At its core, CBT is a type of talk therapy. It is based on the principles of behaviorism, a psychological theory founded on the belief that our behaviors are all created through conditioning.
For example, behaviorism suggests you put the dishes away after dinner because you were conditioned to do just that, either by positive conditioning (praise) or negative conditioning (punishment for not getting the job done). It does not take into account reasons like enjoying neatness or saving time by having a clean kitchen.
Few therapists adhere to the ideas of strict behaviorism today. Most mental health experts understand that human behavior is a combination of environmental stimuli, genetics, experiences, internal thought patterns, and physical abilities. However, as a tool for treating addiction, CBT is of great value.
First, CBT helps those in recovery understand how they think about the world, themselves, and other people.
Second, it helps them see how their thoughts affect their actions. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your actions. This perspective gives hope to the millions of people living with a substance abuse disorder by focusing on the patterns of thoughts and behaviors that lead to substance use.
Some types of talk therapy focus on the past. While that is also helpful in the overall journey of healing, CBT is more concerned with the present. Therapists who employ CBT believe that it doesn’t matter how you’ve behaved in the past; what matters is how you are behaving now.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly helpful for those with co-occurring disorders, including the following:
- Eating disorders
- Social phobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
You may wonder what is involved in CBT therapy. A typical session typically consists of examining a problem and breaking it down into manageable components.
Patients are encouraged to identify whether their thoughts toward the problem are helping the problem or making it worse. If their thoughts are not helpful, the therapist can work with them to adopt a more constructive way of thinking. The theory is that if you can change the way you think about a situation, you can change your actions.
How Does CBT Work as an Addiction Treatment?
It is important for every person entering addiction treatment to know that the early stages of recovery are challenging. No therapeutic technique will suddenly turn your life around. But treatment methods like CBT are effective for building a life in recovery from a substance use disorder.
By practicing the skills learned in cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, patients can do the following:
- Improve their self-control and impulse control
- Avoid relapse triggers
- Develop coping strategies to help in triggering situations they cannot control
- Cope with other problems like family dysfunction or problems at work
In a nutshell, the goals of CBT are to help patients recognize triggers, avoid triggering situations when possible, and effectively cope with triggers.
What Are the Benefits of CBT at Supreme Wellness Recovery?
Some of the benefits of CBT that are especially helpful to people in addiction treatment include the following:
- Learning new ways of thinking
- Gaining the skills to handle stress and challenges without using substances
- Monitoring thought patterns
- Identifying self-destructive thoughts and actions
CBT is effective. This approach to treatment has been widely studied; in fact, it’s one of the most frequently evaluated approaches used in addiction treatment.
Research has shown that approximately 60% of people who have participated in cognitive-behavioral therapy while in treatment for addiction maintained their sobriety for a year or more. This is much higher than the overall average of 33%.
As is the case for most therapies, CBT is found to be most effective when combined with other efforts such as group therapy or medication. While the most helpful method of treatment depends on the patient, CBT is an approach that should be included in a comprehensive treatment plan.
Experience Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at Supreme Wellness Recovery
CBT is one of the many therapeutic options offered to our patients at Supreme Wellness Recovery. It is an important part of the overall care at all our recovery centers, including the facility in Montgomery County and our two locations in Bucks County.
Please contact Supreme Wellness Recovery if you or a loved one needs addiction recovery services. We are in-network with most major insurance suppliers and will work with you to ensure you get the expert and compassionate care you need.