5 Reasons Why Confrontational Therapy is Successful in Addiction Treatment

individual therapy session

The development of alcohol or drug addiction is a cumulative process, occurring as a result of biological, developmental, and environmental factors. Some individuals are predisposed to addiction or are especially susceptible to the development of chemical dependency; this can occur when individuals grow up exposed to substance abuse behavior or are part of social circles consisting of substance abusers. However, even those who aren’t particularly susceptible to addiction can fall prey to its power, resulting in a number of profound changes and personal deterioration.

Fortunately, recovery is available through a variety of evidence-based therapies and complementary treatments, which are incorporated into addiction treatment programs that can address that many effects of addiction. The therapies and treatments that are offered as part of these recovery programs can entail counseling and psychotherapy, forms of skills-building, relapse prevention education, group and family therapy, and even holistic treatments like guided meditation and acupuncture. Moreover, many of the treatments individuals receive as part of an addiction recovery program can employ a variety of techniques or modalities. One such technique calls for a more confrontational approach to be incorporated into addiction treatment. Though controversial, there’s been evidence suggesting that confrontation can be an effective means of helping alcohol and drug addicts to realize the dire consequences of addiction and make corrective efforts to overcome their dependencies. As such, here are five reasons why confrontational therapy can be successful when used in addiction treatment.

Confrontational Therapy Forces Reflection and Self-Assessment

Addiction is a disease that is characterized by altered structure and functioning of the brain, causing impaired, irrational thoughts and behaviors. As such, addicts tend to have a very warped way of thinking that helps to sustain their addictive behaviors long-term. With their psychology so thoroughly altered, the passage of time makes abnormal seem more normal to them. Confrontation used in a therapeutic setting can encourage reflection, forcing an individual to consider their motivations and thoughts in a more analytical light. This can be instrumental in helping individuals to recognize harmful or self-destructive mental processes that have caused so much deterioration while in the throes of active addiction. Being more critical of oneself is an essential part of self-improvement and identifying potential avenues for positive change.

Using Confrontation in Therapy Brings Individuals Back Down to Reality

Over the course of years spent in addiction to alcohol and drugs, individuals tell themselves many lies in order to justify their poor choices and bad behaviors, allowing them to continue living in denial. Despite the adversity they often face on a daily basis, they make themselves believe that continued substance abuse is a better choice than overcoming physical dependency. As such, even after beginning the journey of recovery it’s often difficult for individuals to be realistic about many things; denial can seem a preferably alternative to mental or emotional distress. However, confrontational therapy can serve as a sort of “reality check,” helping individuals to assess their situation and circumstances more realistically. This can be especially useful when helping individuals to accept the severity of their previous actions as well as for setting recovery goals.

Confrontation Can Overcome Denial

Much like using confrontation to give individuals a reality check, confrontational therapy has proven to be highly effective in overcoming the denial that many addicts tend to have. Especially in instances when individuals are in recovery involuntarily, they may maintain the misguided belief that they do not need treatment. Alternately, individuals often believe that their addictions aren’t very severe or that they could overcome dependency on their own without the need for treatment. In these and many other cases, research has indicated forceful confrontation can be instrumental in helping an individual overcome denial.

one on one therapy

A Confrontational Approach Can Help Individuals Overcome Dysfunction

Individuals in the throes of alcohol or drug addiction are dishonest both to others and to themselves. Similar to the denial they often have over the reality and severity of their addictions, they’re frequently unable to see how altered and dysfunctional their patterns of thought can be; after years of thinking like an addict, even the most irrational thoughts can seem rational. Confrontation can be used to great effect in identifying those discrepancies in one’s thoughts, helping them to repair an illogical mentality and the resultant behaviors that occur. Moreover, confrontation makes individuals somewhat more vulnerable, which can be beneficial in helping individuals to identify their psychological defects.

Confrontation Helps to Overcome Resistance to Change

Individuals who are caught in the throes of active addiction will often continue on their self-destructive paths until some sort of obstacle forces them to alter their course. For many, this occurs with the psychological jolt an addict gets by hitting rock bottom, or a low point in the individual’s life that results from a substance abuse problem. By nature, the psychological effect of hitting rock bottom is that it makes individuals more receptive to the prospect of overcoming addiction. In short, these individuals reach the point of realizing that living in active addiction is not a sustainable lifestyle; they cannot continue without making positive changes.
Confrontational therapy works on a very similar principle, being a sort of emotional obstacle that makes individuals more receptive to change. However, timing is essential when utilizing a confrontational approach; individuals who are open to the possibility of change yet stuck in patterns of destructive thought and behavior tend to get the most benefit from confrontational therapy. It helps them to overcome their resistance to change and become more receptive to recovery.

Explore Treatment and Recovery Options Today

As with any addiction treatment, confrontational therapy isn’t an approach that is right for everyone. However, under the right circumstances and with certain individuals confrontation in therapy has shown to be highly effective in many ways. It’s important for individuals to personalize addiction treatment programs to include the therapies that best address each addict’s recovery needs. If you or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would like to learn more about recovery, call Recovery Hub at 888-220-4352. We have a team of recovery specialists available to match individuals to the programs they need to return to sobriety, health, and lives of fulfillment. Don’t wait; call us today.

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