Individual Therapy

What is individual therapy? How is it used in treatment for substance abuse? Learn how individual therapy can help you regain control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during substance abuse treatment.

Individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy that takes place on a one-on-one basis. The history of individual therapy stretches back to the turn of the last century when Sigmund Freud pioneered what he termed the “talking cure.” Freud proposed a two-part structure to the mind – the conscious and the unconscious – and most people were unaware of just how important this latter part was to their daily lives. He proposed that people’s motivations and issues are mainly located in the unconscious and it takes talking to a trained professional to draw these things to the surface.

While Freud was the originator of the idea, therapy has continued to evolve and change over time. As such, individual therapy encompasses a wide range of therapeutic techniques, all of which serve to help individuals identify and change unwanted thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Individual Therapy

What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a term used to describe therapy on a one-on-one basis between a therapist and a client. It’s sometimes referred to as “individual psychotherapy,” “talking therapy,” or just “therapy.” One-on-one therapy sessions are intended to give clients the ability to talk through their problems with a trained professional. Usually, sessions last for 45 minutes to an hour and are typically held on a weekly basis. With that being said, the exact frequency of the sessions will depend on the needs of the client.

We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What Is Individual Therapy Used For?

Individual therapy is a process through which clients work one-on-one with a trained therapist. In a safe and confidential setting, the therapist helps the client to explore their feelings, beliefs, or behaviors. The goal of individual therapy is to work through challenging or influential memories, better understand themselves and others, and work toward positive change.

One of the major life issues individual therapy is used to treat is substance use disorder. This is because mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD are often issues underlying addiction. Individual therapy aims to tackle addiction by addressing these root causes.

Remember, the purpose of individual therapy can vary widely based on the individual’s needs. It’s perfectly okay to seek therapy even if you aren’t dealing with a severe mental health disorder or crisis. It’s a tool for personal growth and improved mental well-being.

Types of Individual Therapy

South Coast Behavioral Health offers a range of individual therapy options as part of its treatment services. Each of our individual therapy approaches incorporates unique techniques to assist clients in processing emotions and cultivating healthy communication skills. Our individual therapy services provide tailored approaches to address the challenges that can arise during substance abuse treatment and recovery.

Individual Therapy
Types of individual therapy include:

The Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a crucial component of addiction treatment. During an individual therapy session, a therapist works one-on-one with the client to help them identify and address underlying issues related to their substance abuse. These issues can include mental illness, trauma, and relationship problems.

Through open and honest conversations, clients are able to gain insight into their substance use. This allows them to then develop coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers. Individual therapy can be incredibly effective in helping individuals build a strong foundation for addiction recovery. During treatment at South Coast, our licensed mental health therapists foster a safe environment where clients can explore their feelings and work toward lasting change.

Individual Therapy

Who Provides Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is usually done by psychiatrists, though psychologists, counselors, and social workers can also provide it. The choice of provider depends on the needs of the patient, the type of therapy required, and the provider’s specialty.

The most important thing is that the therapist is licensed. Finding a licensed therapist involves several steps, depending on your needs and resources. Here are some ways to go about it:

  • Insurance Provider —  If you have health insurance, the first place to look is your insurance provider’s directory. This will list in-network therapists, meaning their services are covered (fully or partially) by your insurance. You can typically find this directory on your insurance provider’s website or by calling customer service.
  • Doctor’s Referral —  You can also ask your primary care physician for a referral. Doctors often have a network of therapists they can recommend based on their knowledge of your health history.
  • Professional Directories —  Various professional organizations maintain directories of licensed therapists. The American Psychological Association is one such example.
  • Local Mental Health Clinics and Hospitals —  They may be able to provide referrals to therapists who work in your community.
  • University Training Clinics — Many universities have training clinics that offer therapy from graduate students. Because they are not yet fully licensed, these sessions can be had for a reduced rate. These students are supervised by licensed therapists.

When selecting a therapist, consider the therapist’s credentials, areas of expertise, therapeutic approach, and whether they seem like a good fit for your needs. Remember, it’s important to feel comfortable with your therapist. It’s okay to try a few before settling on the right one.

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Expectations for Therapists

Therapists have certain ethical guidelines and laws that they must abide by. These can vary depending on the country and professional organization, but they often include the following:

Individual Therapy

Anything you share in therapy is generally confidential, with some exceptions. For instance, a therapist may be required to break confidentiality if they believe you are in danger of harming yourself or others, or if they suspect abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult.

Therapists must inform you about the therapeutic process, potential risks, their qualifications, and any other relevant information so you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

Therapists are expected to provide services only in areas in which they are competent—typically those areas in which they have received appropriate training and experience.

Therapists must respect the autonomy and dignity of their clients. This includes respecting your cultural and social differences, and not discriminating against you.

