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Addiction Therapy

People attending therapy group meeting for addiction therapy in a rehab center

Published: October 2, 2023

When it comes to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, there are countless program options, treatment services, and different facilities to choose from.

Addiction rehab is a comprehensive kind of treatment that is often tailored to the individual based on their needs and their healthcare provider’s recommendations.

One key type of treatment utilized in a wide variety of rehab programs is addiction therapy. It can be immensely helpful in your recovery journey and is often a service people choose to continue even after treatment.

Scroll on to learn all about alcohol and drug addiction therapy including the different kinds of therapy, the benefits of therapy, and more.

About Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Addiction therapy is an evidence-based treatment that aids in relapse prevention and helps people manage thoughts and behaviors in addiction recovery. Oftentimes, rehab programs involve some kind of talk therapy, but alternative therapies are also very popular.

Therapy in substance abuse treatment can help people with mental health conditions, negative thinking and behavioral patterns, and provide an outlet to help people work through their thoughts. It can be done individually or in groups.

Many programs include therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment program including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare treatment.

Therapy may follow other treatment services such as detoxification (detox) to manage withdrawal symptoms.

What Happens in Addiction Treatment Therapy?

Addiction treatment therapy is all about reframing mindsets and accomplishing certain goals. These goals will be different from individual to individual, of course, but there are some general goals most people aim for when participating in addiction therapy.

Some goals of addiction therapy can include:

  • Uncovering the cause of your addiction
  • Identifying healthier coping skills to deal with cravings and dependency
  • Working through trauma
  • Treating mental health disorders
  • Learning to build a support system
  • Working through any emotions that arise during recovery
  • Finding a sense of purpose or motivation
  • Identifying addiction triggers

There are a number of areas to work on in addiction therapy, which can be achieved by participating in various types of addiction therapy.

Types of Therapy in Addiction Treatment

The following are the most common types of addiction therapy found in reputable rehab programs.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is a commonly offered type of addiction therapy. Counseling is a great way to address stress and other emotions you may encounter while going through your recovery journey.

If you participate in counseling, you can expect to meet one-on-one with a counselor or therapist who will talk with you about your goals, emotions, and triggers in regard to your addiction.

Individual counseling is great for helping people work through stress, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness during addiction treatment. It can also help people learn to manage triggers and cope without substance abuse.

Family Therapy

In family therapy, the family members of the individual in treatment will attend therapy with them. This type of therapy may follow some sort of family intervention and is offered in both inpatient and outpatient programs.

If you choose family therapy, you can expect:

  • To talk with your family members and your therapist about your addiction
  • To learn how this intertwines with the relationships within your family
  • For your family to be encouraged to share their feelings about your substance abuse.

Family therapy can be very beneficial, as it helps the individual work through their emotions and possibly challenging familial dynamics.

On the other hand, family therapy can help strengthen relationships and allow individuals and their families to understand one another’s perspectives, all of which can aid in recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is similar to individual therapy in regard to topics and approach. However, group therapy is done in a setting with a therapist, yourself, and peers who are also on their addiction recovery journey.

Much like individual counseling you can expect to talk about your mindset and triggers in regard to addiction. Something that makes group therapy stand out from other therapy options is that you will also spend time listening to your peers share their experiences with addiction.

Group therapy is beneficial in improving your mindset, identifying triggers, and learning new coping skills. Additionally, it is a great way to make new connections and friendships as well as provide a sense of support and remind you that you are not alone in your addiction.

There are also support groups that implement group therapy, for example, 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a kind of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that focuses primarily on changing behaviors and behavioral patterns. It is often used for mental health disorders.

There are several kinds of behavior therapy including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a kind of behavioral therapy that is very goal-oriented. CBT focuses on how thoughts and emotions can affect your behavior and teaches you to adopt healthier thinking patterns and unlearn damaging ones.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT is very similar to CBT in regard to focusing on thoughts and behavior, but different in that the goals of DBT are to accept the reality of one’s life while learning to change unhelpful behaviors.
  • Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing is a type of therapy that focuses on increasing a person’s motivation to change their behaviors. It follows the acronym RULE: resist the righting reflex; understand the patient’s own motivations; listen with empathy; and empower the patient.
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT): REBT focuses on actions to identify and unlearn unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns.

While behavioral therapy can be used for people with any kind of substance addiction, it has been found to be especially helpful for people with opioid addictions.

Matrix Model Therapy

Matrix Model therapy is a very unique type of addiction therapy. It is a treatment model that focuses on behavioral change via multiple treatment services.

Typically, Matrix Model therapy combines CBT, family therapy, group therapy, family education, social support, substance abuse testing, as well as other approaches.

It has been found to be especially beneficial for people with stimulant addictions such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamine. The model was originally developed in response to the cocaine epidemic in the 1980s.

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a type of therapy that focuses on positive behavioral change by providing rewards or incentives for certain milestones and progress in recovery.

