What is Outpatient Treatment?
Outpatient treatment is addiction counseling that does not require individuals to enter a residential program. While in outpatient treatment, individuals can continue living at home or in a sober house. This allows them the opportunity to receive the help and support they need to combat their addiction while maintaining their daily responsibilities and remaining close to their loved ones.
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 can be particularly important for students and those who can not step away from their job or family responsibilities.
Is Outpatient Treatment as Effective as Rehab?
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.
Like inpatient programs, outpatient treatment provides a wide variety of services from individual and group counseling to addiction education and wellness activities. Outpatient services are offered during flexible day and evening hours to ensure that individuals are able to seamlessly fit their addiction treatment within their busy schedules.
Individual Counseling and 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, individuals in outpatient treatment are not. Because of this, those in outpatient treatment have 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 on how to approach these situations as well as ease stress. Not only does outpatient individual counseling allow the individual to receive timely advice, but it also 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.
What to Expect from Individual Counseling
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 achieve and maintain sobriety. 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 particular needs and goals. Through outpatient individual counseling, individuals can navigate through their daily lives with confidence knowing that they have guidance available to them whenever needed.
Group Counseling and Outpatient Treatment
When struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, individuals often feel lonely and isolated. Even when their loved ones are supportive of their recovery, individuals may feel as if no one truly understands what they are going through. Group counseling shows them that they are not alone in recovery.
One of the key benefits of group therapy is that everyone gets to share their experiences, struggles, and accomplishments. This can help individuals gain a fresh perspective on their issues and learn from others’ experiences. And because community and support are at the core of group counseling, many form long-lasting friendships with others in the group.
What to Expect from Group Counseling
Group counseling provides individuals with a safe, therapeutic space to discuss common challenges and gain a deeper understanding of their addiction. While sessions vary depending on the group and what each individual is currently going through, common topics include: triggers, relapse prevention, self-care, family dynamics, and coping strategies.
Some common benefits to group counseling are:
- The opportunity to give and receive support.
- Being able to share without judgement.
- New insight on shared issues.
- A sense of accountability.
- Improved communication and socialization skills.
Sharing in front of a group can seem daunting at first, but learning honest communication and how to effectively share feelings is an important part of recovery. Through group counseling, individuals will gain the support and confidence they need to tackle any challenges they may face.