Psychotherapy’s important role in addiction treatment

Psychotherapy is often known as “talk therapy.” When we think about psychiatrists or psychotherapists, the word often conjures up mental images of bearded, Dr. Sigmund Freud-type characters. It is true, psychotherapists are well educated and trained, but one rarely sees the Hollywood version in practice. Psychotherapists are regular men and women who are highly motivated to help others overcome or manage their problems.

If you’re seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, an eating disorder, or a non-substance dependency such as gambling, shopping or pornography, you may be curious about psychotherapists and exactly what they do. They assist in the recovery process a number of ways, they:

  • Help people understand why they turned to drugs or alcohol. In some cases, problems stem from unresolved childhood issues or traumatic experience.
  • Ask questions designed to guide the discussion and give people specific issues to think about. Sometimes, they may leave the topic of conversation up to the client.
  • Create confidence and encourage people who are nervous, ashamed or uncertain about discussing personal issues.
  • Help clients learn and practice coping techniques and problem-solving skills that help navigate difficult situations without turning to drugs or alcohol.
  • Suggest ways to change aspects of life that are no longer effective or useful, and replace them with positive life changes.
  • Discuss, help repair or discontinue dysfunctional personal relationships that may stand in the way of recovery.
  • Identify underlying issues such as trauma or abuse, which might influence emotions and behaviour on a subconscious level.
  • Use various techniques to enhance self-discovery, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) among many others, which helps people understand and change destructive thought patterns and help them replace them with constructive ones.
  • First and foremost, psychotherapists help clients rediscover and rebuild their very own intrinsic self-worth, self-esteem and self-love.

Exploring painful feelings and unpleasant experiences can be difficult, but psychotherapists are highly skilled and able to help people manage and work through them. Breakdowns can be turned into breakthroughs through the help of empathic and engaged psychotherapists.

In Switzerland, psychiatrists are often also trained as psychotherapists and thus able to combine assessment, mental health diagnostics and treatment by using various methods of psychotherapy in one highly effective discipline. Many psychotherapists also offer family therapy and family counseling because they have qualifications in systemic family therapy. Others are specialized in hypnotherapy, trauma-therapy like EMDR etc.

Psychotherapy is an important aspect of any effective chemical dependency treatment. It is used in combination with other therapeutic modalities such as counseling, family therapy, nutritional counseling and biochemical restoration, along with complementary therapies such as bioresonance, acupuncture, reflexology, personal training and massage therapy.

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