Have you ever felt stuck with your addiction recovery unsure what steps to take? Look no further! This blog post will help educate you on how psychotherapy can help support clients experiencing substance use or concurrent disorders to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.

Is Psychotherapy Effective for Addiction?

Psychotherapy or talk therapy, is a way to work through an individual's thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In coping with addiction, your therapist can work with you to cultivate a treatment catered to your goals.

What Therapeutic Interventions Can Be Used To Treat Addictions?

There are several therapeutic interventions that can be used to treat addiction, the one that will be addressed in this blog post is Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing or MI, is one of the most commonly used therapeutic approaches for addiction as it promotes the participant's self-efficacy in treatment and focuses on their own motivation for change. The spirit of MI focuses on 4 main components, collaboration, acceptance, compassion and evocation. 

Collaboration: working with your therapist and creating a partnership that is non-confrontational and led by the client’s views.

Acceptance: understanding while promoting the client’s inherent worth.

Compassion: prioritizing the needs and well-being of the client to motivate the desire for positive change.

Evocation: drawing out the client’s motivation for change through their values, hopes and strengths.

Understanding the Stages of Change in Addiction Recovery

In treating addiction, your course of recovery may fluctuate. Learning about the stages of change can help you understand that addiction recovery is a process. The importance of identifying the stages of change is to provide the best type of intervention depending on where the client is on their journey with their addiction and what their current goals might look like depending on which stage they are currently experiencing. 

There are 5 stages of change:

  1. Precontemplation: The costs of the problem behavior (such as drug use) are not yet recognized. The individual is in denial and is not seriously considering changing their behavior. They may have made previous attempts to change, but have since given up. 
  2. Contemplation: The individual is experiencing ambivalence about change. They can see reasons to change their behavior, but they are still hesitant. The problem behavior continues. 
  3. Preparation: The individual has decided to change their behavior, and they begin to think about how to do so. During this stage, they will begin to make minor changes to support their goal, but they might not have completely ended the unwanted behavior. 
  4. Action: Significant steps are taken to end the problem behavior. The individual might be avoiding triggers, reaching out for help, or taking other steps to avoid temptation. 
  5. Maintenance: The changes made during the action stage are maintained. The individual may continue to face challenges, but at this point, they have successfully changed their behavior for a significant period of time.

It is important to note that going through these stages is not always a linear process. You can move forward through the stages of your recovery journey.


In beginning to think about your own motivation for change, here are 3 techniques you can try:

Motivation Ruler

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 indicating no motivation to change, and 10 being that you have no doubt about wanting to change, where would you rate yourself? Depending on your answer, your therapist might wonder further about your reason for choosing the number you chose. Why isn’t it lower? How can we move you from a 4 to a 5 on the ruler?

Think About Extremes

Take a second to think about the best and worst-case scenarios. If you continue using drugs, what is the worst that could happen in the next 5 years? What would be the best possible outcome if you quit?

Explore Your Values

What are your biggest values in life? How do those values align with your addiction? Your therapist can help guide you through this process of naming your values and realize how your values can be impacted by your addiction.


In this blog post, you were given a basic understanding of the role of psychotherapy in addiction treatment. Connect with a therapist today to help get you started on your addiction treatment!





Darshana Patel

Darshana Patel

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