Most people think of only the medical portion of a drug and alcohol detox. An individual suffering from addiction or substance use disorder will often look at detox as the process of getting through withdrawal symptoms and becoming physically free of substances, and therefore will admit into a drug and alcohol detox facility for the medical care, support, and necessary detox medications.

group of people undergoing therapy during detox

Why Counseling and Therapy After a Detox is Vital for Patients

There is no question that 24/7 medical care and support from doctors and nurses is key to creating a safe, supportive, comfortable environment in order to detox from drugs and alcohol, and having medical supervision to administer medications absolutely aids in a safer, more comfortable environment. However, thinking of a detox as only necessary for the medical portion is short sighted. Many people think detox is a situation where they can have a medical professional administer medication, and then lay around to get through withdrawal symptoms. While technically this scenario would be considered detoxing, it is far from the standard and in no way sets an individual up for successful, sustained recovery from addiction.

Detox is the first step in what should be a long-term continuum of care that includes comprehensive addiction treatment and ongoing recovery support. Therefore, in order to keep detox from becoming a revolving door, where patients come to get through withdrawals, do little inner work, leave, relapse, and then return again, it is necessary to start the treatment process of healing while in detox, so that the individual can seamlessly transition into ongoing treatment and be prepared to engage in a process of recovery.

Which is why starting clinical services such as therapy, counseling, psychiatry, case management, and family engagement should absolutely begin at the detox level of care. As a field, behavioral healthcare providers are doing a disservice to their patients suffering from addiction and substance use disorders if they continually allow them to come into detox, get medicated to help ween off drugs and alcohol and get through withdrawal symptoms, lay around all day in bed watching television or on their phones or computers, and leave, never having begun to start the necessary clinical work of treatment and recovery.

Therapy and counseling services are vital for a patient while in detox for drugs and alcohol. Here are a few reasons why:

Emotional Support

The detox process can be a highly emotional and stressful experience. Individuals going through withdrawal often experience intense cravings, anxiety, depression, and other emotional challenges. Therapy during detox provides emotional support, coping strategies, and personal insight to help individuals navigate these difficult feelings.

Identifying Triggers

Therapy during detox can help patients identify the underlying causes and conditions of their addiction or substance use disorder. Understanding the root causes of addiction is essential for effective, long-term recovery. Therapists and counselors work with patients to explore the emotional and psychological factors that contribute to their use of drugs and alcohol.

Developing Coping Skills

Counseling and therapy sessions teach individuals healthy coping skills to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and cravings without turning back to drugs and alcohol. Learning alternative ways to deal with life’s challenges and stressors is essential for maintaining sobriety.

Relapse Prevention

Therapists and counselors work with patients during detox to develop relapse prevention strategies. These strategies can include recognizing high-risk situations, creating plans for managing cravings and stress, building a strong support system, or identifying positive influences in a patient’s life. Early engagement in therapy and counseling can significantly reduce the risk of relapse after detox.

Building Motivation for Change

Therapy during detox is key to the early process because many patients are there for external reasons, and often lack internal desire or motivation to change. They may have entered detox to avoid divorce or losing employment, or because of legal issues. Therapy and counseling help individuals explore their own internal motivation, find what’s important to them and how they would like their life to unfold, and set goals for the future. Motivational enhancement techniques are often used to increase a person’s commitment to sobriety an aid them in getting to that necessary place where they are motivated to change their life for the better.

Education and Awareness

Therapy and counseling provide individuals with education about addiction, its effects on the brain and body, and the potential consequences of continued substance misuse or substance abuse. This knowledge can be a powerful motivator for change.

Improving Communication and Relationships

Most people struggling with addiction experience strained relationships with family, friends, or at their place of employment. Therapy and counseling can help patients work on their communication skills and begin to repair or rebuild those relationships. This is key because repairing or rebuilding relationships for individuals in early recovery can be essential for them as they create a necessary supportive and stable community and positive recovery environment.

Mental Health Assessment

Most individuals that struggle with addiction or substance use disorder also struggle with mental health issues. Therapy and counseling while in detox allow for an accurate assessment of those mental health issues and create a necessary plan so that the patient’s substance use disorder and mental health issues are identified, diagnosed, and management moving forward. Treating these mental health conditions is crucial for a patient to have a successful recovery from addiction.


Beginning therapy or counseling while in detox creates a sense of accountability for patients, that they will continue while in ongoing treatment and living in recovery. Therapy and counseling sessions provide a safe space to discuss and address progress, setbacks, and challenges, which can help individuals stay committed to their treatment and recovery goals.

Continuity of Care

Engaging in therapy or counseling during detox helps create a seamless transition to ongoing addiction treatment, where patients can begin working on necessary issues and then continue when they go to inpatient rehab, residential treatment, a partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) program, a sober living home or recovery house, or continue with an individual therapist, counselor, and/or psychiatrist once they leave detox. The continuity of care is vital for long-term, sustainable recovery.

Your Trusted Drug and Alcohol Detox in Pennsylvania

Here at Innovo Detox, we believe that recovery starts when a patient walks through the door, but it is our job to not only safely and comfortably help a patient detox and manage their withdrawal symptoms, but to also help them begin the treatment process that will set them up for their best change of success in achieving long-term remission and recovery. Therefore, while patients are given time to settle in and begin their medication protocol to detox, we make sure that patients are engaged. Group therapy sessions, individual therapy and counseling, as well as engaging all stakeholders such as family members, employers, employee assistance programs, referring medical providers, or attorneys or court systems, so that everyone involved is informed and working together to best support the identified patient.

Patients receive multiple groups therapy and counseling sessions each day, as well as multiple individual therapy and counseling sessions per week. The importance of these clinical services are obvious, and patients are able to begin to take baby steps into the necessary clinical treatment process that will prepare them to receiving and engage in necessary ongoing clinical care and support, and jump into their own personal recovery process.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please contact us at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at