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Available Therapies in Residential Treatment

by Landmark Recovery

October 10, 2019
Therapies in Residential Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug dependence, sometimes residential treatment is the only workable option to help kickstart recovery.

If you’ve already decided that the benefits of inpatient rehab are worth exploring, it’s only natural that you’ll have scores of questions.

Perhaps the most frequently asked question of all is, “What types of therapy are available in a residential rehab program and what do they actually involve?”

When it comes to therapy, there isn’t a boilerplate solution that always works. When you arrive at residential rehab, you’ll be thoroughly assessed before any course of therapy is considered. Your health and patterns of substance abuse will be taken into account along with any history of relapse.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy. You’ll learn how to manage your problems effectively by changing how you think and behave.

CBT combines cognitive therapy – examining what you think – and behavior therapy – examining what you do – so you can change the way you feel and behave by altering the way you think about a situation.

Since problematic thoughts and feelings can end up compromising your sobriety and leading to relapse, CBT works well for treating addiction of all kinds. CBT is also useful for the treatment of co-occurring disorders.

The Psychiatric Clinics of North America shows that CBT has been used to considerable effect when treating a range of substance use disorders. CBT can be used as a standalone treatment or used in combination with other therapies. Any mental health or substance abuse treatment professional can study cognitive behavioral therapy in order to practice it in a clinical setting like a rehab center.

Since being developed by the Beck Institute, CBT has pushed itself into the forefront as one of the leading forms of treatment for substance abuse as well as depression, anxiety and other disorders that can affect your daily functioning.

While Dr Beck originally lasered in on patients with debilitating depression who failed to respond to more traditional therapy, the same modality has been rolled out to help treat those struggling with addiction.

The primary goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy include:

  • The ability to recognize any thoughts that are destructive or distorted. If you find yourself feeling that you’ll never be able to quit drinking or that everyone hates you, you’ll be able to act on those feelings the right way.
  • Replacing toxic thoughts with much more positive responses can be amazingly effective. Reframe your thoughts so that you feel you can get sober with a lot of hard work and help from others or the many people in your life who do care about you.
  • Relating to the world and to other people in a much more constructive manner.
  • Altering the way in which you respond to the normal stressors and triggers that would ordinarily have you reaching for a drink or rolling a joint.

One of the most useful ways CBT can be applied to treating any form of substance abuse concerns this latter point about triggers. When you start down the path to sobriety, you’ll face endless temptation and triggers that could easily lead to relapse if not managed properly. If your default reaction to any form of conflict with your partner sends you reaching for drink or drugs, you’ll learn how to better communicate so you can resolve these issues constructively.

Where many forms of therapy are grounded in exploring the past, CBT focuses fully on the current problems that need solving right now.

CBT works in both individual and group settings and you’ll be able to share your strategies for coping with trained staff and/or peers.

While CBT might not cure the underlying symptoms, you should notice a dramatic difference in your ability to cope with stressors if you engage in a course of this therapy during residential treatment for alcohol or drug dependence.


Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) is often used to treat several mental illnesses like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) at the same time as dealing with substance use disorder.

This form of therapy was developed at the Linehan Institute and it’s similar in principle to CBT since it utilizes a problem-solving approach. While originally used to help patients with borderline personality disorder deal with powerful emotions. Over the years, DBT has been used with a great deal of success to treat addiction, depression, anxiety and other more serious psychiatric conditions.

The key aims of DBT are to:

  • Boost self-esteem.
  • Impart general stress-management skills.
  • Remove triggers from your life when you start down the route of recovery.
  • Encourage better coping with painful and intense emotions present themselves.
  • Push you toward a state of self-acceptance regardless of where you happen to be in the recovery process.
  • Teach mindfulness where you remain firmly anchored to the present in order to deal with the struggles of recovery.
  • Help encourage practical methods of dealing with stress that doesn’t involve heading to a bar.
  • Regulate strong emotions in general so they don’t end up triggering a relapse.

When you’re laboring to clean up from drinking too much or using drugs, it’s common for triggers such as anger, grief, resentment or fear to end up precipitating relapse. The key is to deal with these triggers so they no longer jeopardize your sobriety.

Addiction Science & Clinical Practice states that DBT works best when patients arrive at residential rehab with dual diagnosis, a history of self-harm, complicated and involved emotional issues or a documented history of relapse.


Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Developed by Dr Albert Ellis of the Ellis Institute way back in the 1950s, REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy). Psychology Today described Dr. Ellis as “the greatest living psychologist” before his death in 2007.

