issues, including:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Family issues
  • Gender or sexuality issues
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma

People may participate in individual therapy to cope with specific mental health issues. They may also use therapy to work through time-limited issues. Learning new coping mechanisms can support better functioning in everyday life. It also promotes long-term relapse prevention in addiction recovery.

Individual talk therapy can help people manage complex conditions or temporary problems. It is a valuable tool that can benefit people at any stage of life.

What are Common Types of One-on-One Therapy?

Most comprehensive addiction treatment programs offer one-on-one psychotherapy as part of people’s treatment plans. However, addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are many therapeutic approaches therapists use to meet people’s different needs.

Here is an overview of several types of therapy used in addiction treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people recognize and change destructive thought patterns and behaviors. The overall goal of CBT is to reduce harmful behaviors by increasing coping skills and resilience.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy can help people manage their emotions, reduce harmful behaviors, and improve relationships with others. The overall goal of DBT is to help people understand their emotions. People develop strategies to manage their feelings, tolerate stress, and remain focused on the present.

Contingency model (CM)

The contingency model uses rewards as incentives to achieve milestones in recovery. For example, people may receive small prizes after submitting a clean drug test. Therapists may use CM to motivate people who are not committed to recovery or feel ambivalent about sobriety.

Matrix model

The matrix model helps people maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. In this approach, the therapist acts as a non-judgmental guide through recovery. The therapist teaches the client practical strategies to manage sobriety and prevent relapse.

During addiction recovery, people may engage in different types of talk therapy as they work to meet specific goals. These and other therapeutic techniques can help people at every stage of their recovery journey. People may engage in therapy during treatment and as part of an aftercare plan.

How Does Individual Therapy Fit into an Addiction Treatment Plan?

Individual therapy is often part of a comprehensive treatment program and an aftercare plan. People engage in therapy in both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs.

Generally, people in recovery begin therapy after completing detox. Each person will follow a tailored treatment plan consisting of:

  • Medical and mental health care
  • Medications
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Coping skills practice
  • Exercise, nutrition support, mindfulness, and other holistic therapies

Individual therapy offers people the opportunity to examine their thoughts, behaviors, and motivations. It is a critical component of any holistic treatment and recovery program.

Find Treatment Now

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, you are not alone. The comprehensive treatment you need is available at First Step Behavioral Health.

Contact our intake team now with questions. We will verify your insurance, help you find the right level of treatment, and schedule an intake as quickly as possible. Take the first step of your recovery journey by contacting us today.


  1. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy: A review of research-supported group treatments for drug use disorders
  2. American Psychological Association (APA): Substance abuse counseling: An individualized approach.

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