Individualized Therapy

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Individual Therapy

Individual therapy — also referred to as individual counseling, talk therapy or psychotherapy — is a process during which clients work one-on-one by a licensed and experienced therapist, exploring the personal challenges they face in a safe and supportive environment. Individual therapy sessions provide our clients with the opportunity to dive deep into uncomfortable emotions, past experiences, unhealthy behavioral patterns and contributing factors, ultimately working through the barriers that have prevented them from staying sober long-term and the underlying issues that led them to substance abuse in the first place. Over time, our clients identify the areas of their lives that require change, and develop personal recovery goals as they actively work towards long-term healing.

At Guardian Recovery we believe in client-driven therapy, meaning that specific therapeutic goals are determined by each individual client and his or her licensed therapist together. Many underlying issues are resolved while the client is in treatment, however, we encourage a continuation of individual therapy once treatment has concluded.

Extensive scientific research supports the fact that individual psychotherapy leads to decreased relapse rates as far as substance abuse and dependence is concerned. This is especially true when a client suffers from underlying mental health concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression. According to an article published in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis titled “A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Integrated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Versus Individual Addiction Counseling for Co-occurring Substance Use and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders,” individual therapy that focuses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is extremely effective when it comes to men and women who are suffering from unresolved trauma and substance abuse. At Guardian Recovery CBT is just one of the many proven therapeutic methods we employ.

The Principles of Effective Individual Therapy

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are several principles that go hand-in-hand with effective addiction treatment. These principles are essentially as follows:

  • Addiction is a complex disease that affects the way the brain functions. Although addiction is complex, it can be effectively treated.
  • Effective treatment methods vary depending on the unique needs of each individual client. The services that work for one client might not work as well for another, which is why the overall treatment process must be highly personalized.
  • Addiction treatment must be easily accessible and readily available.
  • In order to be truly effective, treatment must address every need of the individual, including his or her psychological, medical, social and vocational needs.
  • It is crucial that the client stays involved in treatment long-term.
  • Behavioral therapies – including individual therapy – are the most common and effective methods of treatment for substance abuse and dependence.
  • In some instances, Medication Assisted Treatment must be combined with behavioral therapy in order for sobriety to be maintained.
  • It is crucial that all underlying mental health conditions are adequately addressed.
  • Individual treatment plans must be continuously re-assessed and modified accordingly (at Guardian Recovery, ongoing treatment plan modifications are facilitated by case managers).
  • In order to be truly effective, addiction treatment does not necessarily have to be voluntary. Clients simply have to become willing to receive support over time.
  • Treatment must be closely monitored and often incentivized in order to prevent a return to unhealthy behavioral patterns.

At Guardian Recovery we take all of the above-listed principles into careful consideration during every stage of the treatment process. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the most individualized care possible, and in order to achieve this goal we constantly observe and modify personalized treatment plans based on the progress that each client makes and the challenges that he or she continuously faces.

Topics We Cover in Individual Therapy

The topics that are covered in individual therapy differ significantly based on the unique needs of each client. The topics we tend to focus on include:

  • Personal history with substance abuse and dependence
  • The presence of any underlying mental health concerns, like anxiety or depression
  • Family history of substance abuse and mental health
  • What it was like growing up, and the potential presence of any underlying or unresolved childhood trauma
  • Personal addiction recovery goals
  • Other important life goals, such as entering into a long-term career, returning to school and meeting personal educational goals, entering into a healthy and committed relationship or overcoming long-standing challenges
  • How to effectively overcome personal relapse triggers and work through uncomfortable feelings and emotions
  • The grieving process – how to grieve loss in a healthy and effective way
  • Coping with stress and anxiety/stress management techniques
  • Working through any additional unresolved trauma

Again, the focus of each individual therapy session varies based on the needs of each individual client. As part of our client-centered approach to individual therapy, clients have the opportunity to bring up any topics they feel are pertinent. The licensed therapist guides the conversation, focusing on the facilitation of comprehensive emotional and psychological healing.

The Therapeutic Services We Provide

Individual therapy is a highly effective and evidence-based method of addiction recovery, but it is not a stand-alone solution. At Guardian Recovery we believe in offering the most integrated and personalized program of clinical care available, and in order to achieve this goal we provide our clients with an extensive range of therapeutic services. Additional therapeutic services we offer include:

Begin Your Personal Journey of Healing

If you or someone you love has been struggling with substance abuse or dependence, beginning a long-term journey of healing is as simple as picking up the phone and calling us today. At Guardian Recovery we have developed an admissions process that is as simple and straightforward as possible. We understand that committing to a long-term program of recovery can be overwhelming in and of itself. For this reason, our dedicated team of mental health professionals is available to walk you through every stage of the early recovery process, from start to finish. The moment you call us we begin by conducting a brief pre-assessment over the phone, which can easily be completed in under 10 minutes. We ask a series of personal but non-invasive questions, geared towards helping our clinical team determine which level of therapeutic intervention is the most appropriate for each unique case. Next, we explore potential coverage options. At Guardian Recovery we work closely with most major regional and national health insurance providers in order to make our program of recovery as accessible as possible. If you or your loved one is underinsured or entirely uninsured we offer a range of additional options, including self-pay and private pay. Finally, we set a date and a time for intake and arrange plans for safe and reliable transportation whenever necessary.

If you or someone you love has been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, Guardian Recovery is available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our therapeutic recovery program, or to begin on a journey of thorough and lasting healing. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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