When someone with a behavioral problem makes the decision to get the help they need, they take a huge and courageous step into the unknown. It can be traumatic, it will be hard and there are many pressures to fall off the straight and narrow path.
The relationship with the therapist can help make the difference between success and failure for the person in recovery.
Detox is only the first stage
The first step toward wellness is detox. This is an intense period which often takes place under medical supervision and can be traumatic.
Once that has passed, there is a need to rebuild and create a framework where the person in recovery can learn to be a functional member of society.
This can include different types of therapy for different aspects of the problem.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In sessions with a behavioral therapist, the person in rehab learns to understand how negative patterns result in unwanted behavior. Together the person and therapist identify situations which might temp past behavior and explore how there could be a different outcome in the situation next time.
A variation on this theme is play therapy which is a route to help children express things they might otherwise have difficulty talking about in any other way.
In family therapy, the recoveree’s loved ones are involved and both get to see the impact of the problem from the other side. The aim of understanding is the goal. In many cases, there has been no way in which either could have seen the point of view of the other until this point.
This involves a session run by a certified therapist where the person gets to meet other people dealing with similar issues, but at different stages along the way.
The value for the person lies in seeing that it is possible to become fully functioning again and that there is a way out. Their stories, in turn, will inspire others, and ultimately the group will create a supportive network of people who understand each other.
There are other types of therapy which could be used. 12-step is famous but is not the only one. If alcohol or drugs are the issue, aversion therapy may be appropriate. If anorexia is being treated, contingency management may be more successful.
Mutual Trust and Respect
The relationship between therapist and client is of the utmost importance. The person in recovery must be able to trust the therapist enough to feel vulnerable and so must believe at a core level that the therapist is truly invested in their wellbeing.
The therapist is trained to recognize approaches that might work with specific clients. The counselor will adapt their style to reflect a mode which will work but it has to be in a way that the person finds genuine as well as helpful. The therapist and client share a common goal, and they just need to work out a path to it.