Individual Therapy

What is individual therapy?

Individual therapy is a process where you work one-on-one with a trained therapist to address personal issues, mental health concerns or emotional challenges. This therapeutic relationship allows you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential environment, with the main aim of helping you achieve personal growth, as well as improved well-being.

A brief history of individual therapy

Individual therapy has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis in the late 1800s, which involved exploring unconscious thoughts and childhood experiences. 


Over the decades, various approaches and techniques have emerged from Freud’s work, including Carl Rogers’ client-centred therapy, which emphasises empathy and unconditional positive regard and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), focusing on changing negative thought patterns. 


Today, individual therapy encompasses a wide range of modalities tailored to meet your unique needs and preferences.

What are the different types of individual therapy?

While there are many different forms of individual therapy for different situations and circumstances, below, we take a closer look at some of the most popular forms of individual therapy:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Most effective for: Anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, PTSD and eating disorders.


This approach focuses on helping you identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours. It aims to support you in developing healthier thinking and coping strategies.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Most effective for: Borderline personality disorder, severe emotional dysregulation, self-harm and chronic suicidal thoughts.


A form of CBT, DBT is designed especially for those with intense emotions. It combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness practices to help you manage stress, regulate emotions and improve your relationships.

Psychodynamic therapy
  • Most effective for: Depression, anxiety, personality disorders and unresolved trauma.

This therapy explores unconscious processes and past experiences to help you understand your current behaviour. It aims to provide you with insights into your inner conflicts and improve your self-awareness.

Humanistic therapy

  • Most effective for: Low self-esteem, self-actualisation issues and personal growth challenges.

This approach emphasises your personal growth and self-actualisation. Therapists create a supportive environment to help you explore your feelings and experiences, focusing on self-discovery and reaching your full potential.

Existential therapy
  • Most effective for: Existential crises, meaning of life issues and major life transitions.


This type of therapy addresses concerns about existence, such as meaning, choice and responsibility. It helps you confront life’s big questions and find purpose and authenticity in your life.

Gestalt therapy
  • Most effective for: Anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and relationship problems.


Gestalt therapy focuses on the present moment and encourages self-awareness and personal responsibility. It often involves role-playing and other experiential techniques to help you understand your thoughts, feelings and actions.

Mindfulness-based therapy
  • Most effective for: Stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.


This therapy incorporates mindfulness practices to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental way. It aims to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

Person-centred therapy
  • Most effective for: Self-esteem issues, personal growth challenges and emotional difficulties.


Developed by Carl Rogers, this approach emphasises a non-directive, empathetic therapeutic relationship. It aims to create a supportive environment where you feel valued and understood, boosting your personal growth and self-esteem.

Is individual therapy effective in addiction treatment?

Individual therapy is a key component in addiction treatment. It provides a safe and confidential space for you to explore the underlying causes of your addiction. It’s also a great chance to develop coping strategies and work on any personal issues that may be contributing to your substance use. 


Here are reasons why individual therapy is used in addiction treatment:

Personalised approach

Individual therapy is tailored to meet your unique needs, ensuring that the treatment plan addresses your specific issues and concerns. This personalised approach allows your therapist to focus on what matters most to you, providing a more relevant and effective treatment experience. Additionally, the privacy and comfort of one-on-one sessions offer you a safe space to discuss sensitive topics without fear of judgement.

Focused attention

With individual therapy, your therapist can provide you with undivided attention, ensuring that your concerns are thoroughly addressed. This level of focus enables a deeper exploration of the underlying causes of your addiction, such as trauma, mental health issues or behavioural patterns. The intensive support offered in these sessions helps you gain a better understanding of your addiction and work towards recovery.

Skill development

Your therapist can teach you effective coping strategies to handle triggers and cravings, which are essential for maintaining sobriety. Through individual therapy, you can also learn to regulate your emotions and manage feelings that might contribute to substance use. These skills are crucial for your long-term recovery and personal growth.

Progress monitoring

Regular individual therapy sessions allow for consistent monitoring of your progress and necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. This ongoing evaluation helps ensure that your treatment remains effective and relevant. Additionally, your therapist can assist you in setting realistic and achievable goals, providing motivation and a sense of accomplishment as you work towards your recovery.

Building a therapeutic relationship

A strong, trusting relationship between you and your therapist can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your treatment. This rapport creates a supportive and encouraging environment, making it easier for you to open up and engage in the therapeutic process. Regular sessions also provide structure and accountability, which are vital for maintaining sobriety and achieving your long-term recovery goals.

Is individual therapy better than group therapy in addiction treatment?

Both individual and group therapy are crucial in addiction treatment and shouldn’t be viewed as though they compete with each other.


For example, group therapy creates camaraderie, allowing you to connect with others who share similar experiences. On the other hand, individual therapy offers a safe, private space to explore your personal feelings and challenges. 


Together, they provide a balanced approach, supporting you from multiple angles for a more comprehensive recovery journey. Combining the strengths of both can significantly enhance your overall treatment experience and success.

Are you struggling with addiction?

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, consider seeking help at an accredited rehab centre. Individual therapy is a vital part of most rehab treatment programmes, offering one-to-one counselling to help you address your personal challenges. 


One-to-one therapy provides a safe and private space to explore your feelings and develop strategies for recovery. Individual therapy for addiction can make a significant difference in your journey, giving you the support and tools you need to overcome your struggles. 


Contact us today to take the first step towards a healthier, addiction-free life. 

Get Confidential Help Now

Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.

What is the aim of individual therapy?
The aim of individual therapy is to help you explore personal issues, understand your thoughts and feelings and develop coping strategies. It focuses on personal growth, improving mental health and achieving specific goals tailored to your unique needs.
What makes individual therapy effective?
Individual therapy is effective because it provides a safe, confidential space to discuss your concerns openly. The personalised approach allows for targeted strategies and techniques, creating a strong therapist-client relationship that supports personal growth and healing.
What are the stages of one-to-one therapy?
The stages of one-to-one therapy typically include assessment, where your needs and goals are identified; treatment planning, involving tailored strategies; active intervention, with regular sessions; and finally, evaluation and closure, where progress is reviewed and future steps are discussed.