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Personalized approaches to therapy have gained significant attention in recent years as a more effective and efficient way to address mental health, addiction, and chronic illness. Traditional addiction and mental health treatment often follows a one-size-fits-all approach, where patients are treated based on a standardized protocol. However, personalized treatment acknowledges that each individual patient is unique and requires customized treatment plans to address their specific needs and goals.

At a glance…

  • Personalized and individualized approaches to therapy and treatment are customized to an person’s unique needs and circumstances.
  • Benefits of personalized treatment include improved treatment outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.
  • Individualized treatment is important as it takes into account factors such as medical history, past treatment experiences, identifying what worked/did not work in the past, genetics, lifestyle, and environment.
  • Personalized approaches can improve mental health outcomes by addressing underlying causes, treating the whole person, and attuning treatment to the individual.
  • Personalization is crucial in addiction treatment and chronic illness management.

Personalized Approaches to Therapy – Tell Me More

Personalized therapy, also known as individualized therapy or person-centered therapy, is an approach that takes into account the unique characteristics and needs of each individual. It differs from traditional therapy in that it moves away from a standardized treatment protocol and instead focuses on tailoring the treatment plan to the individual’s specific circumstances. “Personalization of psychological therapies has always been used by clinicians and describes all efforts to select, adjust, or modify a treatment for the individual to improve outcomes. Precision mental health care approaches can be considered under the umbrella term personalization and specify methods that are algorithmic, quantitative, and empirically derived.” (Cohen & DeRubeis, 2018). “By contrast, the term personalized can be considered an umbrella term that describes any effort by the clinician to select, adapt, or adjust treatment to an individual with the goal of improving outcomes, including approaches that originate from and are driven by a holistic and person-centered approach to an individual including, for example, client preferences” (e.g., Norcross & Cooper, 2021). 

This can include considering their personal history, preferences, goals, and any underlying issues that may be contributing to their condition. Examples of personalized approaches can begin with “The shared decision making (SDM) model has been used to address this issue by facilitating collaboration between patients and their clinicians when determining the course of treatment. SDM assess how well a given evidence-based treatment aligns with the patient’s needs through the reciprocal exchange of information, identification of patient values and preferences, discussion of treatment options, and agreement on a treatment plan (Langer & Jensen-Doss, 2018). By personalizing mental health and addiction treatment, we’re able to acknowledge the diversity of each patient — and the varying acuity of symptoms from person to person—to develop more comprehensive treatment plans, tailored to each individual’s situation and needs.

The Benefits of Tailored Therapeutic Plans

Key benefits of personalized approaches to therapy include improved treatment outcome, increased patient satisfaction, and factoring in all aspects of the individual to discover the root causes thus improving treatment prognosis. By personalizing the treatment plan to the individual’s specific needs, therapists can address the underlying issues that may be contributing to their condition. Research has shown this can lead to more effective interventions and better long-term outcomes. In my experience, personalized approaches improve therapy retention, seemingly due to a strong therapeutic alliance in which patient needs are heard thus feeling seen in the healing process. When individuals feel that their therapist understands their unique circumstances and is working with them to develop a treatment plan that aligns with their goals, they are more likely to feel heard and validated. This can lead to a stronger therapeutic alliance and a greater sense of trust in the therapeutic process. 


Individualized Treatment – Why?




Improved Patient Outcomes

Individualized treatment plans lead to better patient outcomes and higher success rates.

Increased Patient Satisfaction

Patients are more satisfied with their care when they feel their treatment plan is tailored to their specific needs.

Improved Quality of Life

Individualized treatment plans can improve a patient’s quality of life by addressing their unique needs and concerns.

Personalized Care

Individualized treatment plans provide a more personalized approach to care, which can lead to a stronger therapeutic alliance and a greater sense of trust in the therapeutic process.


Recognizing the unique needs of each patient is vital in providing effective treatment. Every individual has their own set of circumstances, needs, experiences, and challenges that contribute to their mental health or chronic illness. By taking a personalized approach, therapists can address these unique factors and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s specific needs by attuning to each patient as an individual. Addressing underlying issues is another important aspect of individualized treatment. Many mental health conditions and chronic illnesses have underlying causes or triggers that need to be addressed in order to achieve long-term improvement. By understanding these underlying issues, therapists can develop interventions that target the root causes of each problem, rather than just treating the symptoms. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach is crucial in providing effective treatment at Carrara Treatment.  Traditional treatment often follows standardized protocols and guides that may not be suitable for every patient. By personalizing the treatment plan to the individual’s specific needs, therapists can ensure that they are receiving interventions that are appropriate for each individual patient.

