3 Types of Behavioral Therapies Offered at a Rehab for Alcoholism

by | Jun 23, 2018 | Addiction, Rehab, Treatment | 0 comments

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Rehab for alcoholism offers a wide variety of treatment options. There are plenty of components involved. Patients learn how to break both their physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They go through different types of treatment options to achieve sobriety.

One of the first types of treatments that patients encounter is medical detox. This process involves cleansing the body of all toxins. Medical professionals prescribe different types of medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox mainly treats and breaks a patient’s physical dependence on alcohol.

Once the medical detox part of the addiction recovery process is completed, patients choose from different types of behavioral therapies. These therapies can vary. Some patients will choose to engage in more than one type of behavioral therapy whereas others may focus their attention and energy on just one. Different types of behavioral therapies can offer different benefits. This article will look at 3 of the most common types of behavioral therapies offered at a rehab for alcoholism.

Develop Better Habits with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

cognitive behavior therapy

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. The idea is that your thinking patterns can affect your emotions and your behavior. To treat substance use disorders, you’ll need to change the way that you think and behave. This form of therapy was created by a psychiatrist named Aaron Beck in the 1960s. However, the therapy that is practiced today incorporates other techniques from Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis as well.

CBT helps patients identify, understand, and even deal with the emotions behind their thoughts. This treatment combines both cognitive therapy and behavioral techniques. Patients become more self-aware of their emotions and their actions. They are then able to modify their behavior. With constant practice, their behaviors and reactions to stimuli become a habit. They then use this habit to kick an addiction.
CBT incorporated both an ABC multimodal therapy and rational-emotive behavioral therapy. It’s also very client-centered. This is one of the many therapeutic approaches that are the most hands-on. CBT therapists work with alcohol and drug abusers to change their way of thinking. This addiction recovery process will take many therapy sessions at a rehab facility.

During each session, the health professionals and clients discuss the obstacles that are standing in their way. They then consider different types of positive solutions. It’s a way of retraining the mind’s cognitive processing abilities. This type of alcoholism treatment is usually highly recommended at inpatient alcohol rehab facilities.

Some Crucial CBT Techniques and Tools

This type of treatment relies on several different techniques. Each patient may prefer one technique over another. It all depends on their own preferences and what they’re familiar with. It may take some time for patients to master different alcohol recovery tools. Some of the most popular tools include:

  • Journaling. Writing down one’s emotions and thoughts can prove to very useful. Many patients use journaling to analyze their behaviors. They can then identify harmful behaviors and think of positive solutions for them.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. One of the main reasons why most addicts struggle to get sober is because they can’t calm down their emotions. They often give in to cravings and urges. They also look for escapes when faced with stressful situations. CBT teaches patients how to relax by de-escalating situations. One of the easiest ways to relax is to relax one muscle group at a time. When drug and alcohol abusers are relaxed, they tend to make more logical decisions.
  • Interoceptive exposure. Many drug abusers and alcoholics are afraid of certain situations. Fear can drive abuse. To get over their fear, CBT may expose patients to certain stimuli when they are in a safe environment. This teaches patients that there’s actually nothing to be afraid of. This CBT technique is a powerful coping strategy.

The unique tools in CBT can help those with a co-occurring disorder. Those struggling with a mental illness or a mental health disorder may benefit from this treatment as well. They learn how to modulate and regulate their own thinking to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

Learn How to Motivate Yourself with Motivational Interviewing (MI)

motivational interviewing

Founded by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps patients find the motivation they need to make positive decisions. This type of treatment helps patients learn how to meet established goals. Many drug abusers and alcoholics have a low motivation to change. They are happy with where they are in life, and are happy to continue abusing drugs or alcohol.

This type of therapy can also help a wide range of disorders. It can be used to treat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. When dealing with substance abuse, the treatment basically helps progress addiction treatment. It helps patients find the inner motivation to avoid relapses.

During these therapy sessions, the addiction specialists often list reasons why a change is needed. They also explore the consequences associated with a lack of change with patients. They help patients find the inner motivation needed to want to change.

