There is a common misconception that outpatient treatment is not as effective as inpatient treatment, and that’s simply not the case. According to a study in the journal European Addiction Research, outpatient treatment is just as valuable and perhaps even more effective for certain individuals.
Those who are in good physical health and have a stable living environment are perfect candidates for outpatient treatment. This type of program allows the individual to continue living in their familiar surroundings, and in some cases, even continue their regular work routine. This is can be particularly important to students or someone who is the head of a household and cannot easily take leave of their responsibilities.
Outpatient treatment programs provide a wide variety of services from individual counseling and group counseling to addiction education and wellness activities. Among these services individual counseling is especially powerful in helping an individual tackle any real-world challenges they face.
Although individual counseling sessions vary depending on the individual’s needs their overall goal is to improve self-awareness and increase inner strength. These sessions provide individuals with encouragement and help finding their own motivation to get and remain sober. Some common topics discussed during sessions are:
- Understanding the underlying cause of one’s addiction.
- Withdrawal symptoms and stress management techniques.
- Personal obstacles such as rebuilding relationships, abstaining from negative influences, and discussing recovery in the work, school, or family environment.
- Replacing bad habits with positive lifestyle changes such as cooking, painting, writing, gardening, or running.
- Maintaining sobriety in social settings.
- Developing strong support networks.
- Short and long term goals.
One-on-one therapy sessions allow clinicians to gain a deeper understanding of an individual’s unique situation, and then provide specific recommendations to help the individual address their specific needs and goals.
Benefits for those in Outpatient Treatment
Individual counseling can be a very powerful tool of recovery, particularly for those in outpatient treatment. While those in inpatient treatment are isolated from outside factors, those individuals in outpatient treatment are not.
A key benefit of receiving individual counseling as part of the outpatient treatment is the ability to discuss challenges as they occur. For example, an individual in outpatient treatment might suddenly find themselves in a particularly stressful work situation and can go back to their clinician for advice. The clinician can guide them through the situation in real time and offer solutions how to approach the situations well as ease stress. Not only does outpatient individual counseling allow the individual to receive timely advice but it allows them to immediately put into practice recovery skills learned in treatment. And if the skills do not work quite right, they can share feedback with their clinician who can help them improve the skill or develop an alternate technique.
Through outpatient individual counseling, individuals can navigate through their daily lives with the confidence of knowing that they have guidance available to them whenever needed.