Psychological Perspectives of Time and Addiction Treatment

Individualized Treatment

Dr Davies has founded RosGlas Recovery based in Ireland, one of only 3 centers in the world at which only one patient is treated at a time. So, does she believe that group therapy can’t be effective? According to Dr Davies, that depends on the patient: “There are pros and cons to both individual and group therapy. I think both are effective, depending on what help and personal insight you are looking for. 

“However, many of the clients I work with express reluctance or difficulties with group therapy — which is one of the reasons I specialize in individual therapy. The dynamics are different. Many people in early recovery struggle to process their emotions and issues in group settings. Some people have concerns about confidentiality and safety in groups — many just don’t like it.”

“The team at RosGlas are conscious of supporting growth and recovery in different settings and so offer the additional support of 12-step groups alongside our intensive individual therapy,” Dr Davies adds. “An individual’s starting time perspective position in therapy, aim and ideal balance point differs from person to person, so whilst group therapy may help cover a generalized overview of issues and theory, in my opinion it will never rival the in-depth, tailored attention intensive individual therapy can offer.”

Broader Applications

Bearing in mind that the depression and anxiety observed in patients entering addiction rehabilitation treatment are similar to those experiencing other psychiatric disorders, we asked Dr Davies whether she feels that her findings on time perspectives may have implications for the treatment of other psychiatric disorders. She believes that it does. “Our clinical research already shows its association and effectiveness in depression and anxiety — both of which are typically present in those with addiction issues. I am currently working on a proposed treatment model for working with subjective views of time in the treatment of addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety and depression.”

The work Dr Davies is carrying out could be useful for many kinds of obsessive or compulsive-related disorders, substance abuse, gambling, and eating disorders. “We plan to focus further studies on the application of time perspectives to the treatment of eating disorders,” says Dr Davies. “Our work so far highlights how time perspectives relate to past trauma too, and so this is a helpful adjunct to the preparation of more specific trauma therapy.”

Supporting Patients in Any Setting

Although few patients would be able to afford the exclusive level of care offered by Dr Davies and her team at RosGlas Recovery, mental health professionals can use the new understanding of time perspectives in addiction treatment to gauge the individual progress of patients in recovery, adjusting treatment interventions accordingly and supporting individual recovery — even in group settings.