REBT helps you to solve problems and reach goals in the present rather than delving back into the past looking for answers. In this respect, REBT operates in a similar vein to CBT.

You’ll be taught to easily identify and then challenge self-defeating beliefs with healthier beliefs in line with successful recovery.

Core aims of REBT include:

  • Identifying destructive behaviors and replacing these behaviors with a less harmful alternative.
  • Learning to regulate emotions so you’ll benefit from a more realistic and balanced view as you surge through your residential treatment program.

When used to treat substance abuse, emotional regulation is key to help you mitigate stress, manage cravings and avoid succumbing to relapse.

If you have historically suffered from problems controlling your feelings and moods or you routinely react to stressors emotionally, REBT can be highly effective.


Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is used in two ways:

  • As a treatment modality.
  • As a philosophical counseling approach.

MI was developed by clinical psychologists Dr. Miller and Dr. Rollnick and was first used to treat problem drinkers by challenging them to unearth reasons to stop addictive behaviors.

Since MI used a non-judgmental and motivational approach to treating substance abuse, it’s much less confrontational than many more traditional therapies used in a rehab setting.

With motivational interviewing, you can expect the following:

  • A highly collaborative and encouraging attitude from your therapist.
  • Help finding internal reasons to change.
  • Assistance from therapist to formulate and visualize a rosier future along with the development of strategies to help you make it a reality.

While the therapist will act as a facilitator and will encourage change, the onus is on you to accept the need for change and recovery.

Motivational interviewing works in both individual therapy and group sessions. The objective is to create a highly positive backdrop that’s encouraging of change. By strengthening your self-esteem rather than berating yourself for past behavior, you can work toward a fruitful and long-lasting recovery.

Since the focus is optimistic and very much focused on the present, MI makes a good fit if you’re in any way ambivalent about residential treatment. MI also works well if you’ve tried to clean up before yet suffered from relapse.


Family Systems Therapy

Addiction affects whole families not just individuals so it’s not surprising that family therapy has its place in residential rehab.

With the family systems model, the family is viewed as a single emotional unit rather than a group of individuals.

This type of therapy is normally practiced by family counselors, licensed marriage counselors, social workers and substance abuse treatment professionals.

Activities include:

  • Individual counseling sessions for all family members.
  • Education about the nature of addiction along with an exploration of the underlying causes.
  • Separate support groups for your loves ones.
  • Family workshops.
  • Distance sessions by phone or using online chat if it’s not practical for all family members to attend in person.

The core objective of family systems therapy is to teach your whole family how to better communicate while also addressing any issues of trauma and generally working to reestablish trust levels damaged by a family member suffering from addiction.


Other Therapies in Brief

As well as the above therapies which are commonplace in rehab, you might also encounter some of the following therapies:

  • Biofeedback Therapy: With biofeedback therapy, you’ll learn to understand the involuntary processes in your body. Electric sensors placed on your skin will monitor brain activity. The therapist then peruses this data before recommending an array of techniques that might help you to overcome your addiction.
  • Contingency Management: Contingency management (CM) helps you to use stimulus control and positive reinforcement to change destructive behaviors.
  • Experiential Therapy: If you feel that repressed emotions and hidden feelings might be contributory factors to your addiction, experiential therapy is a non-traditional treatment commonly involving outdoor recreational activities.
  • Holistic Therapy: With a broader focus on overall well-being, holistic therapy simultaneously treats any physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: MET can be useful in helping you to change negative thoughts and behaviors associated with your addiction. If you have a co-occurring condition like PTSD or bipolar, MET might be worth exploring.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: You’ll learn to dive down and explore your emotions with psychodynamic therapy to better understand how your thoughts are linked to your addiction. By establishing why you drink or take drugs to excess, you’ll be better placed to avoid temptation in the future as you start down the path to lifelong recovery.


What’s Next?

If you’ve read this far, we’ll assume you’re serious about undertaking residential treatment for your addiction so what do you do next?

When you’re looking for the right rehab center near you, the types of therapy offered should be uppermost on your list of questions. Depending on your specific needs, your history and also, of course, the treatment modalities available at the facility in question, you’ll find a varied list of therapy on offer encompassing many of the above approaches.

If you’re still in any element of doubt about whether or not residential treatment would work out for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether you need medical detox or any other form of residential treatment for addiction, contact Landmark Recovery today.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.