Incentives in contingency management are typically monetary, but can be other kinds of rewards. It has been found to be beneficial because it reinforces positive behavior, behavioral changes, and sobriety.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapies are different from the previously listed therapies in that they are not talk-focused. This kind of therapy focuses on experiences and activities.

Some common experiential therapies offered include:

  • Music therapy: Music therapy involves the use of music in therapeutic ways. This can include listening to, playing, and composing music.
  • Art therapy: Art therapy can involve many different kinds of art. It helps to guide people through their emotions and channel their energy into art.
  • Adventure therapy: Adventure therapy uses challenging adventure activities as a means of therapy. This kind of therapy can help with developing a growth mindset and learning to channel emotions into activity.

Alternative Therapy

Alternative therapy is another unconventional subset of therapy. Alternative therapies are more natural-based, homeopathic/holistic therapies that are different from talk therapy and often not derived from Western medicine.

Some alternative therapy options include:

  • Yoga therapy: Yoga therapy relies on the practice of yoga to help people through recovery. Moving the body can be beneficial for working through emotions and dealing with triggers.
  • Tai chi: Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practice that is used for physical and mental health. It can be beneficial as therapy, as it focuses on slow movements, meditation, and breathing practices.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine practice that uses needles in parts of the body to treat health issues. Some people have found it to be beneficial for their mental health as well. It can provide time to decompress and relax.


Biofeedback therapy is a kind of therapy that focuses on the connection between your mind and your body. It narrows in on the feedback your body is giving you and teaches you to make small changes to your body’s reaction.

In biofeedback therapy, you can expect to be connected to electrical pads to read your body’s health data. You’ll focus on breathing, your heart rate, and muscle responses.

When you are under stress or other emotions that trigger addiction, your body can respond by breathing faster, increasing your heart rate, tensing up, increasing your temperature, and more which can increase stress. Biofeedback therapy teaches you to control these responses and, in turn, lessen your stress.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that focuses on moving your eyes a specific way while processing trauma.

EMDR is particularly helpful for people who have experienced trauma or have other mental health issues that trigger their addiction.

EMDR consists of eight stages over multiple therapy sessions that focus on the natural healing process of the brain.

Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy is another kind of talk therapy. It focuses primarily on awareness and being mindful in your brain and body.

You can expect to learn how to be more aware of your surroundings, thoughts, emotions, triggers, and more when you choose to participate in mindfulness therapy.

It can be beneficial in identifying triggers and teaching your body to respond in a healthier manner which can decrease substance abuse and risk of relapse.

Animal Therapy

Animal therapy is any kind of therapy that uses animals to help people process addiction and recovery. Equine therapy is one of the more widely known animal therapies, which uses activities with horses such as grooming, riding, and more to process emotions and stress.

Animal therapy can be beneficial in processing negative emotions and thought patterns as well as providing a healthy outlet and coping mechanism. Many people find connecting with animals’ souls to be very therapeutic.

Benefits of Therapy for Substance Abuse

Therapy for substance use disorders (SUD) can greatly benefit many areas of your life. While people may start therapy with a specific goal in mind, many may find that additional parts of their life have drastically improved as a direct result.

Benefits of addiction therapy can include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Decreased risk of relapse
  • Longer-lasting recovery
  • Healthier coping mechanisms
  • More positive outlook
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved academic and professional life

Therapy can also indirectly improve your physical health. This is because many people find mental health issues to be the root of their addiction. With treatment for these mental health issues, many people are able to achieve recovery and avoid relapse.

Find Addiction Therapy Programs Near You

Addiction therapy is a very powerful tool in SUD recovery. It can benefit many parts of your life, is used in a majority of treatment programs, and is offered in countless formats.

Are you or your loved one ready to take the first step in your recovery journey? Give our helpline a call today to find addiction treatment centers in your area.

Addiction Therapy FAQs

What is the best psychological therapy for addiction?

The best psychological therapy for addiction can vary from person to person. This is because certain therapies are more beneficial for certain kinds of addiction. For example, behavioral therapy is great for people with opioid addictions or a dual diagnosis.

The kind of therapy that is best for you will also depend on your personal needs and goals. By discussing these with your treatment plan team, you’ll be able to decide which type of therapy may help you through recovery.

How effective is therapy in addiction treatment?

Addiction therapy is a very effective treatment option that can greatly decrease the risk of relapse and encourage long-lasting recovery. Specific efficacy rates vary between therapy types.

How much does therapy cost for addiction treatment?

Most addiction therapies are included within structured programs such as MAT, inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare programs. That being said, the cost of therapy is built into the cost of the program.

Here are some average program costs to give you an estimate:

  • Residential treatment: $9,766
  • Non-methadone outpatient treatment: $2,228
  • Intensive outpatient treatment: $4,939
  • Therapeutic community (sober housing): $32,523

For more information about these programs, be sure to give our phone number a call today.

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