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What Questions Do Therapists Ask in Rehab?

Before someone actively starts their addiction treatment, they’ll likely have doubts about the process. We often get asked what questions therapists ask in rehab. Do I have to answer all these questions? What about group therapy? For many recovering addicts, this is their first time experiencing talk therapy or psychotherapy; they might be intimidated at the first therapy session. Here’s an idea of what to expect and what types of questions do therapists ask in rehab. 

Common Questions Therapists Ask During the First Therapy Sessions

The first therapy session is always intimidating. However, this session is all about building a relationship that will benefit both patient and therapist in the future. As you might know, your relationship with your therapist can break or make a treatment program; it’s paramount that you find the right match.

The first questions will most likely be about learning more about your problems, past therapy experiences, and any expectations you might have. While it seems obvious for some people in rehab centers, responding to these questions can give therapists an insight into how you see your struggles. 

Expect to hear these common questions during your first therapy session:

  • What brings you here?
  • Have you ever seen a counselor before?
  • What do you expect from this process?
  • How do you feel about using advice to grow?
  • How would we know you’ve been successful in achieving your goals for therapy?

Classic Questions Asked in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Sessions

One of the most commonly used approaches in substance abuse treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This technique targets emotions by intervening in thoughts and behaviors that cause distress. CBT is all about examining previous events, your behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and even your beliefs. The idea is to identify and activate any triggers or difficulties that might be preventing you from getting better. The type of questions your therapist will ask might be targeted towards your emotions, and they’re meant to learn more about any relational, cognitive, or behavioral antecedent that might trigger a response today.

Example of questions your therapist might ask during a CBT to examine antecedents to a particular behavior:

  • What were you feeling right before you did that?
  • Do you feel sick when this happens? How does your body react?
  • How do you usually act before this happens? Do you feel erratic?
  • Do you do this with everyone or only around certain people?

Types of questions your therapist might ask to help you explore the consequences of a particular behavior:

  • Does this behavior get your attention in some way?
  • Does this help you in some way?
  • Do you feel good things or bad things happen as a result of this behavior?
  • Do you experience a “rush” from doing this?
  • How do you think this behavior helps you avoid something you don’t want to do?

Examples of questions your therapist might ask to help you create a more balanced thought about your behavior:

  • Is there an alternative way of thinking about this situation?
  • Can someone you trust understand this situation in a different way?
  • Do you feel your view of the events accurately reflects the facts? 

Questions to Expect During Group Therapy Sessions

Perhaps even more intimidating than individual therapy are group sessions. However, group therapy is a massive component of addiction treatment. First, it addresses the exploration of issues, very much like individual therapy does. However, group therapy also helps people feel less isolated and realize that others struggle with the same problems. 

Group therapy aims to introduce patients to a healthy, safe, and responsible community that fosters a sense of fellowship and companionship. After treatment, this sense of community becomes their support network and helps them stay positive and confident in their recovery journey.

Typical questions you’ll hear in group therapy settings:

  • Where else might you have been at this moment if you hadn’t come to this group session today?
  • Is it your own decision to come here, or did someone else encourage you to do so?
  • Is there something you don’t enjoy about this group session?
  • What is your favorite thing about yourself? What’s something that makes you feel positive and proud of yourself?
  • What brought you to this group?
  • Describe yourself with two to three words. Now, how do these words relate to why you are here?

Couples and Family Therapy Questions

Another essential part of a comprehensive treatment program is the inclusion of couples counseling and family therapy. Both are critical elements that play a huge role in someone’s road to recovery. Since many in addiction have strained relationships with their partners and family members, therapy hopes to repair those relationships while ensuring healthy boundaries are set in place from all parties involved. 

Questions to expect during couples counseling sessions:

  • How did you decide to come to therapy?
  • How does your relationship affect your levels of joy?
  • Do you cultivate trust in your relationship?
  • How would you rate your communication skills?
  • Do you describe your relationship as positive, negative, or how?
  • Tell me about your other relationships like those with family and friends. 
  • What is your vulnerability in relationships?
  • What are you hoping counseling can do for your relationship?

Common questions to expect during counseling sessions:

  • Who is essential to you in your life? Why?
  • How is your family reacting to the problems you’re currently experiencing?
  • What was it like growing up in your family?
  • Do you feel safe in your family?
  • How does your family handle disagreements?
  • What do you think therapy can do for your family?

Getting Used to Therapy

Getting accustomed to therapy won’t happen overnight. We hope these questions help you understand a little bit more about the therapy process. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please reach out for help. Contact our admissions office today or speak with one of our therapists for questions and more insight about our treatment programs. We want you to feel comfortable, safe, and ready to start making progress in your addiction recovery. So, we’re here to help you every step of the way. 

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