Individual therapy is a critical component of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. At Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we start treatment with therapy immediately so that we can get to know the client and figure out what their specific needs are. In addition to a medical evaluation, this is one of the cornerstones of starting successful treatment.

Individual Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Individual therapy gives the client the chance to delve into their emotions and factors that may contribute to their addictive behaviors. It is a supplement to group therapy because it allows the client to speak about things they may not be comfortable speaking about in front of a group, or that they want to speak about at greater length, with a trained and licensed mental health professional.

Addiction is a multifaceted disease with contributing factors that may be difficult to speak about openly, such as trauma, abuse, failed relationships, and legal matters.  Individual therapy sessions allow the individual to comfortably talk about these sensitive and personal issues. It allows people to freely discuss these topics in a safe, discreet, and private setting.

Individual therapy may be scheduled weekly or several times a week, depending upon the patient’s specific needs. Upon intake, patients are assigned a primary therapist who will conduct their individual sessions. This allows the therapist and the patient to build a trusting therapeutic relationship.

Types of Individual Therapy

There are many different styles of therapy and many different effective therapeutic methods professionals can employ in treating patients who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. At Discovery Institute of New Jersey, our team of therapists uses each of these different techniques to treat our clients and every aspect of their addictions. Different individual therapy techniques include:

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

This method of therapy helps individuals to develop coping skills and healthy behaviors to assist them in handling difficult or intense emotions. Therapists focus on reducing harmful coping mechanisms and replacing them with positive skills, such as mindfulness exercises.

This form of therapy teaches clients how to deal with emotional disturbances in a productive way. Also, DBT is useful for those who suffer from addiction because people who are in recovery often do not possess healthy coping mechanisms. Learning these skills will help recovering individuals to avoid using drugs and alcohol to numb themselves when difficult or emotional situations arise in their lives.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on how a client’s belief systems or thoughts influence their emotions and actions. Those who struggle with addiction often develop unhealthy core beliefs about themselves based on negative thinking patterns. But the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to identify these negative patterns of thinking, challenge them, and build new, healthy thinking patterns and core beliefs. The result is healthier behaviors and less emotional distress.

Also, those in recovery can learn more about how to become more mindfulness-based. It encourages people to think more about the here and now rather than focusing on the past. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach that often gives people the tools and skills they need in order to face the challenges and triggers that may occur, both during and after treatment.

Trauma processing

In some individual therapy sessions, clients may need to address traumatic experiences that have contributed to their addictive use of substances like drugs and alcohol. In these circumstances, our therapists are trained and experienced in guiding patients through recalling difficult emotions and memories in order to process them in a safe environment.

Identifying traumatic experiences and triggers is an important part of recovery, and therapists at the Discovery Institute may focus on this during individual therapy sessions, depending upon the client’s needs.

Talk Therapy

Sometimes, it’s important to feel listened to. Many people have difficulty expressing their emotions and feelings before entering treatment because they can’t identify their feelings or because they don’t feel safe. Our therapists utilize classic talk therapy to allow patients opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings in a supportive and healthy atmosphere. This builds patient confidence and helps clients to work through many of the factors that may contribute to their substance dependence disorder.

The Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a vital part of recovery. At the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we believe in giving our clients the best possible foundation on which to build a lifetime of health and well-being.

Providing individuals with access to individual therapy sessions in which they can confront their issues with interpersonal relations, work, school, society, family, trauma, and internal emotions is part of what makes our program so effective at treating substance misuse.

There are countless benefits to individual therapy. These benefits include:

  • Reduced rates of depression
  • Reduced general and social anxiety
  • Increased self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Introduction of healthy coping skills
  • A safe outlet for thoughts and feelings
  • Reduced levels of stress
  • Increased emotional intelligence and identification of emotional states
  • Reduced feelings of isolation; fostering a sense of connection to other people
  • Reduction of addictive or compulsive behaviors, such as drug use or self-harm
  • Improved relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners
  • Improved social skills and communication skills
  • Reduced symptoms of mental disorders
  • Positive behavioral changes
  • Increased compassion and empathy
  • Boosted confidence
  • Assertiveness in communication
  • Fosters inner peace and serenity
  • Improved cognitive functioning

Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy 

When it comes to beginning the addiction treatment process, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of what to expect. One way to do so is to learn more about the difference between the two main types of addiction therapy. 

Group therapy and individual therapy are the two most well-known categories of counseling in substance use treatment. While both approaches to therapy are helpful and important, they both offer varying benefits and advantages. They also have different goals and strive to produce different results. So, in most cases, people in recovery experience both individual counseling and group counseling.

One of the main differences between individual therapy and group therapy is the setting. In group therapy, multiple people gather together with one or more therapists. But, an individual therapy session involves only one individual and a therapist. This one-on-one quality is one of the reasons why individual counseling is so beneficial.

The topics of discussion may also differ when it comes to group and individual therapy. For instance, in a group therapy session, individuals may spend time talking about each other’s stories, listening to one another’s challenges, and sharing in each other’s victories. They may work together to develop healthy interpersonal skills and get a deeper understanding of working with others.

Individual therapy, on the other hand, is more about the individual. So, this type of therapy is more about personal, internal growth. This type of therapy facilitates the improvement of emotional and mental health by focusing on the person in recovery. It encourages individuals to think more critically and deeply about their own lives, experiences, challenges, and victories.

Here at Discovery Institute, we believe that there is value in group therapy meetings. But, we also believe that our members can find much of what they need through individual counseling. So, we offer both of these beneficial types of therapy at our facility, knowing that those who come to us for help can grow and learn with the help of individual and group counseling.

Therapy at Discovery Institute

At the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we employ a staff of experienced therapists who are passionate about treating addiction and mental health disorders. We understand that when individuals come to Discovery, they may be struggling with a myriad of issues, such as unemployment, strained family relationships, broken romantic relationships, histories of trauma or abuse, and little to no healthy coping mechanisms. 

Our therapists are not only skilled and trained at addressing these issues clinically, but they also approach these matters with compassion. Each and every person who comes to Discovery Institute is treated with dignity and respect in order to foster trust and facilitate complete, true, and whole healing in the lives of each individual in recovery.

Privacy and confidentiality are commitments to our patients that we take very seriously. Every client at our facility can expect high-quality individual therapy in a private setting, where their process will be respected and protected.

Our goal at the Discovery Institute is to help our patients work through the many aspects of their lives that fuel addictive behaviors and help them to create new, healthy patterns of living that will support them in lifelong recovery from addiction and alcoholism.

So, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, know that hope and help are available. No one should have to fight against substance dependence alone. That’s why we strive to make sure each person has the resources and support they need as they work to overcome addiction. 

We offer understanding and genuine support right here at Discovery Institute. So, don’t wait any longer to begin your journey to recovery. Reach out to our compassionate and professional staff today and allow us to help you start moving forward!

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.