- To help you address the underlying symptoms of your addiction or mental health condition.
- To support you throughout your ongoing recovery.
Today’s guide will help you to establish whether individual therapy is right for you.
What is Individual Counseling?
If you have been abusing alcohol or drugs to the extent of developing alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you should approach recovery as an ongoing process rather than a single time-limited event like detox.
The most effective addiction treatment programs do more than treat the physical symptoms of addition. Individual counseling can be a useful component of an integrated treatment plan alongside group counseling, MAT (medication-assisted treatment), and psychotherapy.
With individual counseling, you’ll have the chance to explore and fully address the emotional and mental aspects of your addiction. You’ll begin an ongoing dialogue with your counselor, and you’ll be invited to unpack issues you have buried deeply. You’ll also illuminate those perceptions and experiences that shaped your addiction. The more self-awareness you gain through counseling, the stronger your chances of fighting off relapse.
The aim of individual drug counseling or alcohol counseling is to help you achieve short-term goals directly linked to your addiction and recovery. Crucially, you’ll learn the requisite skills to restructure your life in a healthier way without resorting to substance abuse.
While many people use the terms therapy and counseling interchangeably, individual counseling and psychotherapy are not the same.
- Psychological counseling focuses on very specific issues. Your individual therapist aims to help you address a specific problem – addiction or stress management, for instance. Counseling may be based on problem-solving, or the focus may be on coping with problem areas and possibly avoiding those areas completely. Counseling tends to be much shorter-term than therapy.
- Psychotherapy is a long-term approach focusing on a wider range of issues. Psychotherapy is grounded on the principle that your patterns of thinking and behavior impact the way you interact with the world. There are many forms of psychotherapy. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) are most commonly applied to addiction treatment. The goal is help for the therapist to help clients to better manage stress, to understand behavior patterns running counter to their goals, and to regulate responses to stressful events and situations. When clients have co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, bipolar, or anxiety disorder, psychotherapy will address ways the mental illness impacts daily life for the client with an aim to managing symptoms more effectively.
Individual Counseling Services
At The District Recovery Community, individual counseling sessions will be foundational for your treatment and sustained recovery.
One-to-one counseling sessions give you the opportunity to examine your mindset, relationships, and life by working closely with a qualified counselor.
Here are 5 things you’ll learn during individual counseling sessions at TDRC:
- Acceptance: You can’t meaningfully pursue treatment for addiction until you accept that you have a problem. Unfortunately, denial is a common symptom of addiction, and there are many other reasons making it hard for clients to accept that they are addicted. Counseling can strengthen acceptance and promote the desire to engage with professional help to initiate your recovery.
- Exploring and addressing the root cause of your addiction: Your substance abuse may be a form of self-medication. You might be drinking or using drugs to avoid difficult ongoing life situations or to cope with challenging emotions. You’ll explore these issues with your individual counselor.
- Work on healing damaged relationships: Addiction is a family disease. You’ll almost certainly have damaged your relationships with friends and family as a result of your substance abuse and its consequences. Making amends with your loved ones is a key component of recovery. Your counselor can help guide you and encourage you as you begin the healing process. A counselor may also recommend that you connect with a family therapist.
- Learn to build healthier relationships: You need people in your life to help not hinder your recovery. Counseling can show you how to better select who you spend your time with.
- Sharpen your life skills: In individual counseling sessions, you’ll learn and practice decision-making strategies and problem-solving skills. This should help you to avoid the triggers for relapse by seeking healthier alternatives to substances as a method of coping with life’s routine stressors as you move on into sober living.
Using all of these tools, you should find it easier to stay focused on your long-term recovery. Individual therapy can help you to become more self-aware, more confident, and more secure in your sobriety.
Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy
If you want to engage with counseling, you have two main choices:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
Neither format is intrinsically superior, and both have their unique strengths and weaknesses. We will compare and contrast these two distinct delivery methods so you can determine the smoothest fit for you.
The following professionals can deliver individual counseling:
- Marriage counselor
- Family counselor
- Social worker
The following healthcare professionals can deliver individual counseling for addiction and/or mental health conditions:
- Marriage counselor
- Family counselor
- Social worker
You’ll explore the root cause of your addiction or mental health disorder. Sessions typically focus on imparting coping skills to navigate stress without substance use.
Individual counseling sessions may include various forms of behavioral therapy, such as:
- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
- Motivational interviewing
- Contingency management
Benefits of individual therapy
- One-to-one attention from counselor
- Comprehensive analysis and treatment
- Highly personalized to your specific needs
- Complete confidentiality
- More personal therapeutic alliance
- Fully flexible scheduling
- Sharpens communication skills
- Promotes development of self-awareness
- Effective for treating a variety of addictions and mental health disorders
Drawbacks of individual therapy
- More expensive than group counseling
- Motivation is required and this can be problematic
- No interaction with peers
Group therapy involves more than one person being treated simultaneously by at least one therapist or counselor.
Research shows that engaging in group therapy can help promote abstinence in addiction recovery, as well as proving effective for alleviating symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions.
The primary goal of group therapy is to apply what you learn in real-world settings. By helping you to correct destructive patterns of behavior, communicate more effectively in your closest relationships and harness coping skills to avoid relapse in recovery.
Benefits of group therapy
- Peer support
- Broader therapeutic alliance
- Socialization and communication skills
- Development of self-awareness
- Therapeutic benefits of sharing experiences
- Ability to model positive behaviors
Drawbacks of group therapy
- Inadvisable for shy, antisocial, or passive-aggressive individuals
- Not as personalized as individual therapy
- Less confidentiality
- Easy to be passive in a larger group
- Less personalized and focused therapeutic alliance.
- Not as flexible as individual therapy
Despite these drawbacks and the many advantages of individual counseling, there is growing evidence supporting the use of group therapy interventions for the treatment of substance abuse.
Is Individual Counseling Right for Me?
There is increasing supporting evidence for the effectiveness of individual counseling as a component of treatment for substance use disorder.
As outlined above, individual counseling and group counseling each have their strengths and weaknesses. Often, the two forms of counseling complement each other as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
According to APA (American Psychological Association), these are the most common signs indicating the use of individual therapy:
- Experiencing excessive distraction or worry
- Prolonged and overwhelming sense of grief or sadness
- No noticeable improvements to mood after help from loved ones
- Problems concentrating on professional obligations
- Struggling to cope with daily activities
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Substance abuse or alcohol abuse
- Exhibiting aggressive behaviors
- Harm yourself or others
Counseling at The District Recovery Community
If you have been searching for “individual counseling near me”, we can help you here at The District Recovery Community.
All counselors at TDRC are licensed drug addiction counselors and licensed therapists. You’ll experience the most reliable delivery of individual counseling in California as part of your personalized recovery program.
Additionally, you can benefit from an evidence-based array of supporting treatments like MAT, psychotherapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Programs at The District also give you access to a variety of holistic treatments.
We provide gender-specific outpatient programs at all levels of intensity, including IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs).