The mission of Pacific Shores Recovery is to provide safe and sober transitional housing and sober living for persons that have experienced alcohol and/or drug addiction related problems.

Addiction Treatment Modalities: Exploring Effective Approaches for Recovery


There are many therapeutic modalities that are used at Pacific Shores Recovery and this blog is a general description of the most commonly used modalities.  Modalities are styles of therapy from which the therapist chooses an intervention, or response, that helps the client resolve their issues related to addiction.  Therapists have to use their professional judgment in determining what modality is used when during the client’s course of treatment and each of the therapists at Pacific Shores are educated and experienced in using these modalities.        

In the beginning of therapeutic work with a client, therapists use attending skills to build the rapport and working alliance with the client.  These skills include good listening, the use of open-ended questions, empathy, support, encouragement, and normalizing of difficult feelings.  During the early sessions, therapist might review the client’s coping skills to assure that they can stabilize their emotions when dysregulated which is when a client experiences something that floods their ability to cope.  The therapist completes an initial intake, a bio-psych-social, suicide assessment and treatment plan which define the goals of therapy. It is during these interviews that the “working alliance” with the client develops.         

Once a working alliance has been established between the therapist and client, the therapist will begin to use a number of modalities that signal a deepening of the therapeutic work as therapist and client begin to explore the reasons why a client uses drugs as well as addressing the issues that the client identified when defining their treatment plan.  Clients have a good idea about what’s contributing to their lives being in crises, what they need to process from the past and what they need to change in their behavior.  Some commonly seen presenting problems include  needing to process childhood trauma, relationship trauma, issues related to behavioral problems such as social skills, communication skills or habits of isolating or with dishonesty.   Once these issues are identified, goals are set and this forms the treatment plan—a blueprint for the therapist’s direction in sessions.    

Another modality that comes up early in treatment is medication therapy and this is done by medical personnel.  Pacific Shores has a full time RN, a nurse practitioner and a psychiatrist.  Medication therapy is used for everything from comfort care in detox to needed psychiatric medications for stabilizing mental health symptoms such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety to name a few.      

One of the more commonly used modalities to treat both thoughts and feelings is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  The main theory behind this modality is that when we change our thoughts, we change the way we feel.  It is one of the most effective forms of therapy and is widely used in a variety of stages in treatment.  Closely related to this is Behavioral therapy where a client’s behavior is creating or worsening the client’s problems and change in some aspect of their behavior is needed in order to change the way a client feels in their life.         

Trauma is something frequently experienced by those who suffer from addiction. Whether it is from a single event or a series of cumulative events, these are experiences that overwhelm a person’s coping ability.  Sometimes these traumas (especially from childhood) leave unhealed emotional scars on the client’s psyche and drive an addict to want to numb or otherwise avoid facing the painful memories from these events.  Because trauma literally shapes the brain, it can manifest in countless forms of a person’s life and healing it takes time.  Recovery is sometimes elusive and chronic relapses occur partly because these old wounds have been identified but never fully healed and clients continue to be triggered by their original trauma.  Treatment lasts approximately 90 days so the therapists do their best in helping the client identify and at least begin to repair those old trauma wounds but because trauma takes so long to heal, it is always recommended that clients who complete treatment continue on with private therapy so that they can complete the work begun.      

Another modality oftentimes used in treatment is Motivational Interviewing and this is primarily used to help move clients along the continuum of change when they are not motivated or are ambivalent about changing.  For example, MI techniques are very effective with those that are unsure about quitting drug use and committing to a program of recovery.  It can be applied to healthy eating, exercise or smoking cessation.  In drug rehab, it is mostly used to solidify a client’s motivation for treatment since it emphasizes the client’s own values.    

Family Systems and Object Relations are other modalities used in therapy at Pacific Shores Recovery.  These techniques are related and emphasize how our early relationships and communication patterns affect our development, sense of connection to others and feelings of general safety in the world.   Clients explore their childhood experiences with family relationships, their roles in the family and the communication patterns that they were taught in order to better understand life problems from the point of view of family dynamics and relationship patterns.  If the client’s family is willing and able to attend sessions with the client, both of Pac Shores Recovery therapists can conduct family or couple sessions.  This is used often with communication issues, issues around better supporting the client in their recovery and couples therapy when the client has a spouse that’s been effected by addiction.    

Narrative therapy is another modality used in treatment.  This type of approach helps clients see their problems and their addiction as only “a part” of them.  They are encouraged to look at addiction from a distance and see how it may be protecting them from facing difficult issues that they have trouble facing or helping them to avoid something fearful or painful in their life. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a modality that stems from the teachings of Sigmund Freud and although many of his ideas have been disregarded over time to more current theories of psychopathology, some of the ideas from this period still remain useful such as the understanding of the conscious and unconscious mind; the client’s use of defenses to both protect and avoid emotions as well as the important role of the parents and caretakers in a client’s life.  Out of this school of thought also came dream interpretation and this is occasionally utilized to better understand the meaning of a client’s dreams or nightmares.   

Interpersonal Neurobiology is a recent development in the field of individual psychotherapy and is another modality used at Pacific Shores.  University research in the field has created FMRI machines that are able to detect what part of the brain shows metabolic activity during a thought, feeling or impulse.  It is now possible to identify where memories are stored, where emotions are experienced and where many habits are formed.  These powerful machines allow researchers to understand how the brain works and how addiction “hijacks” the brain into an obsessive cycle of use/reward/abuse.  By combining this understanding of the brain with psychotherapy, therapists are helping clients to re-wire their brains so that they learn the habit of self-soothing and re-connecting to people for emotional relief and not substances for emotional relief.       

Group work is a modality used at Pacific Shores and can take several forms:  Psycho-Education which emphasizes client’s learning about addiction through lecture and discussion formats; support groups where clients practice healthy communication skills; art groups where clients use their creativity to express different themes around addiction and recovery; accountability groups where clients learn personal responsibility for their behavior and impulses as well as how to set necessary boundaries with others in a healthy way.   Clients also participate in nutrition, exercise, meditation and cooking groups which teach healthy lifestyle changes       

From the various case managers on staff at Pacific Shores Recovery, clients learn about behavioral change and this modality is a vital and necessary part of quality treatment.  Clients come in with many bad habits, not just drug addiction, and the case manages help clients identify and better understand behavioral change.  For example, clients may be impulsive, judgmental of others, rude to the support staff or not strong with limit setting, boundaries, polite behavior, consideration, healthy communication or time management skills to name a few common behavior problems.  Clients may be careless with their environment and need to learn the self-discipline of picking up after themselves and cleaning their space through chores.           

Case managers also have the difficult task of disciplining the clients when they misbehave and this is frequently tested.  Most clients respond well to the structure in treatment, especially when they see other clients falling in to line and behaving well.  Inevitably, clients have social friction and feelings are hurt and tensions arise.  If a client acts out in some way that breaks a rule or regulation, case managers will try to make the incident a learning moment and help the client take accountability or responsibility for their part.  Depending on the incident, a consequence may follow such as a temporary loss of phone privileges.   Other times, clients may act out by trying to leave treatment in order to return to drug use and case managers are utilized in helping the client get back on track with their recovery.    

Case managers also support the client while they work out differences with their peers in treatment, encouraging the clients to use healthy communication skills and anger management techniques.  Role play is sometimes used to help clients practice these communication skills.  For clients who have used drugs for a long period of time, social skills have atrophied and need re-building and this is a part of what case managers help clients to practice and learn.     

Treatment for clients is complex and any number of therapeutic modalities can be combined to treat the client depending on who the client is, what their needs are and what needs to change in order for them to move on from addiction.  Between the psychotherapy techniques of the professional therapists to the support and work of the case managers, the clinical team at Pacific Shores addresses a variety of issues presented in each client’s life that begin with sobriety but are resolved through hard work, change and growth.  Working hard with the clients and caring deeply about each one of them as total individuals and not just addicts, Pacific Shores helps clients make the changes they need to make in a loving and supportive, big-family feeling environment. 


How long does addiction treatment typically last?

The duration of addiction treatment varies depending on several factors, including the person’s needs, the severity of the addiction, and the progress made during treatment. It can range from a few weeks to several months or even longer for more complex cases.

Will I have to attend all the different modalities mentioned?

Treatment plans are tailored to personal needs, and not all modalities may be necessary for every person. Our team of professionals will assess your situation and design a personalized treatment plan that best suits your specific needs and goals.

Can I choose which addiction treatment modalities I want to participate in?

While your preferences and input are valued, it's important to trust the expertise of our treatment professionals. They will recommend modalities based on your assessment, clinical evidence, and what is most likely to support your recovery journey effectively.

Are these addiction treatment modalities covered by insurance?

Coverage for addiction treatment modalities varies depending on your insurance provider and policy. We work closely with insurance companies to maximize coverage for our clients. Our dedicated team can assist in verifying your insurance benefits and providing guidance on coverage.

What happens after I complete addiction treatment?

Completing treatment is a significant milestone, but the journey continues. Our aftercare and continuing support programs are designed to provide you with the necessary tools, resources, and guidance to maintain sobriety and navigate life in recovery successfully.


At Pacific Shores Recovery, we are committed to providing comprehensive and effective addiction treatment modalities to support individuals in their journey to recovery. Our evidence-based approaches, holistic therapies, alternative healing practices, individualized treatment plans, and family involvement are all aimed at promoting long-term sobriety and a healthier, more fulfilling life. Take the first step towards a brighter future by reaching out to us today.


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