Someone who begins their recovery from addiction may participate in a whole range of services. They might go to 12 step meetings, attend a support group, see a drug counselor, work with a behavioral therapist, and more. However, at first, you might wonder what each of these experiences are meant to do. In the beginning, they might all seem like the same type of experience – therapy.

While many services you encounter in recovery are therapeutic, they may address various parts of healing from addiction. The following is a list of the types of therapies you may participate in while in addiction treatment:

Psychotherapy: Individual therapy typically involves sitting across from a compassionate mental health professional, who is listening and responding to you. This type of therapy might help a recovering addict repair damaged relationships, use coping tools to avoid cravings, and address underlying issues that have contributed to the development of the addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is an effective form of therapy that focuses on changing drug-seeking behavior by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns that might prompt cravings and drug use. This 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 a person’s life. By changing the thought pattern and by replacing it with thoughts that are aimed towards a specific therapeutic goal, a person can slowly begin to change.

Humanistic Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on a person’s strengths and potential. It recognizes that a person has the innate desire to do what’s best for them. One popular form of this type of therapy is Motivational Interviewing, which hopes to illicit a person’s desire to end their addiction. Motivational Interviewing is commonly used in recovery and highlights a person’s ability to solve their own problems as well as focuses on a person’s ability to accept and grow beyond their perceived limitations.

Family Therapy: This is a type of therapy involves the presence of all or most of a person’s family members. There is a focus on the systems and relationships within a family network. It aims to change the relationship within families in order to help them better manage the specific problems they might be facing. Also, this form of therapy recognizes that families can be a contributing factor to both a person’s emotional and psychological wounds as well as to their recovery.

Group Therapy: Group therapy includes the presence of a therapist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional who is facilitating the group experience of two or more people with the same life concern. For instance, adults who were suffering from a mental illness in addition to their alcohol abuse might make up a group in therapy. It should be noted that this is not a support group, which are facilitated by the group itself. Instead, group therapy is facilitated and monitored by a mental health professional.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 22.7 million Americans ages 12 and older needed treatment for drug and alcohol use in 2013. Yet, only 3 million people sought out addiction addiction treatment. Typically, obstacles to treatment can include low income or poverty, the stigma of addiction and mental illness, fear of legal consequences, fear of losing relationships with friends or family members, and resistance to giving up the lifestyle of using drugs or alcohol.

If there is a part of you that wants to get addiction treatment, help is out there. Contact a mental health provider to discuss the obstacles you face and how to overcome them.

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