7 Types Of Therapies Used In Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment and recovery is a long process, and various types of therapy are often involved when it comes to making a full recovery. Although there are many different kinds of therapy out there, there are 7 main popular types of therapy that many recovering addicts use during addiction recovery. Here are the 7 types of therapies used in addiction treatment.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a scientifically based therapy that helps a patient recognize how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are affected by one another. For example, negative thoughts are likely to make you feel negative emotions such as sadness, which then affects your behavior as well. “This is excellent for those going through alcohol or drug rehab because it teaches recovering addicts how to process their thoughts and emotions productively, which then makes them feel happier and leads to more productivity”, says Terri Edwards, COO at Nova Recovery Center.

2. Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is a specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that is commonly used during addiction treatment and recovery. This therapy provides physical reinforcers for sobriety. There are two main types of Contingency Management, voucher-based reinforcement, and prize incentives. Voucher-based reinforcement CM rewards the recovering addict with a voucher for certain goods after each negative drug test. These goods could be anything from groceries to movie tickets. Prize incentive CM works in a similar way, but instead of vouchers, the incentive is typically a cash prize. This form of CBT has been shown to be especially effective during an alcohol or Austin detox.

3. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that is done over time. There are 4 modules involved with DBT. The first 2 modules focus on acceptance, the first being mindfulness and the second being distress tolerance. Mindfulness simply means being present and living in the current moment, and distress tolerance involves accepting that pain is a part of everyone’s lives. The purpose of distress tolerance is to process emotions so that you can move forward.

The final two modules are centered around making changes. The third module is emotional regulation and the fourth module is interpersonal effectiveness. Emotional regulation works on being able to recognize and fully understand your emotions, which then allows you to explain these emotions to others. Meanwhile, interpersonal effectiveness works on communication with others. This way patients can get their needs met without burning bridges or hurting relationships.

4. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is a form of CBT, and it focuses on identifying negative and self-destructive thoughts. The next step is to then question the rationality of those negative and destructive thoughts. When you identify these thoughts as irrational, then you are less likely to feel negative about them. This leaves you to be able to replace these self-destructive thoughts with positive ones that will not only make you feel better about yourself but also enables you to work toward your life goals.

5. Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing works by having the patient express their feelings and desires for change. This usually also provides the patient with the necessary motivation required to seek help and follow through with treatment. This is a short form of therapy, and it usually only requires 1 to 2 therapy sessions. However, it can also be a great precursor for future therapy.

6. Family Or Couples Therapy

Family and couples therapy is great for repairing close relationships during addiction treatment and recovery. During this type of therapy, you and your partner or family members attend a therapy session together where you all work on expressing your feelings and recognizing and listening to the feelings of others. Couples and family therapy often involves improving communication as well.

7. Group Therapy

Group therapy can be a great outlet for recovering addicts, and it can be in the form of a support group or a group therapy session from a therapist. Support groups are a place where recovering addicts can meet together, share their experiences, and provide support to others. Group therapy sessions work in the same way and have the same benefits, but it is led by a therapist. In addition to this, group therapy can involve a group of recovering addicts, a group of people who all have the same mental condition or even just a group with the same problem.


Addiction treatment and recovery is a lengthy process, and therapy is often involved. Although there are many different types of therapy out there, there are 7 main common types that are commonly used in addiction recovery. This could be short-term therapy such as motivational interviewing or more long-term forms of therapy. These long-term forms of therapy often included in addiction recovery include but are not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Contingency Management, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. In addition to this, many recovering addicts benefit from family therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy.

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