When people engage in addiction treatment at an outpatient rehab center, they generally participate in both group therapy and individual therapy sessions. Some people engage in family therapy, depending on their circumstances and family dynamic. In group and individual talk therapy sessions, clients learn the recovery skills they need to get sober and stay sober. They also learn how to cope with challenging or potentially triggering situations without resorting to drug or alcohol abuse.
There are many approaches to therapy, each with their own style and underlying philosophy. The most commonly utilized approach to therapy for treating addiction is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy helps clients address their unhealthy, self-destructive, and unproductive behaviors. There are many treatment approaches that utilize the behavioral therapeutic philosophy. These effective techniques are listed below.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, is the most popular type of behavioral therapy, and it is arguably the one most backed up by research for treating addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is demonstrably effective for a wide variety of addictions. CBT is based on the idea that problematic behaviors and symptoms of emotional distress are caused by unhealthy and inaccurate ways of thinking. People who participate in CBT treatment learn new ways of thinking about and conceptualizing their problems, and in the process they learn to recognize and alter their maladaptive behavior patterns.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly helpful for substance use disorders, since addictions involve both thoughts and behaviors. CBT provides clients with new coping skills, and it helps them identify risky situations and develop new ways of responding to them. A major emphasis in cognitive-behavioral therapy is preventing relapse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effectively paired with many other techniques, and it is used in both individual and group therapy. It is also effective for comorbid mental health disorders.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy, often shortened to DBT, is technically a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Originally based on the principles of CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy incorporates mindfulness techniques derived from Buddhism. Whereas CBT focuses on changing maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors, DBT does so while also encouraging “radical self-acceptance.”
Dialectical behavioral therapy has been found to be the most effective treatment for borderline personality disorder, as well as other severe personality disorders and mood problems. Clients engaged in DBT work to reduce their cravings by accepting them and letting them pass. Dialectical behavioral therapy also helps clients give up actions that reinforce substance abuse, avoid opportunities or situations where they might be likely to relapse, and learn healthy coping techniques.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing, or MI, is a technique for helping clients learn to embrace recovery. Many people have mixed feelings about quitting drugs and alcohol, and these can be an impediment toward their recovery. By resolving their ambivalence, MI therapy can help clients embrace their treatment full-heartedly. Motivational interviewing also encourages clients to play an active role in their treatment, rather than feeling simply like a passive recipient of treatment. Clients work with their therapist to develop their own motivation and an individualized treatment plan that they can embrace. This gives them a stronger sense of control and connection to their treatment.
The Matrix Model
The Matrix Model is actually an assortment of therapeutic techniques that are combined. It was originally developed to help treat individuals who suffer from addictions to stimulants, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and Adderall. Clients learn about the nature of their addictions, receive guidance and support from a trained therapist, and engage in self-help programs. With The Matrix Model, the clinician functions as a coach and a teacher, and they aim to foster an encouraging and positive relationship. The goal of The Matrix Model is to improve the self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth while rewarding and reinforcing good behaviors. Research shows that The Matrix Model reduces drug and alcohol use as well as dangerous behaviors.
Contingency Management (CM)
Contingency management is effective for a wide variety of substance use disorders, including addiction to opioids, alcohol, stimulants, and marijuana. It is designed to reinforce sobriety by rewarding positive behaviors that are conducive to long term sobriety. By providing rewards to clients, CM increases the likelihood that a client will continue to engage in treatment. This is a critical benefit, since relapse and dropping out of rehab are the greatest dangers people face in recovery.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT, like cognitive behavioral therapy, emphasizes the importance of thought patterns. Clients work with a trained clinician to understand their own thoughts and develop new ways of thinking about their problems that are more positive and rational. By developing more accurate ways of thinking, clients improve their emotional outlook. REBT conceives of negative emotions as a result of fallacious reasoning. For example, thinking “everyone hates me” is a result of the illogical belief that one can read minds. Rational emotive behavior therapy helps people change their situation from within, so that clients are not reliant on external circumstances of their happiness and sobriety.