Therapists are typically prohibited from entering into dual relationships with their clients—relationships where they are both a therapist and have a separate role, such as a business partner, friend, or family member. This is to prevent conflicts of interest and maintain the integrity of the therapeutic relationship.

What To Expect in Therapy

Therapy is a powerful tool, but you need to understand what to expect and how to get the most out of it for it to help you. During therapy, your counselor will be there to offer you the support and guidance you need to make the most of therapy. Together, you can collaborate with your therapist to explore your past and present situation and identify areas for improvement.

The focus of one-on-one therapy is to heal any emotional wounds from your past and help you achieve personal growth. With dedication and support from both yourself and your therapist, it is possible to make progress and reach desired outcomes.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Your therapist will create a personalized treatment plan with you that takes into account your goals for therapy, along with their own professional judgment. This treatment plan is designed to help you make progress in addressing the issues that brought you into therapy in the first place.


Therapy is a collaborative process, so it’s important to keep an open dialogue with your therapist. You should feel comfortable sharing openly and honestly. Try to take responsibility for any commitments or goals made in between sessions. Your therapist can also provide feedback and guidance as needed throughout the course of therapy. They can also help you develop skills that can be used in everyday life.

Therapy Techniques

Your therapist may use different techniques to help you achieve this, depending on their style and the needs of the patient.

Treatment options may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Psychoanalytic therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family Systems therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

…and other evidence-based therapies.

Coping Skills & Strategies

Your therapist can also give you practical advice and tools to help you with your day-to-day life. These include things like coping strategies for stress management, communication skills, relaxation techniques, and other self-care practices. Together, you can explore any underlying problems that may be contributing to your mental health issues. Your therapist will also be able to provide resources and referrals to other professionals, should the need arise.

Integrative Approach to Individual Therapy

Integrative therapy is an approach to healing that considers all aspects of an individual’s well-being, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This approach can be particularly effective in substance abuse treatment because it allows therapists to draw from a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities to create a comprehensive and holistic approach to healing. By combining different approaches, clients are often able to achieve more significant and lasting results than with traditional treatment methods alone.

During integrative therapy sessions, clients work with a therapist to identify the underlying causes of their substance abuse and addiction and develop personalized treatment plans that address their unique needs and challenges. These therapy sessions typically involve a combination of traditional talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness exercises, and body-centered practices such as yoga or acupuncture. 

As a part of addiction recovery, integrative individual therapy can help you develop greater self-awareness and self-compassion, leading to improved emotional regulation and a greater sense of connection to yourself and others. Above all, individual therapy focuses on helping you develop the skills and strategies you need to maintain your recovery and achieve a balanced, fulfilling life.

Therapy at South Coast Behavioral Health

At South Coast, we believe in empowering our clients to reach their full potential and become the best version of themselves. We understand that taking the first step on your mental health journey can be intimidating but we are here to guide you every step of the way. Our staff consists of highly experienced and compassionate professionals that are committed to providing exceptional care with respect and dignity. We strive to create a safe, welcoming environment where individuals can explore new possibilities for growth and healing. 

We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment tailored to each individual’s unique needs. We offer a variety of therapeutic approaches including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Solution-focused Therapy
  • Positive Psychology
  • Nutrition Counseling

In addition, we also provide supportive services such as medication management, case management, and group and family therapy.

Our Therapy Services

At South Coast, all of our therapists are licensed mental health professionals and have extensive experience. We understand that finding the right therapist is important for personal growth, so we provide a free consultation to all new clients. This way, you can find someone who aligns best with your needs. Many of our clinicians specialize in a variety of areas including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship problems, life transitions, and skills-based training.

We also have group therapy options, workshops, and online resources to help you find the right solution. Whether you’re looking for individual counseling, family counseling, or something else entirely, our trained professionals can provide the support you need.

We strive to match each client with a therapist who’s a good fit for them and their individual goals. To learn more about how to find the right therapist, give us a call today. We’ll help verify your insurance and get you started on your recovery journey. We look forward to helping you!

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Individual Therapy in Orange County, CA

If you are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, individual therapy may be an effective treatment option for you. It is important to note that individual sessions require active participation in order for them to be successful. If you think individual therapy might be right for you, please reach out to us today!

We provide individual therapy for men within our medical detox and residential treatment centers in Irvine, CA. 

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We offer individual therapy for women at our medical detox and residential treatment centers in Huntington Beach, CA. 

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We provide individual therapy for men within our residential inpatient facility in Costa Mesa, CA. 

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We provide individual therapy during our PHP and IOP programs in Newport Beach, CA. 

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Along with individual therapy, our treatment centers in California offer a wide range of services and dedicated addiction specialists who will help you begin your journey. We believe in empowering real people to get real, lasting results in recovery. 

Let us help you take back your life.
You are the most important individual that we can help. You matter to us in ways that we cannot describe in words. Your life has value, and no matter how broken you think you are, we are here to help put the pieces back together.