The Role of Personalization at Carrara Treatment

Personalized and comprehensive approaches to therapy are crucial in addiction treatment. Substance use disorders are complex conditions that have many underlying issues and triggers that need to be addressed in order to achieve long-term recovery. By taking a personalized approach, therapists at Carrara develop interventions that target these underlying issues and provide individuals with the tools they need to manage their addiction and co-occurring disorders. Incorporating family and social supports are another important aspect of personalized addiction treatment at Carrara. Substance use disorders have a significant impact on the individual’s relationships and support system. By involving family members, loved ones, and/or informal supports in the treatment process, therapists can provide individuals with the support they need to maintain their recovery during and after treatment. Providing ongoing support and relapse prevention strategies is also crucial in addiction treatment. At Carrara, we take that a step further.  Our patients design individualized relapse prevention plans with their clinical teams, incorporating holistic and clinical strategies to reduce triggers thus decreasing relapse risk. Recovery is a lifelong process, and individuals need ongoing support to maintain their sobriety. By developing personalized relapse prevention strategies and providing ongoing support, therapists can help individuals stay on track with their recovery goals.

Personalized Approaches to Therapy – What Does the Research Say?

Recent research is supporting the effectiveness of personalized approaches to therapy and treatment. “Historically, evidence-based treatment has followed the latent disease model, which emphasizes using specific protocols tied to diagnoses. Today, the field continues to move towards an individual approach with models of treatment based on change processes.” (1.

Moskow DM, Ong CW, Hayes SC, Hofmann SG. Process-based therapy: A personalized approach to treatment. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology. 2023;14(1). doi:10.1177/20438087231152848)  Neurobiological and psychological factors play a significant role in mental health, addiction, and chronic illness, and personalized therapy takes these factors into account when developing treatment plans. “The basis for personalized medicine rests in the realization that addiction is a complex disorder. The principle neurological components of addiction include the acute and chronic response to alcohol, a variety of craving states, affective response and drive and executive control. The challenge of personalized medicine is to identify the various components of addiction that are relevant to an individual in a way that treatment can be tailored” (David Oslin, Personalized Addiction Treatment: How Close Are We?, Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 46, Issue 3, May-June 2011, Pages 231–232,). Several Factors can influence the progress and outcome of a patient’s treatment. This can include neurobiological factors, such as genetics and brain chemistry. By understanding these factors, therapists can develop interventions that are tailored to the individual’s unique neurobiology. This can lead to more effective treatment and better outcomes. Psychological factors, such as past trauma or underlying beliefs, can heavily influence an individual’s response to treatment. By addressing these psychological factors, therapists can develop interventions that target the root causes of the problem and provide individuals with the tools they need to manage their condition and improve overall wellbeing. Ongoing evaluation, assessment, and adjustment are also important in personalized and comprehensive therapy. Treatment plans should be regularly evaluated and adjusted based on the individual’s progress and changing needs. This ensures that individuals are receiving the most effective interventions for their specific circumstances.  At Carrara, treatment plans are evaluated and changed through treatment as patient’s progress and change.  Alternatively, treatment plans are also reformulated if the current plan is not leading to favorable outcomes.  Not every treatment is appropriate for every client, Carrara utilizes an integrative approach, pulling from both traditional and holistic modalities, to tailor treatment plans to suit our patients needs. 

How to Find a Therapist Who Offers Personalized Approaches to Therapy

Finding a therapist who offers personalized approaches to therapy can be challenging and we are here to help.  It’s important to research potential therapists and ensure they align with your needs and goals.  Generally it’s helpful to read bios, look at websites, see their clinical orientation, and schedule a consult call if possible.  Many therapists will offer a free consult call to answer any questions and to learn more about their practice.  Looking for therapists who emphasize individualized treatment plans, takes into account the unique needs and goals of each individual. When interviewing potential therapists, ask them about their approach to treatment and how they develop personalized treatment plans. It can also be helpful to write down your questions ahead of time to ensure all your questions get addressed.

Final Thoughts

Personalized approaches to therapy are an important and beneficial way to address mental health, addiction, and chronic illness. By tailoring and customizing treatment plans to the individual’s specific needs and goals, therapists can provide more effective interventions and improve treatment outcomes. Personalized therapy recognizes that each individual is unique and requires tailored treatment plans to address their specific circumstances. At Carrara treatment, it is not only important for individuals to receive personalized approaches, it’s imperative.  We pride ourselves of developing an individualized plan for every patient to address the “whole” person. 

J.C. Norcross, M. Cooper
Personalizing psychotherapy: Assessing and accommodating patient preferences
American Psychological Association (2021)

Z.D. Cohen, R.J. DeRubeis
Treatment selection in depression
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 14 (2018), pp. 209-236,

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