Overcoming drug or alcohol addiction is a difficult process. However, no one ever said it would be easy, right? To make sure your recovery path is a one-way trip to a better life, it’s important that you get the highest quality treatment possible. Psychotherapy can help you explore your past, present and future in recovery. Finding the right place to practice psychotherapy in Florida can be a little intimidating. We would be honored to be the ones to guide you through this process and provide a treatment that’s just right for you.

What is Psychotherapy?

woman talks to man in psychotherapy appointment

A form of talk therapy, psychotherapy is a key part of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Therapists mostly use it during individual counseling, using techniques such as behavioral therapy to get to the cause behind your addiction. The goal is to analyze and modify destructive thought patterns, which helps people stay clean far beyond treatment.

Psychotherapy may also be effective in treating co-occurring mental health conditions. These conditions feed drug and alcohol abuse, just as the substance abuse feeds the mental illness. Qualified therapists can address both issues at once with dual diagnosis treatment.

Individual therapy helps patients work past problems that trigger them to abuse drugs or alcohol. These triggers may include:

  • Everyday stress from work, home life or general anxiety
  • Environmental cues, such as going to places that caused past trauma
  • Socializing with others who use drugs and alcohol

By going through therapy in rehab, patients like you learn how to be strong against triggers. It’s possible to learn how to stop cravings and cope with daily life with continued freedom from alcohol or drug abuse. Therapy is the path to that learning and freedom.

How Does Psychotherapy Help?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health, more than a quarter of American adults undergo depression, anxiety or another mental disorder in any given year. Others need help coping with a serious illness, losing weight or stopping smoking. Not only that, but people also struggle to cope with relationship troubles, job loss, the death of a loved one, stress, and/or substance abuse.

These problems can often become quite overwhelming. Finding the right place to practice psychotherapy in Florida is really important. We pride ourselves in tailoring treatment for our patients, making sure that all their unique needs are met. 

Psychotherapy can improve you or a loved one’s life by helping:

  • Understand the behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to his or her illness and learn how to replace those behaviors with healthier habits
  • Understand and identify the life problems or events — like a major illness, a death in the family, a loss of a job, or a divorce — that is affecting them mentally and emotionally. The goal is to identify issues and old patterns, and to then replace them.
  • Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life
  • Learn healthy coping techniques and problem-solving skills to alleviate pain caused by the mental condition 

Specific Types of Psychotherapy 

  • Individual: This therapy involves only the patient and the therapist.
  • Group: Two or more patients may participate in therapy at the same time. Patients have the ability to share experiences and learn that others feel the same way and have had the same experiences, thus isolating them less.
  • Marital/couples: This type of therapy helps spouses and partners understand why their loved one has a mental disorder, what changes in communication and behaviors can help, and helpful coping skills to practice. This type of therapy can also be used to help a couple that is struggling with different parts of their relationship.
  • Family: Because family is a key part of the team that helps people with mental illness get better, it can be beneficial for family members to understand what their loved one is going through, how they themselves can cope, and what they can do to help.

Different Kinds of Psychotherapy in Florida

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is centered on the assumption that a person is having emotional problems due to unresolved, generally unconscious conflicts, often stemming from childhood. The goal of this kind of therapy is for the patient to understand and cope better with these feelings by talking about the experiences. Psychodynamic therapy is practiced over a period of at least several months, although it can last longer, even years.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy targets the behaviors and interactions a patient has with their family, as well as their friends. The main goal of this therapy is to improve communication skills and increase self-esteem during a short period of time. It typically lasts three to four months and works well for depression caused by mourning, relationship issues, significant life events, and social isolation.

Mental illness can often be triggered by:

  • Loss (grief)
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Changing roles (such as becoming a mother, or a caregiver)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with mental conditions to identify and change inaccurate perceptions that they may have regarding themselves and the world around them. New ways of thinking are established by directing attention to both the “correct” and “incorrect” assumptions they make about themselves and others.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people who:

  • Think and behave in ways that trigger more issues
  • Suffer from depression and/or anxiety disorders
  • Refuse or are unable to take antidepressant medication

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy used for high-risk patients. In other words, those who may be called tough-to-treat patients. The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy – acceptance and change, brings better results than either one alone. DBT helps a person target unhealthy behaviors such as lying and self-harm through keeping daily diaries, individual and group therapy and phone coaching. 

DBT was initially created to treat people with suicidal behavior and borderline personality disorder. But it has now been used to help other mental health problems that put a person’s safety, relationships, work, and emotional well-being at risk.

DBT focuses these four ways to improve life skills:

  • Distress tolerance: Feeling intense emotions such as anger without reacting on impulse or using self-harm or substance abuse to worsen distress.
  • Emotion regulation: Recognizing, labeling, and changing emotions accordingly.
  • Mindfulness: Becoming more self-aware, as well as attentive to the present moment.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Navigating conflict and interacting assertively.

Advice For Starting Psychotherapy

Therapy works best when you attend all scheduled appointments. The effectiveness of therapy depends on your active participation. It requires time, effort, and regularity.

As you begin therapy, establish some goals with your therapist. Then spend time periodically reviewing your progress with your therapist.

If you don’t like the therapist’s approach or if you don’t think the therapist is helping you, talk to him or her about it and seek a second opinion if both agree, but don’t discontinue therapy abruptly.

Starting psychotherapy in Florida can be scary at first. All of us can be hesitant to change at times. We assure you that taking the first step in recovery can never be a bad decision, especially when you have us to help you through each and every step. The following tips are good practices to implant as you begin your journey:

  • Identify sources of stress: Try keeping a journal and keep track of stressful as well as positive events.
  • Restructure priorities: Emphasize positive, effective behavior.
  • Make time for recreational and pleasurable activities.
  • Communicate: Explain and establish your needs to someone you trust; write in a journal to express your feelings. Make sure you are processing your emotions in a healthy way.
  • Try to focus on positive results and finding methods for reducing, as well as managing stress.

It is important to remember that therapy involves evaluating your thoughts and behaviors, identifying stresses that contribute to your condition, and working to modify both. Those who actively participate in therapy recover more quickly and have fewer relapses.

In addition, psychotherapy in Florida addresses specific causes of mental illness; it is not a “quick fix.” It’s a longer process than just taking medication, but there is evidence to suggest that the effects last a lot longer. Medication may be needed immediately in cases of severe mental illness, but the combination of therapy and medicine tends to be a better route to take.

Psychotherapy in Florida Begins at 1st Step

A licensed therapist works with individuals in a one-on-one setting. That therapist will use proven techniques to help you work past trauma, depression, anxiety, triggers and addiction, itself. In some cases, therapists can also lead group psychotherapy sessions.

Besides psychotherapy, facilities often use other proven methods, including:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Holistic therapies
  • Life skills development

Regardless of the methodology, the best addiction treatment programs strive to help individuals recover in a safe, trusting environment. Therapists, counselors and other staff members help individuals develop better self-awareness, higher self-esteem, stronger interpersonal skills and peer empathy. These attributes are the building blocks for sustainable sobriety.

At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, multiple forms of addiction therapy help patients achieve lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is ready to make a change, 1st Step Behavioral Health provides the focused treatment you need. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health now at (866) 319-6126 and take the first step to lasting recovery.

References:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy

About the Author: Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.