Substance abuse can be a result of an individual self-medicating for an array of reasons. Some reasons are very obvious and explicit. However, psychotherapy helps in bringing insight to the reasons that are less obvious, and may be unbeknownst to the client themselves. Psychotherapy helps clients explore their experience to find what their reasons may be. Clients can investigate their symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, co-dependency, low self-esteem, and stress during psychotherapy sessions to locate their specific cause of substance use. While some clients will have one significant area in need of exploration, many individuals will navigate through many categories. Without treatment, this task can seem daunting and overwhelming, as issues are often multilayered and complex. During the sessions, clients will engage in integrative therapy with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, and motivational interviewing.
Client and psychotherapist work in a trusting alliance to explore different patterns. Using various approaches, clients and their psychotherapist develop healthy strategies to address concerns found at the core of their addiction. Such patterns include problematic relationship themes, negative core beliefs, thought distortions, and denial. Clients learn how to identify the relationship and influence of automatic thoughts and underlying assumptions on problematic feelings and behaviours, which had previously led them to emotional, mental, and behavioural relapse in the past. Upon completion of successful treatment, clients will learn to correct inaccurate beliefs and substitute a number of more functional thoughts and constructive coping mechanisms to feel reprieve.