It can sometimes feel like the list of things required to build and maintain a life in addiction recovery is unending. Treatment, recovery groups, working with a sponsor, completing tasks assigned by their sponsor, and giving back to the community can feel like a lot on top of your regular obligations. It can be tempting to try to eliminate something from your schedule. Unfortunately, sometimes people choose to eliminate one of the most important aspects of recovery: individual therapy.
How Therapy Supports Recovery
Therapy supports recovery in many ways. If you are not currently in therapy, consider all the ways it can bolster your recovery:
- Mental Health Support – Over 9 million Americans struggle with what is called a dual or co-occurring diagnosis: the presence of a substance addiction along with one or more mental health conditions. Treating both conditions at the same time reduces the risk of a person relapsing for reasons related to their mental health. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are generally recommended for treating patients who have both mental health diagnoses and a history of substance abuse.
- Addressing Trauma – A common trait of people who have struggled with addiction is trauma. Trauma occurs whenever our ability to cope with something that is happening to us is insufficient to deal with the events that occur. Trauma can result from things like physical, emotional or sexual abuse, a divorce, loss of a loved one, or military combat. Trauma can be addressed through a variety of different therapies, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
- Improving Relationships – Codependent relationships are a frequent topic of conversation in the recovery community. Codependency can occur in a variety of relationships, including those between a parent and child, siblings, and spouses or partners. Unlearning this unhealthy relationship dynamic and learning to build and respect boundaries is another way that therapy can help. Many types of therapy can be used to support healthy relationships.
- Managing Stress – substances are a coping skill a person leans on while in active addiction. Without this option available anymore, people new to recovery need to learn new ways to manage their stress. CBT can be great for stress management and learning new coping skills.
Therapy is often perceived to be an individual activity, but it can also take place in groups, with a married couple, or with an entire family, depending on the issues that are being addressed.
Therapy After Treatment Ends
Ending treatment can be a trigger for relapse, making it that much more important to have ongoing support to help you stay on track and continue building on your sobriety. When preparing for discharge, having a therapist picked out and your first appointment scheduled can make it easier to structure your first days back in the outside world.
How to Pay for Therapy
While therapy can be expensive, there are sometimes ways to make it more affordable.
- Benefits of employment – some companies offer their employees a limited number of free therapy sessions per year through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- Insurance – state and private insurance often cover therapy at different levels but verifying that the therapist accepts your insurance plan and is in network for your plan will keep your costs lower.
- Sliding fee scales – for people who cannot afford to pay full price for therapy, some clinics offer a sliding fee scale based on income.
- Free clinics – in cases where a person cannot afford to pay for therapy at all, there are sometimes free options, such as these free clinics in Virginia, some of which offer mental health services. Sometimes faith communities and colleges or universities that train therapists also have free or low-cost therapy options.
If you’re still not sure if you need therapy after treatment or you aren’t sure how to incorporate therapy into your discharge plan, the staff at Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, VA, can answer your questions and help you ensure your plan is ready to support your sober life after treatment.