According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery support services are a means of facilitating this process, and while they are often associated with substance use disorders, they can be beneficial in helping a wide range of behavioral health conditions.

These services are typically used after or in coordination with clinical treatment and may include recovery housing, peer recovery support services (such as mentoring and group therapy), activity-based recovery, and more.

Why recovery support services matter

Clinical treatment cannot be fully replaced, but it often does not support long-term recovery, which, according to SAMSHA, is supported through four major dimensions: health, home, purpose, and community. Standard treatment may help improve aspects of a patient’s overall health, but other, person-centered care must be used in conjunction with it.

The goal of recovery support services is to strengthen all of these dimensions of a patient’s life and set individuals on a sustainable recovery journey.

Most common types of recovery services

Peer support groups

Peer support groups are typically facilitated by a peer support specialist and composed of individuals who share the same behavioral health experiences. As a result, individuals can gain firsthand insight that a doctor may not be able to provide. These groups can also be an effective way of fulfilling emotional support needs through meaningful social connections and the empathy of others. Because peer support groups are much more dynamic than traditional group therapy and may include anything from open discussion to activities and guest speakers, it’s important for patients to find a group they feel comfortable participating in.

Group therapy

Group therapy is similar to peer support groups, but with a few key differences. The facilitator of these therapy sessions is not necessarily a peer; they are often a clinical professional who directly leads the group using psychotherapeutic techniques. This form of recovery service is beneficial for anyone seeking recovery, but particularly helpful for patients whose recovery requires more structure and the need to address their condition on a deeper level. Therapy groups generally have a specific goal or outcome and can effectively promote change and development when a patient finds a group that works best for them and their needs.

Recovery coaching

Recovery coaching is a holistic way of assisting individuals through the recovery process. In addition to providing emotional support, coaches can work with the individual on other key components of the recovery process, such as helping them get involved in the community and find housing and employment. Together with their coach, an individual can create their own, well-rounded recovery plan that’s rooted in overall wellness, not just alleviating symptoms. To get the most out of their experience with a recovery coach, patients should spend time finding the right coach for them, considering different factors such as whether they want general support or strategic guidance.

Life skills coaching

Behavioral health problems can cause significant disruptions in the development of skills that help an individual navigate through everyday life challenges. As a result, it is sometimes necessary for recovering individuals to learn or relearn practical skills. Life skills coaching, often provided through recovery centers, can help fill in these gaps and instill greater confidence in the individual seeking recovery. Coaches may provide guidance on things like budgeting money and searching for jobs, skills which will help the individual thrive and experience a more balanced recovery process.

Help your patients get the most out of their recovery services with iTether

While many recovery support services take place outside of a clinical setting, clinicians can easily stay updated on their patients’ recovery with our comprehensive care management system. Using iTether, patients and their clinician or care team can quickly connect, discuss the effectiveness of recovery support services, and adjust accordingly to better meet the patient’s needs. The app’s additional resources and educational content also help patients make more informed decisions and create a clear path towards long-term recovery.