Forgot about therapy for a second. Let’s imagine that you are starting a garden. On the one hand, we all know what a garden is—a place to intentionally grow and care for plants—but if you tell someone you are starting a garden, they may well have a question: What kind of garden?
There are, after all, lots and lots of options. You could focus on flowers and other ornamental plants. You could focus on growing food. You could create a combination of the two. You could start a garden for your own enjoyment or one that might be shared with others. You might focus on growing plants that serve essential pollinators and butterflies. You might focus on growing enough food that you can donate to a food pantry or participate in a farmer’s market.
Again, we know what a garden is—but under the umbrella of the word, there are many, many possibilities.
The word “therapy” is similar to the word “garden” in this way. We all have a general sense of what therapy is, but there are many, many different kinds of therapy. Each serves a different purpose, and a variety of therapy that serves one person well might not be so helpful for someone else.
So, when you are thinking about therapy, a question naturally follows: What kind of therapy?
In this blog and a forthcoming entry, we will take a look at a range of therapeutic approaches so that you have a sense of what the options might be. Of course, in practice, you will work with a trained therapist to determine the best approach for you.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
We start with a pair of therapeutic options that have much in common. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help an individual work toward solutions to problems they are currently facing. To do that, a person engaged in CBT works through functional analysis with their therapist—a fancy way of saying that they work to discover the cause or causes of current difficulties. Functional analysis is followed by skills training—which simply means finding healthier ways to address the challenges in question. CBT is grounded in understanding the intersections of thoughts, feelings, actions, and generally lasts for 12 to 16 sessions.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) adds a focus on mindfulness, distress tolerance, and acceptance. The idea here is to help individuals who struggle to manage their reactions to stressful situations or who experience intense emotions that upend their well-being to better regulate their reactions and emotions. Developing a higher level of distress tolerance can be extremely important when a person is trying to maintain their sobriety.
Family Systems Therapy
A family is like a team—and as is true on all teams, each of the members has a specific role (or roles) that they play. When one member of the family is struggling with a substance use disorder, the usual operation of the team is disrupted. To get things back on track, it can help to call a team meeting. That’s basically what family systems therapy is all about. With the help of a therapist, families come together to improve their relationships, clarify or redefine their roles, strengthen communication, and overcome shared challenges.
We should note that family systems therapy’s effectiveness is not limited to families dealing with substance use disorders; it can be an effective way for families to come together to address a range of issues.
Mental Health and Sobriety Go Hand in Hand
When you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the most important thing you can do is get into treatment to regain your sobriety. But it is undeniable that mental health disorders and substance use disorders are often linked. A mental health disorder may contribute to the development of a substance use disorder; a substance use disorder may worsen a mental health disorder; or it may be the case that the two just cannot be separated from one another in any meaningful way.
In any event, one way to better your chance of maintaining your hard-won sobriety is to take care of your mental health.
We Can Help You Plant the Seeds of Recovery
At The Aviary Recovery Center near St. Louis, MO, we personalize treatment plans to ensure you get the care you need to regain your sobriety and strengthen your overall mental well-being. We are ready to help you plant the seeds of a life free from the influence of drugs and alcohol.