Counseling can be provided at the individual or group level. Individual counseling often focuses on reducing or stopping substance use, skill building, adherence to a recovery plan, and social, family, and professional/educational outcomes. Group counseling is often used in addition to individual counseling to provide social reinforcement for pursuit of recovery.

Counselors provide a variety of services to people in treatment for substance use disorders including assessment, treatment planning, and counseling. These professionals provide a variety of therapies. Some common therapies include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches individuals in treatment to recognize and stop negative patterns of thinking and behavior. For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy might help a person be aware of the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead to substance use so that the person can avoid them or act differently when they occur.
  • Contingency management is designed to provide incentives to reinforce positive behaviors, such as remaining abstinent from substance use.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy helps people with substance use disorders to build motivation and commit to specific plans to engage in treatment and seek recovery. It is often used early in the process to engage people in treatment.