Resources are essential when it comes to addiction treatment. Individual substance abuse counseling is at the heart of making and sustaining recovery. Chapel Hill Detox offers many therapy programs, each designed to cater to a wide range of patient situations. Individual therapy is especially useful in addiction treatment. Patients can expect to work with a therapist in uncovering root symptoms leading to their addiction. 

The recovery process is a long journey. Our substance abuse counselors aspire to create an individualized support system for every person in recovery. First of all, you may be wondering:

What is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a form of talk therapy that allows patients to have one-on-one time with a professional therapist. Therapy resembles a safe and secure place where patients can discuss their emotions, challenges, and behavior. In recovery, individual substance abuse counseling is essential to understanding addiction and how it alters people’s lives. Therapists work with their patients to expose their triggers which ultimately feed their addiction. Once people understand their triggers and addiction, it may allow them to begin healthily addressing their behavior.

When people begin substance abuse treatment, they usually start with a medical detox program. A detox program rids patients of the physical aspect of substance abuse and addiction. However, addiction is not just physical. It usually takes hold of people psychologically and emotionally as well. Individual therapy is a resource that helps with that aspect. 

How Does Individual Therapy Work?

Individual substance abuse counseling seeks to build emotional and behavioral health. Each person in therapy has a unique and specific journey. Individual therapy guides people to recovery in a way that works for them. It works to:

  • Improve thought processes of those in recovery
  • Motivate individuals to create positive change in their lives
  • Provide guidance and support during and after recovery

Individual therapy sessions are typically an hour long. Depending on the patient, therapy may be short-term and last for just a few weeks. More complex issues may require long-term treatment for a year or longer. Individual Substance Abuse Counseling

Individual Therapy and Addiction

Addiction takes hold of many aspects of people’s lives. As mentioned above, therapy is often required for the emotional and psychological aspects. In addiction recovery, a medical detox creates a foundation for sobriety. Following that, the issues at the roots of an individual’s addiction are addressed. 

Dual Diagnosis

When individuals show signs of a mental health disorder coexisting with a substance abuse disorder, they may receive a dual diagnosis. Just less than half of people in the U.S. struggling with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Individual substance abuse counseling is vital because it gives patients methods of coping that do not involve substances. 

Understanding the role of mental health issues in addiction is extremely important. Patients with co-occurring disorders are best fit to get treatment for each simultaneously. Recovery in dual diagnosis patients typically involves both issues being treated together. Common disorders treated with addiction include:

  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 

Types of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a broad term used to describe one-on-one therapy sessions. Therapists utilize several forms of therapy to fit their patients best. Based on the patient’s needs, they may suggest any of the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In CBT, patients evaluate their behaviors and thought patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven effective for many issues like depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and more. Practitioners of CBT strive to help their patients break bad cognitive habits. Some strategies that help to improve patient’s lives may include:

  • Gaining an understanding of others’ motivation and behavior  
  • Learning to cope with difficult situations using problem-solving skills
  • Generating self-confidence regarding one’s abilities
  • Learning to see how one’s thinking and behaviors can create problems
  • Learning to shift thinking and behavior with a better sense of reality 

Cognitive behavioral therapy assists patients in becoming their own therapists. Therapists often use homework that will encourage new healthy habits and coping skills. Thoughts are extremely powerful. Negative cognitive patterns may be life-changing. CBT ultimately helps individuals replace negative processes with healthy and positive ones. These positive behaviors go hand in hand while recovering from addiction. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy is similar to CBT. The significant difference is that in DBT, patients work to accept their negative thoughts instead of changing them. DBT is helpful for patients with challenging conditions to treat. In fact, DBT was invented to cover the limitations of cognitive behavioral therapy.

The meaning of “dialectical” refers to bringing opposite concepts together. In the realm of dialectical behavioral therapy, this often means “acceptance” and “change.” DBT is intended to bring balance to patients by building these essential skills:

  • Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Emotional regulation
  • Distress tolerance

individual substance abuse counselingUltimately, DBT helps individuals create and maintain healthy relationships. In individual substance abuse counseling, stress and emotional regulation are important aspects of addiction. We offer DBT as a form of therapy that may fit the needs of potential patients. 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

It’s impossible to change the past. This is an area of recovery that is difficult for many to accept. Similar to DBT, acceptance and commitment therapy uses mindfulness as a significant aspect of therapy. This form of individual therapy helps people mainly in the area of acceptance. 

The main goal of ACT is to lead individuals to move forward without letting their past negate who they are striving to become. However, it is essential to learn from the past and past experiences while not allowing it to remain the individual’s identity. 

Benefits of Individual Therapy

Patients find that individual therapy helps reveal triggers that feed into their addiction. In recovery, it is necessary to discover these triggers. By doing so, our therapists can help in finding ways to cope with their triggers. Individual therapy has a variety of benefits. Some of its major benefits include:


Individual therapy allows an opportunity for growth. With the help of a therapist, patients may find a new sense of self. The attention and understanding of a therapist enable patients to express themselves fully. When patients take the time and energy to sift through their emotions, it may lead them to a place of acceptance and recovery. 


In individual substance abuse counseling, the topics of conversation are often emotionally painful and private. A considerable benefit of individual therapy is its confidentiality. Once patients are comfortable with their therapist, they tend to find comfort in their new ability to speak freely about normally fearful subjects. 


In a one-on-one setting, individuals get the opportunity to focus on just themselves. Individual therapy promotes self-care. This often means taking the time to look inward and finding and taking care of personal struggles with a professional. In individual therapy, the patient moves at a pace that is best fit for their situation. Being in tune with the self is a major factor in many people’s recovery. 

Coping and Communication Skills

In recovery, many people find it difficult to communicate effectively. If a patient cannot establish their problems or what’s bothering them, it’s almost impossible to help them. Another benefit of individual therapy is the skills and mechanisms offered by our experienced therapists. Individuals in recovery may have trouble dealing with issues in their life. Especially for those with co-occurring conditions, life can be incredibly complicated. Our therapists aim to provide patients with the skills they need for their unique situation. individual substance abuse counseling

Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy

Group therapy in recovery involves a therapist and a peer group. A therapist usually leads these sessions. Group therapy provides people with different perspectives and world-views. In group sessions, many people benefit from the ability to share experiences and feelings with like-minded individuals. During these sessions, patients can use newly learned problem-solving and coping skills in real-world, group situations.

There is no “better” option between individual therapy and group therapy. Instead, these therapies should be used in conjunction with each other. Both therapies offer unique tools that develop and flourish in both one-on-one and group scenarios. To overcome addiction, we encourage patients to take advantage of all therapies available. 

Which is Right For Me?

Individual therapy and group therapy offer drastically different environments. Each has pros and cons for any individual. Those looking for a personalized experience while diving into their emotions should start with individual therapy. Those looking to build relationships and a support network may fit best in group therapy. As mentioned before, patients are not only limited to one form of therapy.

Get Help Now at Chapel Hill Detox

Committing to finding help is not easy. For many, it is the best decision they have ever made. Treatment is about finding what works best for you. At Chapel Hill Detox, we provide a range of programs designed to help people in any stage of addiction. Individual therapy is just one form of guidance offered at Chapel Hill. The first step of deciding you need help is often the most difficult. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.