Therapies used in Addiction Treatment

Regarding rehab for alcohol or drugs, therapy is an essential part of the post-detox process. But did you know there are different types of therapies? Some focus on helping patients overcome their addictions, while others aim to help them cope with life after they get clean and return to the stressful everyday life of work and family matters. In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between different types of therapies and how they can be used together to treat addiction.

Therapy for Addiction: Traditional vs Holistic Modern Therapy

Traditional therapy is based on the idea that a person’s problems stem from past experiences. Therapists who practise these believe that understanding what happened in the past will make it easier to understand why the patient has developed certain behaviours and emotional responses.

In contrast, holistic therapy focuses on the present moment. This type of therapist believes that people have an innate ability to heal and that if they learn new ways to deal with their emotions, they won’t need outside help anymore.

The main difference between these two forms of therapy is that traditional therapies such as psychoanalysis or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tend to focus on the past. In contrast, holistic therapies like mindfulness or yoga focus on the here and now.

Both approaches have their benefits. For example, cognitive behaviour therapy tends to effective at helping clients identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. In the context of dual diagnosis, where we experience addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorders, both traditional and holistic therapies help treat both conditions. For many individuals with or without a formal mental health diagnosis, addiction cannot be treated without also looking into the clients’ mental-wellbeing, which often reveals signs of previous trauma, and/or low self-esteem.

Other valuable therapies used in addiction treatment include contingency management, various types of individual therapy and group therapy used in varying combinations and physical exercise.

Holistic therapies can also be helpful when dealing with trauma. They teach how to manage stress by learning new, healthier coping skills and relaxation techniques.

How We Treat Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse

Because of the experience and the proven benefits of both traditional and holistic therapy, we believe that the best way to help someone battling an addiction to drugs, alcohol or behaviours such as gambling, is to provide both therapies within a carefully tailored rehab programme. At the Providence Projects, we offer residential programmes in conjunction with family therapy and aftercare programmes to help support the wider family network.

You can learn more about our programmes on offer at the Providence Projects, or alternatively, you can speak to a trained addiction counsellor immediately who can help support you in making the right decision for you and your loved ones.

Types of Traditional Therapies used in Addiction Treatment

Traditional therapy is an umbrella term for many different types of treatments. Here are a few examples of the most common types of therapy available today.


This form of therapy was first introduced in the early 20th century. It involves talking to a trained psychoanalyst about one’s childhood and any traumatic events. Psychoanalysis aims to uncover the unconscious causes of behaviour and emotional reactions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is another popular form of therapy. It teaches patients to change their thinking patterns and develop better-coping strategies. CBT is often used to treat anxiety disorders and mood disorders. As with most behavioral therapies, Cognitive behavioral therapy has long-lasting effects on your everyday existence.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Compared to CBT, Dialectical Therapy focuses on changing the patient’s relationship with his/her emotions. The goal is to learn how to control anger and aggression rather than trying to eliminate them entirely.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

IPT is a short-term therapy that focuses on changing how a person interacts with his/her environment. IPT is particularly helpful for people suffering from severe depression as part of a dual diagnosis. Treatment providers will focus on investigating the underlying causes of the condition and healing it through psychotherapeutic techniques.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

MBCT is a type of CBT that uses meditation to reduce stress and improve concentration. MBCT is especially beneficial for those recovering from substance abuse.

Alternative Therapies Used in Rehab

Alternative or holistic therapies are representatives of the new age in the therapeutic world. Unlike traditional talking therapies, these sessions focus on experience, multi-level healing and different techniques in whole-body treatment.  Here are some examples of alternative therapies, some of which are available during your stay at the Providence Project.


Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice that dates back thousands of years and is still used as a part of addiction treatment. The needles are inserted into specific points to balance energy flow throughout the body. Acupuncture can be very effective for pain relief, but it can also be used to treat addictions.


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing. Essential oils are extracted from plants and then diluted in carrier oil. Benefits include stress relief and immune system enforcement. In addiction treatment, we use aromatherapy for various purposes. However, it may not always be the best option for you. Make sure to ask your admission assistant for details on which holistic therapeutic techniques are available and preferred for your situation.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a method of working with creative expression to address issues such as self-esteem and identity. Art therapists encourage clients to express themselves through drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, clay modelling, music, poetry, drama, photography, film, writing, and other forms of artistic expression. Drug abuse, for example, often makes us numb to art and expressing ourselves becomes difficult. As a result, art therapies are highly effective in substance abuse and alcohol addiction treatment alike.


Biofeedback is a technique that helps individuals learn to control certain physiological functions by using feedback devices. For example, a device may monitor heart rate and provide visual or auditory feedback when the heart rate reaches a target level. This allows the individual to become more aware of his/her internal state.

Dance Therapy

In addiction treatment, dance therapy is a form of movement therapy that combines physical activity with expressive arts. It is used to enhance social skills, increase self-awareness, and decrease feelings of isolation. While we do not usually have a dance therapy option at our addiction counselling and substance use disorders treatment plans, our treatment center offers other services which focus on movement and art. Ask upon admission to know more.

Guided Imagery and Visualization

Guided imagery and visualization are two ways of entering altered states of consciousness. In this state, an individual imagines themselves in a safe place where they feel comfortable and relaxed. They may imagine being in a beautiful garden, sitting beside a stream, or lying in a field of flowers. In addiction treatment, guided therapies are vital in finding a place in our minds where we can feel safe and calm.

Finding Motivation after Residential Rehab

One of the most discussed topics before leaving our centre and during the aftercare sessions is finding the motivation to continue with the same routines and habits created during the stay at our rehab. We have found that many people find it challenging to maintain their sobriety once they leave our facility, as the treatment centers are more or less isolated from stress. They often feel like they’ve lost all hope and don’t know what to do next. However, there are several things you can do to help yourself get motivated again.

Outpatient treatment options include external situations and our post-rehab treatment options, which comprise our aftercare treatment plan.


Get Support

The first thing you should do is seek out support. You need someone who will listen to you and understand your situation. If you’re not sure who to talk to, ask one of the staff members here at the Providence Project. They’ll be able to recommend someone who can help you.

Attend Aftercare Sessions

Our free aftercare includes therapeutic sessions meant to enforce what was learnt and experienced during your stay and help you with that problematic transfer from residential treatment into everyday life responsibilities. We are here for you because relapse prevention is a key element of our treatment programs and focuses on maintaining sobriety through effective treatment during the recovery process.

Participate in Meetings

While we do not force anyone to attend fellowship meetings, we know that they do benefit long-term recovery and sobriety. This is why we can assist you with finding local groups to join and share your current and future problems within their confidential, safe environment.


Whichever path you choose, when you come to us for help and enter our rehab treatment programme, we will be there for you to help you through this trialling time in your life, supporting you as you make your first steps into your new life.

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