Therapies Used in Addiction Treatment

One Size Does Not Fit All

Learn about the most effective types of therapy for treating substance use disorders.


Therapies Used in Addiction Treatment

One Size Does Not Fit All

Learn about the most effective types of therapy for treating substance use disorders.

The information presented on this page is a general overview and is offered here as a comprehensive resource. At Ampelis Recovery, our programs are customized and tailored to the individual’s needs. Specific details below that cover treatment protocols may not reflect the protocols used for our clients.

If you would like to learn more about Ampelis Recovery and our customized programs for professional men, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

What Is It?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) refers to psychological treatments used to reorientate a person’s worldview.1 Initially invented by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, CBT posits that a person’s perception of themselves, the future, and the world around them drives depression, anger, and other negative thoughts. If a person views the world negatively, they will gravitate towards negative emotions.2

CBT also considers the prevalence of automatic thought in treatments. Automatic thoughts are regularly occurring thoughts that are not in a person’s control. The purpose of CBT is to shift the person’s perception of the world into a healthier, happier point-of-view and lessen the symptoms of mental disorders.1

How Does CBT Help Addiction Treatment?

Treatment centers use CBT effectively in many recovery plans. Research shows treatments for nicotine and marijuana utilize CBT the most effectively.1

Learn More About Healing the Brain

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

What Is It?

Ketamine, a medication that produces a temporary sense of disconnection between mind and body, is one of the safest and most effective medicines used in treatment.3 Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is a form of monitored therapy designed to reduce the symptoms of severe depression, crippling anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues.4

Recent research shows the effectiveness of using ketamine to treat substance abuse, specifically cocaine, opioids, and alcohol. John Abenstein, MD, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, says, “In the right hands, [ketamine] is a miracle.”5

KAP requires a person to visit a clinic to receive treatment.

How Does KAP Help Addiction Treatment?

Understanding ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is dependent on understanding the link between depression and addiction. Depression slows down cognitive functions, intensifies negative thoughts, and makes a person more prone to relapse. Ketamine counteracts the symptoms of depression, in doing so, strengthens the person’s resolve. KAP also helps stabilize mood over a prolonged period. KAP has a history of effectiveness that dates back to the 1970s.6

Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy

What Is It?

Dr. Marsha Linehan developed dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) in the 1980s.7 Primarily, doctors use dialectical-behavioral therapy to treat borderline personality disorder and other mental disorders. There is a proven link between mental health and addiction that makes DBT an effective treatment method. DBT encourages a person to accept that life is full of challenges while indirectly persuading them to change their overall worldview to overcome those challenges.

How Does DBT Help Addiction Treatment?

Any form of mental illness directly contributes to the risk for and intensity of addiction. DBT confronts addiction’s emotional roots and teaches the person healthy coping mechanisms. 64% of people who remained in DBT treatments after detox showed a long-term reduction of substance abuse and lessened risk of psychiatric episodes.8

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

What Is It?

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) confronts a person’s unhealthy automatic thoughts, reactions, and emotions. Furthermore, it seeks to establish a hard line between rational and irrational fears and behaviors.9 Pioneered by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1957, REBT suggests that life’s challenges are not inherently the problem. Instead, the problem arises from how an individual copes with and recovers from the problem.9

How Does REBT Help Addiction Treatment?

REBT breaks the psychological urges for addiction. It also helps a person develop a more conscientious view of their emotions, thoughts, and experiences.10 REBT encourages positive traits, explains the irrationality of specific ideas, and role-plays areas for improvement.

REBT increases a person’s self-esteem.11 The cognitive-behavioral changes outlined in REBT take time to be implemented but produce long-lasting results.11

Motivational Interviewing

What Is It?

Motivational interviewing (MI) was first theorized in 1991 by Doctors Miller and Rollnick. MI targets the will to change and, in doing so, increases the likelihood of a person completing a rehab program.12

How Does MI Help Addiction Treatment?

MI tends to blend many forms of positive reinforcement into a single practice. As such, Motivational interviewing’s effectiveness requires using other cognitive-behavioral therapies simultaneously. MI shows the most consistent results with those battling alcohol addiction.12

Being a subtle form of cognitive therapy, MI requires skilled therapists. There is a documented link between psychologists’ level and experience and MI’s effectiveness on a person. Motivational interviewing requires a high level of empathy on the part of the psychologist.12

MI needs to be started as early as possible in the treatment process to maximize its effectiveness.12

Matrix Model

What Is It?

