The Six Best Strategies for Successful Therapy

Intensive one-on-one psychotherapy is an important part of addiction recovery, not just in a treatment center, but for at least the first year of the recovery process. How can you find a good psychotherapist and get the most out of your psychotherapeutic experience? Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Choose Someone You Trust – Finding a good psychotherapist is a little bit like dating in that you have to “click.” Interview several therapists and find someone you trust. This person needs to be able to challenge you and hold boundaries, while still being someone you can rely on to hear and guide you in your recovery.


  1. Stay in Treatment for an Adequate Duration – Brief therapy generally is not well-suited for addicts in early recovery. At our treatment center, we suggest that addicts invest in themselves by seeing their psychotherapist twice a week for the first year, and weekly for the year after that. Our experience is that this allows for important healing around the core underlying issues that caused a person to use in the first place. Cost, of course, is a factor in therapy. If your insurance will not cover intensive psychotherapy for as long or often as you need it, talk with your therapist about a sliding scale or payment options.


  1. Find a Type of Psychotherapy that Resonates with You – Therapists specialize in different types of therapies. For addiction, behavioral therapies are some of the most commonly used. However, other therapies might work for you too. For example, some therapists will suggest somatic therapies to help addicts and trauma survivors become grounded and comfortable in their bodies. Be open to different types of therapy to see what works best for you.


  1. Do Your Homework – Very often, your psychotherapist will give you homework to do between sessions. Do it. The process of following direction and trying new things will help you to understand yourself better. You’ll find what works for you and what doesn’t. Be open to new activities.


  1. Try Adjunctive Activities – Many times, your psychotherapist will suggest adjunctive therapies or activities, such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation, etc. These types of complementary therapies work synergistically with psychotherapy and help cement the change process. Try them.


  1. Believe that Change is Possible – Your attitude and outlook are perhaps the most important parts of the process of personal transformation. If you believe it, you can become it. The more you act-as-if you can have the life of your dreams, the more likely it is that you will persevere in therapy and make the crucial life changes necessary to have the healthy, productive life you want.