Individual or “one-on-one” therapy refers to specific and therapeutic interaction between a trained therapist and a patient. It provides a safe and non-threatening environment, where, in the case of an addiction, underlying issues to addiction and root-causes of past behaviors are identified and examined. Most one-on-one sessions take a casual conversational approach. Some also use various other forms of communication such as written essays or questionnaires to draw out specific information and responses from the patient.

Individual therapy sessions are commonly integrated into treatment for substance abuse especially with those patients presenting with dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. The issues addressed are usually psychological in description and can vary in terms of their causes, influences and severity. Assessment is dependent upon the therapist’s approach, and usually evolves as the therapist acquires greater knowledge and insight into the mind and thoughts of the patient through recurring sessions.

One-on-one therapy aims to increase the individual’s sense of well-being. Therapists use a variety of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue and behavioral change that are designed to improve the mental condition of the patient. As sensitive and personal matters are often discussed during individual therapy sessions, therapists are expected, and usually legally bound, to respect patient confidentiality pursuant to codes of ethical practice. This type of therapy has proven to create positive results in dealing with the issues surrounding substance abuse.