The matrix model (MM), a neurobehavioral treatment, combines many empirical addiction practices.13 The matrix model treats people with stimulant addictions such as cocaine, Adderall, or methamphetamine. MM uses a two-part treatment team that includes two therapists acting in sync, one as a teacher and one as a coach.

How Does MM Help Addiction Treatment?

MM weaves a variety of proven treatment methods together. Practitioners undergo specialized training before providing counseling. MM is a long-term plan that works to build self-esteem, positive perceptions and reinforces healthy behavior.14 Routine drug tests ensure the integrity of the treatment. Furthermore, MM is considered a community treatment method as it encompasses support systems and provides education to a person’s family to assist therapy.14 The most crucial part of MM is the relationship between person and provider.14

Contingency Management

What Is It?

Contingency management (CM) reinforces a person’s positive habits. Specifically, passing drug tests. The use of monetary rewards makes CM’s reinforcement unique. Often these rewards take the form of vouchers, gift cards, or prizes. The value of the reward doesn’t exceed $100.00, and cash is never a reward.15 CM has a long history of effectiveness.

How Does CM Help Addiction Treatment?

CM reduces the risk of relapse and encourages program completion up to four times more effectively than other treatment methods. People treated with CM maintain positive habits after completing addiction treatment.

The biggest draw to CM is the rewards. Additionally, studies show that the treatment is effective even using rewards with reduced monetary value. Communities often crowdfund rewards for CM to help neighbors and improve the community.15


What Is It?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment method invented by Dr. Francine Sharpiro in 1987.16 EMDR works by introducing an external stimulation to a person during traumatic memories.16 Often, the stimulus is controlled horizontal eye-movement. EMDR suggests that by stimulating the person during controlled traumatic episodes, new mental connections will begin to form that help process any past trauma or harmful behavior.16

How Does EMDR Help Addiction Treatment?

EMDR has a strong history of helping persons cope with trauma in a far shorter amount of time than comparable treatment methods.16 In terms of addiction, EMDR helps uncover and process the root of emotion-based addiction.

Family Behavior Therapy

What Is It?

Family behavior therapy (FBT) believes that unhealthy home life and familial relationships cause addiction and other harmful behaviors. FBT seeks to mend interpersonal relationships, establish positive communication, and educate a person’s family about drug use’s scientific mental effects. In doing so, it helps provide a more comprehensive framework for healing.17

How Does FBT Help Addiction Treatment?

FBT stresses the importance of a healthy support system. When successfully implemented, it provides a person and their family with the tools required for long-term recovery. Also, FBT is a goals-based approach to substance use. People choose recovery goals and create a plan to achieve them. Concurrently, the person’s family learns about positive reinforcement.17

Nature Therapy

What Is It?

Nature therapy (NT), true to its name, works to relieve stress by placing a person in nature. Nature therapy centers around the fact that humanity has spent most of its time on the planet in nature. It argues that modern stimulants such as television and the internet contribute to stress in the human body. From a biopsychological point of view, the body belongs in nature.18 NT is not limited to just being in nature. Studies show that the sensation of touching wood, smelling flowers, hearing nature sounds, and seeing nature can all reduce stress.18

How Does NT Help Addiction Treatment?

By reducing overall stress levels, nature therapy reduces cortisol, the stress chemical, in the brain. This reduction serves to improve overall brain function and mood on a long-term scale.18 When applied to addiction, these boons can make it easier for people to use healthy habits and stay in control of their emotions.19

IV Amino Acid Therapy

What Is It?

Amino acids therapy (AAT) uses amino acids and their role as the building blocks of proteins in treatment. Amino acids repair the body, stabilize bodily functions, and help the brain build new neural connections. These new neural connections work to improve mood and mental clarity.20

An amino acid IV drip is used to restore the brain’s proper chemical functions that may be altered by drug use. The main benefits behind amino acid IV drips include a personalized dosage of amino acids and proper hydration through the IV drip. An amino acid IV drip will supply the necessary amino acids directly into the bloodstream and the brain.21

How Does AAT Help Addiction Treatment?

A side effect of addiction is extreme malnourishment. The improper diet maintained by most people with abuse issues means they are low on amino acids. Without amino acids, the body begins to break down, and depression and relapse increase. IV amino acid therapy prevents these changes and reduces the intensity and frequency of cravings.22



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