relapse prevention therapyA common misconception about addiction and recovery is that rehabilitation is complete once someone has completed a treatment program. It is vital to remember that addiction is a chronic disease and has a high possibility for relapse. Participation in aftercare planning, immersing yourself in a sober community, and utilizing the tools learned in relapse prevention therapy can help counter the high risk of relapse. An outpatient psychiatric counseling center can provide the extra support you need to maintain lasting recovery.

Insight Into Action Therapy is an outpatient treatment center with locations in Ashburn and Fairfax, Virginia. We provide an array of services for individuals and families in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area living with mental health and substance use disorders. To learn more about our services and how we can help you or your loved one, reach out to us at 703.935.8544.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Therapy

A form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relapse prevention therapy (RPT), aims to teach those in recovery how to anticipate and avoid relapse and cope if relapse occurs. RPT can be used as a stand-alone approach to treatment but is most effective when used in conjunction with aftercare programs and support groups. Lifestyle modification, cognitive therapy, and coping skills training are the main areas of focus in RPT.

Lifestyle modification involves changing and improving an individual’s way of life. During active addiction, most people give up essential self-care and may need to relearn these skills. Exercising regularly, healthy eating, establishing a daily routine and sleep schedule, practicing mindfulness, and practicing relaxation techniques are all examples of lifestyle modification.

Cognitive therapy helps individuals identify distorted patterns of thinking and behavior that can increase vulnerability to relapse and teaches how to reframe their thinking. This way, if relapse occurs, it can be viewed not as a failure but as an indication that something they were doing was not working for their recovery.

Coping skills training is at the core of relapse prevention therapy and teaches critical skills such as:

  • Identifying and managing high-risk situations in healthy ways
  • Understanding relapse as a process
  • Knowing when to ask for help
  • Having accountability for yourself
  • Coping with cravings and urges
  • Utilizing damage control measures during a lapse to reduce adverse effects
  • Staying active and engaged in recovery, especially after relapse

Especially in the early stages of recovery, it is best to avoid the people, places, and things most likely to be triggering. That said, life happens, and you cannot avoid or prevent the regular stressors of daily life. RPT teaches you healthy ways to manage these challenges.

Common Relapse Prevention Techniques and Benefits

Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to follow through with the behaviors necessary to attain a goal and exert control over their motivations, actions, and social environments. Teaching strategies that promote self-efficacy is a significant component of relapse prevention therapy. Helping those in recovery develop a more balanced lifestyle so they can better manage stress is also essential.

There are numerous benefits to relapse prevention therapy, including:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the relapse process
  • Improved self-awareness and self-control
  • Decreased negative patterns of thinking
  • Increased ability to identify and change cognitive distortions
  • Improved ability to manage cravings
  • Enhances coping and stress-management skills
  • Increased ability to recognize triggers and respond in healthy ways

RPT can benefit almost everyone who has gone through at least substance detox. However, because it is cognitive-based, it may not be appropriate for individuals with significant cognitive limitations, impaired impulse control, or individuals who cannot function in a group setting.

Learn More About Relapse Prevention Therapy at Insight Into Action Therapy

At Insight Into Action Therapy, we offer a wide range of services for those suffering from the effects of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. Through our relapse prevention therapy program, we debunk the myths about addiction and relapse and provide clients with the tools to maintain lasting recovery. To learn more about RPT and other programs, reach out to us online or call 703.935.8544.