A Place for Everyone: Individual Therapy in Holistic Addiction Recovery
Traditional environments for addiction treatment, such as 12-step programs and intensive inpatient therapy, are historically notorious for having high relapse rates. Within such settings, individual therapy has had a measurable effect in approximately two out of every three cases. As a result, more recently developed programs have leaned more towards group therapy, and other alternative forms of treatment. The effectiveness of community-based support, and of an almost academic, classroom-style cognitive therapy environment has gathered a significant following for group therapy as a direct means of improving client engagement.
With the introduction of mindfulness-based treatment and holistic therapy, however, there has been some renewed focus on the situational benefits of individual therapy. The group-based approach may not be the best fit for everyone, and an approach based on a client’s individual needs requires that all available avenues be considered. The 66% success rate of individual therapy in a traditional, inpatient-based environment corresponds to the measured effectiveness of other forms of therapy within that same environment. With mindfulness-based craving control and dialectical behavioral therapy cutting relapse rates in half elsewhere, is there any reason to fear the use of individual therapy and counseling—for those who demonstrate greater receptiveness to the approach?
Benefits of Individual Therapy
There are a wide range of treatments which can be incorporated into an individual therapy program. Many holistic therapies, including acupuncture and sound healing, are preferentially administered in a private setting. Other programs that widely employ individual therapy include family therapy, motivational interviewing, and certain types of therapy based upon artistic or creative expression. Some people have a much easier time approaching their needs and personal feelings in a one-on-one environment, or in the company of people they know and trust, than they do in a group setting.
This is something which may in itself be addressed through trust-building and therapy, as through dual diagnostics treatment—but it can’t be forced. As with all other aspects of recovery, it must be undertaken at a pace to which the client may adapt. Some individuals only wind up attending community-based support groups, of their own choosing, much later in their treatment cycles than when group therapy would normally commence. Everything depends upon a person’s situation: what they need, where their addiction is rooted, and what challenges they face on the journey to sobriety.
Flexible Treatment: No Size Fits All
Individual treatments which are based in mindfulness and intentional living, on individual needs, and on the instruction of valuable new life skills all share two things in common. First, and arguably foremost, they are broadly applicable. For example, clients don’t simply learn new coping skills through dialectical behavioral therapy. They also learn new ways in which to teach themselves new skills in the future. This is key to DBT’s remarkable effectiveness in curbing relapse rates, regardless of the setting in which it is employed.
Secondly, these treatments are just as widely adaptable as they are applicable. They can be adjusted for a range of settings, such as group and individual therapy models. They can be adapted to fit a variety of environments, including inpatient treatment, sober living environments, transitional living and an intensive outpatient program. They are ideally suited to meeting the needs of the individual client, and are just as effective in individual therapy treatments as they are elsewhere—provided that such is the right fit for a given individual’s needs.