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The Best Type of Psychotherapy For Drug Addicts

August 25th, 2008 · No Comments

Psychotherapy is an important tool in the struggle to overcome drug abuse. Various forms of psychotherapy have been employed to help individuals understand the past and learn problem solving strategies for dealing with many of life’s pressing problems.

Psychotherapy is known by different names such as therapy, talk therapy, counseling, and psychosocial therapy. Psychotherapy is an important part of a comprehensive drug treatment program and any program you enter should include individual as well as group counseling sessions.

Psychotherapy can help in many ways. Some of these include:

* Discovering effective coping techniques and new possibilities for solving problems. Many substance abusers report using drugs to help them cope with life. Discovering alternative ways of dealing with the ups and downs of life is vital to lasting recovery.

* Understanding some of the reasons for abusing substances.

* Learning to identify and change behaviors and/or thoughts that can adversely affect your life.

* Exploring important relationships and experiences and learning how they may be helping or hindering your recovery.

* Learning to set and reach realistic goals. Understanding how to think in terms of goals is an effective strategy in overcoming depression.

Psychotherapy is important in alleviating symptoms of mental illness that may be underlying factors in substance abuse. Therapy may be short-term or long-term, depending on the individual situation. Psychotherapy sessions can be conducted in group, family or individual therapy settings.

Before entering a therapy program it’s important to learn about the kind of therapy that seems most compatible with both your personality and your problems. Your relationship with a therapist is also critically important. If you start with a therapist and don’t feel your needs are being met, find another therapist or form of therapy. You don’t want to waste time or money on a situation that is not working.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

One form of psychotherapy that has been especially helpful to a wide variety of individuals, including addicts, is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavior therapy is based on the premise that our thoughts (cognition) and beliefs determine to a large extent how we feel.

In CBT, clients learn to develop healthy and productive ways of thinking while recognizing and changing thought patterns that cause distress. CBT is designed to help identify and change distorted thinking that leads to feelings and behaviors that are self-defeating or self-destructive.

Students of CBT learn to challenge their negative thinking through journaling and other written formats that help to identify thought patterns and beliefs that cause destructive behavior. They then learn ways to dispute these negative thoughts and find rational solutions that give them a positive sense of control rather than the feeling that they are helpless pawns in the game of life. People in this form of psychotherapy learn strategies to manage anger, anxiety, and depression, which often go hand in hand with substance abuse.

While CBT won’t work miracles overnight , it has been shown to be highly effective in changing the kinds of hopeless and self-defeating thoughts that can lead to substance abuse.

While psychotherapy is an essential tool in recovery, it is important to understand that if the physiological imbalances that are causing substance abuse problems are not corrected, the benefits of psychological counseling will be marginal. In other words . . . “talk therapy” alone will not work!! The best approach to recovery is a combination of both physical and mental intervention.

Learn more about Healing Drug Addicts.

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