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Addiction Treatment Therapies

Addiction is a lifelong disease that can affect every area of your life. When you struggle with an addiction, there are underlying factors that contributed to the development of your condition. There are unchecked emotions, behaviors, and even traumas that must be addressed before you will fully recover from addiction.

Addressing the root causes of addiction is essential for long-term recovery, as a result, therapy is a key component of addiction treatment. While you might be hesitant to engage in addiction treatment therapies, therapy will provide you with the ability to cope with life situations without feeling the need to use drugs or alcohol.

What Types of Therapy Are Used in Addiction Treatment?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovering from addiction. Each person who enters a drug addiction treatment program might require different methods of treatment, so there are several types of therapies used during addiction treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach to addiction recovery that focuses on changing harmful thinking patterns, negative behaviors, and unhealthy coping mechanisms you might have learned during the course of your life.[1] CBT uses problem-solving strategies to help you deal with difficult situations while helping you develop self-confidence and a healthy outlook on life and the people around you.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is goal-oriented, so it is effective in helping you learn how to solve problems by using healthy coping mechanisms. The skills you learn in CBT can help stop you from feeling the need to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with unwanted emotions or feelings.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in addiction treatment is a cognitive-behavioral approach aimed at helping individuals with substance use disorders. It focuses on enhancing emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal skills.

DBT teaches clients to identify and cope with triggers, urges, and cravings, promoting healthier ways to manage emotions and stress without resorting to addictive behaviors. It combines individual therapy, group sessions, and skill-building exercises to foster long-term recovery and reduce the risk of relapse.

DBT’s emphasis on acceptance and change fosters a balanced perspective, empowering individuals to develop healthier coping mechanisms and lead fulfilling lives without substance dependency.

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is a type of therapy that uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors. The idea behind this therapeutic process is that rewarding a positive behavior will cause you to continue making good choices.[2] Contingency management has been proven effective in treating substance use disorders, as it teaches the brain that you can receive rewards for good behavior (abstinence) rather than by using drugs or alcohol.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based therapy for addiction and alcoholism. This type of therapy involves a therapist motivating their client by focusing on their intrinsic motivations or values. Motivational interviewing works so well because it helps retrain the brain to seek pleasure and reward from positive behaviors instead of drugs and alcohol.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “The core goals of MI are to express empathy and elicit clients’ reasons for and commitment to changing substance use and other unhealthy behaviors .”[3]

Family Therapy

Family therapy is used to achieve two main goals: to help the family understand the client’s addiction and to repair any broken relationships inside the family.[4] Family therapy can reduce feelings of loneliness and a greater understanding between you and your family members. In other words, family therapy helps you gain the support you need to be successful in addiction recovery.

12-Step Facilitation Therapy

12-step facilitation therapy uses the foundations and structure of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to treat the spiritual, emotional, and behavioral aspects of substance use disorders.[5] By using the 12 steps, you can overcome the wrongdoings of your past, let go of traumas, and learn how to change negative patterns of behavior into positive ones. 12-Step facilitation therapy is best suited for individuals who believe in some type of spirituality or religion, as it relies on giving up control to a higher power.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

Relapse prevention therapy has one primary goal: prevent drug and alcohol relapse. During therapy, clients identify potential triggers, develop coping skills, and come up with a plan that they can carry out in order to curb cravings and prevent relapse.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that was created to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma. Because addiction and trauma often go hand in hand, many addiction treatment programs use this type of therapy.

EMDR helps you overcome trauma by replacing negative images of a distressing situation with positive beliefs. During EMDR, your therapist will ask you to recount traumatic memories while you receive bilateral stimulation, reducing the negative emotional responses that those memories cause.[6]

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies are complementary approaches to addiction treatment that consider the individual as a whole, addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their well-being. These therapies focus on restoring balance and promoting healing in various ways. Examples include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Nutrition
  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy
  • Equine-assisted therapy
  • Mindfulness practices

These holistic therapies aim to complement traditional addiction treatment approaches by addressing the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, fostering a more balanced and comprehensive path to recovery.

Start Addiction Treatment Therapy Today

If you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder, it’s time to seek help. Addiction can take over your entire life, leading to emotional, social, behavioral, physical, and even legal consequences, but the various addiction treatment therapies can help you overcome these issues and pave the way for long-term recovery.

To learn more about our South Florida addiction treatment programs, contact Mandala Healing Center today.


  1. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders, Retrieved July 2023 From
  2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Contingency management: what it is and why psychiatrists should want to use it, Retrieved July 2023 From
  3. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): USING MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING IN SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER TREATMENT, Retrieved July 2023 From
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Chapter 3—Family Counseling Approaches, Retrieved July 2023 From
  5. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy Manual, Retrieved July 2023 From
  6. The American Psychological Association (APA): Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Retrieved July 2023 From