What Types of Counseling Can I Expect in Outpatient Treatment?

It’s very common for those going through the process of addiction recovery to enter into an inpatient residential treatment center. This is the most highly recommended route for its ability to offer people high levels of clinical care and supervision. There are however many circumstances that do not allow for in-patient treatment. For these cases, outpatient treatment is a perfect alternative. Outpatient treatment offers a variety of different counseling ad services that will help build a well-rounded recovery plan while tailoring to any time constraints or financial needs.

Why Outpatient Treatment?

Choosing to give up drugs and alcohol for life is the best decision someone can make for their lives and their health, but it’s a big commitment. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and committing to the process is committing yourself to make room for a lot of time, money, resources, and changes. 

An inpatient treatment plan requires the individual to completely give up their outside life, job, family, friends, and homes for a set amount of time. Depending on the addiction, it could be up to 6 months or more. If someone has school, kids, or job requirements that they just can’t give up, outpatient treatment is a perfect option. While you stay at home and keep up with your daily life, you still receive daily treatments that will keep you equally on top of your sobriety. 

Additionally, outpatient treatment is often added to a recovery plan after someone has already attended an inpatient residential program. Adding treatment beyond the residential time period is recommended for keeping individuals with a sober mindset, healthy habits, and remembering coping skills. 

Length of Outpatient Treatment 

The typical length of time for anyone enrolling in an outpatient treatment program is 1-3 months. Although since there is no “typical” addiction victim or recovery, treatment can last up to 6 months or even years if needed. Timing will depend on the specific needs and goals of the patient. Since the first three months tend to be the hardest for recovering addicts, those will likely be the most intense treatment months. Once the individual is more independent in their recovery, treatment may be condensed to just a few check-ins a month. 

Types of Counseling in Outpatient Treatment 

Outpatient treatment options won’t differ too much from in-patient programs, they will just be less intensive and typically only once a day. Most of the time, patients and caretakers will coordinate their schedules to have a set treatment time to meet every day of the week. This enables individuals to keep on top of a routine and allows the professional doctors/counselors the ability to keep track of patient progress. Some of the counseling options outpatient treatment can offer include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most popular and effective form of counseling for anyone suffering from addiction. This style of therapy is one on one with patients and licensed doctor. Sessions will consist of talk therapy styles designed to change the thinking patterns and mental habits of the recovering addict.

By changing the way we think about ourselves, the world, our problems, and our current state of being, we learn to make decisions that will better our lives and point us in the right direction. The doctor will perform initial mental health evaluations and continue with screenings throughout the treatment period. Based on progress and findings, sessions will be altered to better suit the patient’s needs. 

Teaching those with an addiction how to recognize triggers, emotions, and behaviors is one of the most successful ways to give them the tools they need to overcome the many challenges of addiction recovery. CBT gives clients and their counselors a space to discuss past events,  future goals, and how the two might affect one another. 

The thought patterns and life tools learned throughout CBT therapy allows patients to self-reflect and maintain healthy habits on their own. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is similar to cognitive therapy, except the basic model is talk therapy lead by one counselor with multiple participants. Group size doesn’t matter, but typically is three or more individuals all going through the recovery process. This style of therapy allows individuals to feel a sense of community in a process that often makes them feel isolated and alone. By talking about the challenges of recovery, peers can help keep each other accountable and give compassion and knowledge to help each other stay strong in sobriety. For outpatient treatment programs, group therapy usually has a set time every week or multiple times a week. 

Holistic Counseling: Meditation 

More and more treatment centers are recognizing the positive effects of holistic therapies when added to a treatment program for addiction recovery. Holistic therapy is a broad term for a type of service that considers the whole person and not just the physical disease. In other words, holistic practitioners believe the mental, physical, nutritional, emotional, and spiritual parts of us all have the ability to cause disease. 

Outpatient programs will allow you to schedule in holistic therapies to support your treatment plan. Meditation is a type of mental counseling that teaches you to quiet the mind, negative thoughts, and embrace silence and stillness in order to heal your own body and soul. 

Essentially, when you learn meditation you will learn how to listen to what your body needs and will no longer be as tempted to make decisions that could harm your health or recovery progress. 

Treatment Tailored to You

The goal of outpatient treatment is to offer every single person struggling to overcome addiction access to resources that will help them find sobriety. Time, finances, family, and other responsibilities shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you need. 
The counseling offered in outpatient treatment programs are run by qualified professionals with your best interest at heart. If you think an intensive outpatient treatment program would be a good fit for you or your loved one to get sober, speak with a treatment center counselor today and learn about the next steps for a sober life.