The therapist does not interact with the patient in an antagonistic or combative way. Instead, they engage with their patients to help them explore their feelings at the treatment center. The therapist becomes an important person of support. They guide their patients towards making the right choices. In terms of structure, MI is similar to person-centered therapy. This type of therapy helps patients find the best version of themselves. The theory behind this type of alcohol counseling is that everyone has innate goodness and value in them.

The 4 Goals of an MI Therapist

Most MI treatment provider will try to achieve 4 goals during the therapy sessions. These goals include:

  • Expressing empathy. The therapist should aim to understand the patient’s struggles and issues. They also need to explore the different obstacles and barriers that are in a patient’s bath. By expressing empathy, both recovering alcoholics and drug addicts tend to become more open. The therapy should provide a safe environment for discussing intimate and personal details. There should be no judgment at all.
  • Developing discrepancy. The therapists should provide or find treatments and interventions that will help patients achieve their goal.
  • Rolling with resistance. The addiction recovery process is always going to be met with some reluctance and resistance. The therapists should not manipulate their patients at all. Instead, they roll with the punches and help patients figure out why their line of thinking is wrong.
  • Supporting self-efficacy. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs during the addiction recovery process. MI therapists are also like cheerleaders. They remind patients how they have accomplished their goals.

There are many goals that a therapist should try to meet. Effective treatment can help recovering addicts change their line of thinking. In many cases, MI is combined with other forms of behavioral therapy for optimal efficacy. This treatment is suitable for both inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Deal with Trauma Using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

treatment for alcoholism

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another great treatment for alcoholism. The reason being that it treats depression and trauma. Surprisingly, many alcoholics struggle with depression and trauma. This type of dual diagnosis often come hand-in-hand.

EMDR uses psychotherapy to treat symptoms of emotional distress. Stressful situations can include a divorce, sexual assault and more. This type of therapy is an eight-phase treatment program. Bilateral stimulation is used to retrain the brain. For example, some therapists will have patients move their eyes from side to side while focusing on a stressful or traumatic situation. They will move an item back and forth against the patient’s field of vision. For some reason, this biological mechanism can help patients retrain their beliefs. The painful event is transformed on an emotional level. Patients do not associate as many negative emotions with the belief.

How Effective Is EMDR?

This type of treatment may sound impossible to many who are seeking alcohol abuse treatment. However, studies have shown that EMDR is indeed quite effective. Some studies show that 84% to 90% of recovering alcoholics no longer has post-traumatic stress disorder after three 90-minute sessions. This means that recovering alcoholics have less of a reason to turn to alcohol. They become mentally strong and healthy.

Many people who seek alcoholism treatment tend to have depression. With EMDR sessions at the treatment center, patients no longer want to turn to alcohol to escape. EMDR is often paired with other forms of therapy. Patients learn how to deal with cravings. Many patients will also enhance EMDR treatment with Alcoholics Anonymous or a 12step program. Not only are they able to deal with the pain on an emotional level, but they also become ready to open up to others. This type of drug addiction treatment also doesn’t require a lot of sessions. Patients will generally see if it works within a relatively short period of time. This is one of the many appeals of EMDR. EMDR is suitable for both inpatient or outpatient treatment. It’s great for treating both substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Try Out Different Types of Behavioral Therapies to Find One That Works for You

rehab facility

There are many different types of behavioral therapies. Each therapy type caters to a specific need or problem. For example, if your addiction stems from trauma, you should highly consider trying EMDR. With that said, everyone responds differently to each type of therapy. Just because something works for someone you know, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s appropriate for you. The truth is that you may benefit from a completely different therapy. To get a good shot at recovery, make sure you try out different types of behavioral therapies. If you find yourself stagnating with one therapy type, don’t hesitate to try something else. The rehab center should have enough resources to help you switch from one therapy to another with ease.

Here, at Amethyst Recovery, we recognize the importance of tailored addiction treatment. We understand that different things work for different people. As a result, we highly encourage our patients to try out all of the different therapies we offer. If we don’t offer the specific therapy you’re interested in, we can help point you towards the right direction. Patients can enjoy different types of therapies with both our residential treatment program and our day/night treatment program.

Let us know what you’re interested in and we can tailor and alter your treatment program. Our medical professionals can also assess your mental health. They will make recommendations based on your condition. Our goal is to help you get healthy, both physically and mentally, so that you can finally break free from a drug or alcohol addiction.


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