Choosing the Right Kind of Therapy Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

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Your loved one just admitted he’s hooked on drugs. He says he’s ready to get help. He’s open to whatever counseling will help him reach recovery, but what therapy is best?

Often, many of us assume rehab treatment is a standard set of steps that everyone goes through in a similar way. While this has some truth to it (many experiences may be similar), it’s not fully accurate. A variety of therapy methods are currently available, all of which benefit different people and circumstances in different ways.

What’s best for you or loved one? See if any of the following stories sound familiar:

What’s on Your Mind?

Jeff felt like his mind was his enemy. He constantly battled thoughts of low self-worth and despair. These thought patterns kept him in a cycle of drinking; he didn’t know how else to cope with them.

Jeff’s counselor utilized cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) as a way to encourage Jeff to question these recurring thoughts. Their goal was to phase out the negative thoughts and learn new ways to deal with his mental state – other than drinking. Jeff’s therapist helped him explore the consequences of continued alcohol use and how to avoid situations that encouraged Jeff to drink. Jeff learned that this method of treatment is common for those struggling with alcohol, marijuana, meth and cocaine.

What’s in Your Heart?

Picture a category 5 hurricane. A class 5 tornado. A 10.0 earthquake. This was Liz’s emotional state – on a daily basis. Her intense emotions overwhelmed her. She didn’t know how to regulate or cope with them, so she turned to drugs for relief. Instead of finding solace, Liz found addiction. The painkillers she was popping at every opportunity were not healing the ache. In fact, she often resorted to cutting herself so she could focus on the physical instead of the emotional pain.

As these issues surfaced in therapy, Liz’s counselor used dialectical behavioral therapy to help Liz learn how to handle her emotions and eliminate her self-destructive behaviors. They focused on regulating emotions, tolerating distress, mindfulness and interpersonal relations.

This skill-building approach was very effective for Liz’s addiction. Her therapist told her she often uses this approach with patients addicted to opiates and alcohol, as well as those struggling with depression.

What’s in Your Family?

Kaitlin couldn’t make it through one day without a huge blow-up with her parents. Shouts could be heard from their house every evening. Her mom and dad were angry about her drug use. Why did they think she used in the first place? She needed SOME way to escape the constant tension and anger in their household.

Kaitlin and her parents started counseling sessions. Their therapist employed family behavior therapy to help Kaitlin and her family deal with these issues. They addressed the substance use problems, but also worked on the family conflict issues. They developed behavioral strategies to improve their home-life. They set goals for new behaviors, reviewed progress each session and provided rewards for each other when they were accomplished. Kaitlin’s counselor explained these methods are effective in both adults and adolescents, but are especially effective when patients need to address substance abuse and co-occurring problems in the home.

What’s in Store?

Did you find yourself or your loved one in any of these scenarios? As you look at the many types of therapy available, keep in mind what your root issues may be and where those unique therapy needs should be focused.

  • Behavior therapy focuses on actions.
  • Cognitive therapy concentrates on thoughts.
  • Interpersonal therapy works on relationships with others.

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