Individual Counseling in Drug Rehab Therapy

Drug rehab centers report high rates of success through individualized counseling services for addiction treatment. This is because trained counselors take time to meet with the individual to ensure that their specific needs are being addressed. The following 6 steps show how the process works:

Step 1: Collecting Information

This happens during the first appointment. A professional counselor meets with the patient and gathers details about their individual situation and behavior based on which treatment recommendation will be generated. Examples of details that will be discussed at this stage could include:

  • Patient’s history with the problem
  • Length or duration of the substance abuse problem
  • How they tried to cope with the issue
  • Their motivation for seeking help, their expectations and goals

Step 2: Assessment

During the stage of assessment, the counselor seeks information related to:

  1. The nature symptoms and their severity
  2. The possible root cause of the symptoms
  3. The patient’s readiness for individual counseling
  4. The compatibility of the counselor and the participant for productive therapeutic counseling.

Step 3: Feedback

During this step, the patient will receive information from the counselor to help decide together how the individual’s goals can be targeted efficiently.


This helps the counselor to identify specific strengths and motivations that will help resolve issues and weaknesses

At this stage, the therapists involved in the treatment will be available to answer any questions creating an open dialogue. They will also make recommendations for any additional treatments. These could be family counseling, anger management, or life skills coaching


Step 4: Counselling Agreement

The formal agreement between the counselor and the participant will include:

  • Practical issues such as length of sessions, number of sessions, and what will be addressed in sessions
  • What the counselor and individual expectations of one another during the counseling process
  • Therapy goals that allow for a concrete process rather than a vague idea of “the helping process
  • The breaking down of large problems and possible solutions into small pieces so that the client can meet them one step at a time

Step 5: Changing Behaviour

This is the main part of the counseling where the patient and the counselor will work together to address issues and meet the goals agreed in the previous steps. The counselor will continually evaluate the effectiveness of the sessions and make adjustments as needed.

Step 6: Termination or conclusion

Termination is a phase where the counselor prepares the patient towards a discharge and aftercare plan. This is to ensure that even after the intense phase of treatment and individual counseling sessions come to an end, the recovering addict will be able to stay sober and keep working toward their goals on their own.


This is also a stage where the entire clinical team will take stock of the progress achieved and the next steps to ensure all the resources are available to the patient even after they are discharged.

Addiction Counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used and recommended as part of addiction treatment. Essentially, CBT helps people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction and mental illness to identify the link between their feelings, thoughts, and actions. This understanding and awareness will pave the way for their recovery.


The CBT treatment method builds on the fact that when an individual going through different stages of addicted treatment, they feel and act in a particular way. Once they are able to interpret how those feelings and actions lead to substance use or make them crave the substance they want to get away from — they are better equipped to deal with their addiction and eventually overcome.



How Does CBT Work?

Trained cognitive-behavioral therapists support the recovering addict to spot their negative thoughts that keep recurring automatically. Essentially, an automatic thought is based on internalized feelings of self-doubt and fear and builds on impulses that often come from misconceptions. Addictions could have roots in these recurring negative thoughts because very often people try to suppress these painful feelings and thoughts by drinking or abusing drugs.


When a recovering addict is guided to revisit these painful memories frequently, interestingly the pain caused by them is reduced. They will then learn to substitute them with more positive and uplifting thought patterns rather than resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Studies also show that automatic or recurring negative thoughts also often lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, these often co-occur with addiction. In other words, automatic thoughts, if allowed to continue unchecked, can make someone more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as well.


How Does Cognitive Behavior Therapy help patients deal with drug addiction and alcoholism?

The CBT mainly helps patients by:


  • Providing tools and strategies to improve their moods
  • Helping them to eliminate false beliefs and insecurities that might have caused the substance abuse
  • Through teaching effective communication skills and positive expressions

What are triggers and how to manage them?

Addiction triggers can lead to relapse. Understanding the common external and emotional substance abuse triggers and how to recognize them is part of CBT.

Triggers are situations that re-ignite the cravings for the drug or alcohol they are trying to avoid. This makes it harder for many addicted people from getting sober. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps them address the triggers.


Managing Triggers

There are three ways that recovering addicts learn to control when they encounter the triggers. These are:

Recognize: The first step is to recognize the circumstances that made them resort to excessive drinking or abusing drugs.

Avoid: The next step is to remove themselves from the situation that acts as triggers to the extent possible.

Cope: The final step is the use of cognitive therapy techniques to control the thoughts and emotions that pull them towards substance abuse.