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In 2004, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a survey and asked people to identify if they had been to a mental health counselor within the last year, and if not, why they did not attend. Nearly half of households that participated admitted to getting help for at least one member of the household. That may seem like an impressive number, but a full 87 percent of people said that a lack of insurance coverage kept them out of the counseling sessions they might need.
It is easy to imagine how these numbers may have changed since 2004. Research about mental health issues has been robust in the last decade or so, and as a result, many people are aware that mental health concerns are not due to laziness or character flaws. Most people know mental health issues have a chemical basis. That could mean the stigma revolving around mental health issues is on the decline. In addition, many people who could not get insurance in the past may get it now, through the Affordable Care Act.
With more people getting therapy, you might wonder if it is right for you. If you are considering therapy, you might wonder how your sessions will work and what they are designed to do. This guide will help to answer your questions, so you can get the help you need in order to feel better.
When you have an addiction, therapy will be a big part of your treatment program. In fact, if you are enrolled in an inpatient addiction treatment program, you might spend several hours every single day in therapy sessions with qualified professionals. If you are in an outpatient program, your appointments with your treatment team will also be dominated by therapy.
These therapy sessions are vital because they allow you to understand your addiction fully. Should you have a mental illness that impacts your addiction recovery process, you can learn more about that illness in therapy too. In addition, counseling sessions provide you with the opportunity to learn how to cope with and control the triggers that lead to a mental health flare-up. That awareness and the skills you build could help you to stay sober, even when you are living in your community and facing addiction sobriety challenges.
If you are still not convinced that therapy is right for you and your addiction, consider this from APA. The organization states these signs could indicate a need for therapy:
An ongoing addiction could cause some or even all of these signs. And some or all of these signs could be resolved with the help of a qualified counseling program.
Counseling sessions tend to be short, and they do not last forever. According to statistics quoted by The New York Times, 42 percent of people in therapy have 3-10 visits. Only one in nine have more than 20 sessions. If you are concerned that entering therapy means blocking out time for the rest of your life to go to therapy, you can put that worry to rest.
Your therapy sessions will differ, depending on the type of therapy your professional chooses to use. But most are quite structured, and they follow a very specific plan that really does not change from week to week. Once you have been through one or two therapy sessions, you will understand how those sessions typically run, and that could help to put your sense of nervousness at ease.
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Some types of therapy your counselor might choose are traditional, meaning that they have been in use for many years, and they have been studied extensively by professionals all around the world. These are just a few of the traditional therapy types you might encounter in an addiction treatment program.
This form of therapy has been studied extensively, in terms of helping people with addictions and other mental illnesses to improve, and the results have been impressive. For example, in a study in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research, clinicians examined 106 different studies about the effectiveness of CBT, and most found that this therapy worked better than other types of therapy available. Results like this seem to indicate that CBT is a good choice, and it could be one your team recommends.
Group therapy sessions might focus on one particular aspect of the healing process, such as a typical relapse trigger or a common sobriety challenge. Or group therapy sessions might focus on building specific skills, such as communication skills or distress tolerance.
In interpersonal therapy, you might spend quite a bit of time talking about the habits you lean on when you feel depressed or upset. You might learn how to unpack those habits and find their source, and you may learn how to build new habits that are healthier.
While conventional therapies can help a great deal in terms of addiction and recovery, there are some lessons you might need to learn with the benefit of a new and novel approach. These are therapies that may not have a great deal of research behind them, but they might still provide you with the help you need in order to control your addiction.
Art therapy is more than an art class. The counselor is available during the entire session to help you interpret and understand the art you are making and your relationship to the art therapy assignment as a whole. Should you feel the urge to talk more about the art, your counselor will be available to assist with that too.
When you are enrolled in addiction treatment, your team will work hard to find the right therapy program at the right time for you, but you will also have work to do. As Psych Central points out, therapy works best in people who have a strong desire to change. If you want to change, you will listen to your counselors and take the steps that are required to put the lessons of therapy to work in your life. You will also be more likely to do the homework that is required between therapy sessions.