How to Get the Most Out of Therapy

Mar 13, 2023

Most of us know that counseling therapy is a highly effective form of treatment in helping individuals overcome substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health disorders. For people who seek treatment for substance abuse or serious mental health impairments, receiving therapy before, during, and after treatment can help individuals maintain their recovery and prevent relapse.

Receiving therapy during treatment can help individuals understand the realities of recovery and what they can expect from treatment. Continuing in therapy during recovery can help individuals maintain their gains and continue to work on their goals of long-term sobriety.

What Is Therapy?

The two primary forms of counseling are individual therapy and group therapy. Individual therapy involves a one-on-one interaction between the counselor and the client. Group therapy, on the other hand, involves a group of clients who discuss their experiences with peers in a group setting monitored by a counselor or therapist.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy provides clients with one of therapy’s key benefits: the opportunity to receive personalized attention and support from a licensed therapist. During this type of therapy, the client has a safe and confidential space to discuss their experiences, emotions, and thoughts with someone who is trained to listen and

In a typical therapy session, the client works through what has caused the issues that led them to therapy. The therapist helps the client to develop coping skills and strategies. All of this aids in the client’s recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy creates a peer support system in therapy. Clients and their peers engage directly in a therapy session in a group setting. Because the therapy takes place in a group therapy setting, the client can:

  • Connect with others who understand what they are going through
  • Share their experiences
  • Receive feedback and support from others in the group

Group therapy can also help individuals build lasting relationships and support systems, which can be incredibly important for maintaining recovery.

Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy

Individual and group counseling are often used in tandem during treatment. Those in treatment may find benefits in both forms of therapy. Both individual and group counseling involve a therapist and the client working through the problems that bring the client to therapy. Let’s discuss some of the more important differences between these therapy techniques.

One-on-One Relationship

Working one-on-one with the therapist, the client builds a relationship with the counselor, similar to a mentor/mentee relationship. As the mentor, the counselor is able to help the client identify their underlying issues. The client can then learn new tools for coping strategies and eventually plan for their recovery.

On the other hand, group counseling gathers a group of individuals who are struggling with similar issues. Group counseling can be particularly effective in the treatment of SUDs. It also helps with specific issues where clients may face similar issues in treatment and recovery with their peers. Sharing their experiences and offering encouragement to one another in a supportive and non-judgmental environment can help clients with adjustment.

Type of Support

Individual counseling is a tailored form of counseling that focuses on the needs of one individual. The therapist works with only one client. Thus they can modify the therapy to meet the specific needs of the client and provide individualized feedback.

On the other hand, by learning from one another and offering support, individuals in group therapy can overcome their issues. Sometimes all it takes to move forward is knowing that there are others out there who feel like you. This can give clients a sense of community and belonging, which can be a powerful motivator in their recovery journey.

The Types of Therapy You Might Experience

There are a few types of therapeutic approaches you might experience in individual or group counseling. These common theoretical approaches are based on the work of counseling theorists who developed specific techniques for the counselor to aid the client or clients in counseling.

One of the more common therapeutic techniques counselors may use is evidence-based therapy (EBT). In EBT, a therapist uses a stepwise scientific approach to address the client’s clinical issues. EBT is an umbrella term that covers various therapeutic techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI).

CBT is a highly effective approach in both individual and group counseling. During this type of therapy, a counselor attempts to modify negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to SUDs and mental health disorders by challenging catastrophic thinking and behaviors. DBT is primarily used in the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD), which has a high comorbidity with substance use and other mental health disorders. MI involves focusing on helping clients overcome their fears of treatment to help them make positive changes in their life.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Therapy

The most important thing when approaching individual and group counseling is for you, the client, to get out of it what you need. To do this, you will need to keep an open and honest mindset, be transparent about your problems and why you are there, and be willing to let the therapist help you. Some other things you can do are:

  • Ask the right questions: Individuals actively participating in therapy need to ask questions and receive feedback on what they are learning and how they are progressing. This can help the therapist adjust the therapy as needed to ensure that it is as effective as possible.
  • Do your homework before and during therapy: Establishing the right client-counselor relationship is important before therapy gets started. Once you are in therapy, it’s important to be consistent in attending therapy sessions and completing any assigned homework or exercises outside of therapy.
  • Always communicate openly: You have to be your own advocate by being open and honest with your counselor and your peers in therapy. Knowing what you want to achieve is important. With this information, your counselor can prioritize your treatment goals.

Therapy is a powerful tool for individuals seeking to overcome substance abuse and mental health disorders. During treatment, therapy can provide individuals with the support and guidance they need to work through recovery challenges. Whether received in the form of individual therapy or group therapy, therapy can provide individuals with the support, guidance, and tools they need to successfully manage their symptoms and lead a healthier, happier life. Evidence-based therapy, in particular, has been proven to be highly effective in treating substance abuse and mental health disorders and can help individuals make lasting changes in their lives. To find out what treatment is right for you, call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898 today.