The road to recovering is much more than no longer drinking or using drugs. On the whole, it is a choice to change your life. If you’re attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, you know that there are people there who are 30 years sober, and they continue to go to meetings. They do so for the support, to lend support, and because they know that they’ll never stop growing. In a way, attending AA meetings is a form of therapy; it’s a therapeutic way to stay clean.
Sometimes, however, you might need some extra support. You might want to have an opportunity to work through your unique challenges, to have the aid of a listening ear, and to finally say out loud all those thoughts that you keep to yourself. Therapy can be an incredibly useful tool during recovery, and it’s the reason why many rehabilitative treatment centers include it as part of treating their clients.
If you’re no longer at a treatment facility, perhaps you’re at a halfway house or a sober living home; and you may not have the same tools at your disposal. If you’re serious about sober living and your sobriety, therapy can be a significant tool to invest in. (However, it’s often included in health care coverage!)
Below is a list of types of therapies. There are in fact many forms, about as many as there are countries on the planet. Finding the right one for you is just as important as finding the right therapist.
Essentially, there are two major groups of therapy – Those that promote insight or revelation regarding your thought pattern, history, behavior, or life choices are called insight therapies. They are typically concerned with the causes of your behavior and choices. On the other hand, those therapies that focus on how a disorder manifests in your life and aim to teach new forms of behavior, decision making, or thought patterns are called learning-based or cognitive therapies. These therapies are not so concerned with causes as they are with making change to patterns of thinking, feeling, or behaving.
The most common form of insight therapy is psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud. In psychoanalysis, certain techniques are used to uncover the underlying concerns that might be leading to your distress. For instance, if you continue to have trouble with maintaining financial stability, perhaps there is a deeply seated belief in unworthiness stemming from a childhood trauma. Psychoanalysis would safely attempt to bring those childhood memories to the surface in order to promote further understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do. Other ways to access insight in psychoanalysis is through dream analysis and exploring themes that are present in your life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT essentially aims to change behavior by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns. This successful form of therapy emphasizes the link between thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and more importantly, it attempts to identify the way that certain thoughts contribute to the unique problems of your life. By changing the thought pattern and by replacing it with thoughts that are aimed towards a specific therapeutic goal, you can slowly begin to change. For example, instead of “I am worthless”; the new thought might be “I can do this”. It is often used with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
DBT is a form of behavioral therapy that teaches the skills you need to move closer to your life goals and assists them in integrating those skills into everyday life. The therapy is a compassionate form of treatment method that can bring meaning into your life. Most specifically, DBT teaches skills to cope with challenging life circumstances in order to replace the self-defeating, dysfunctional coping mechanisms with healthier ones. It is often used with patients diagnosed with more severe forms of bipolar disorder.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy was developed by Albert Ellis and is based on the idea that your cognitive interpretations of events and surroundings are the root of emotional turmoil. For this reason, this type of therapy focuses on the immediate interpretation of events in your environment.
This is a very short list of types of therapies. However, these are common ones. If you are interested in participating in individual therapy, know that you don’t necessarily need a diagnosis. Therapy can be a form of preventing stress, facilitating your sobriety, and having a strong network of support while in sober living.
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