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What Is Cognitive-Behavorial Therapy?

what is cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular evidence-based talk therapy frequently used in treating substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Evidence-based means that CBT has been clinically proven to be effective. Unlike more traditional therapies that attempt to uncover past events that might impact current behavior, CBT focuses on changing existing patterns of thinking that can result in behavioral change. Experts agree that a cognitive-behavioral therapy program is integral to successful addiction recovery.

In the cognitive-behavioral therapy program at Northpoint Seattle, patients work with therapists to develop the skills needed to become aware of distortions in thinking that result in destructive behavior patterns. Call us at 888.483.6031 to learn more about CBT for addiction recovery.

What Is CBT?

CBT is a therapy based upon psychological theories of cognition and behaviorism. Theories of cognition focus on a person’s thoughts, emotions, and perceptions, while behaviorism studies what reinforces their actions and behaviors. The main goals of CBT are to help patients make connections between how their thoughts, emotions, and perceptions influence their behavior and change thinking patterns.

According to the CBT approach, addiction and other self-destructive behaviors result from inaccurate thoughts and ensuing negative feelings. Through CBT for addiction treatment, the therapist helps patients identify these thoughts and feelings and replace them with healthier, more adaptive ones. Once a person begins to understand why they think or feel specific ways and how those thoughts and feelings led them to abuse drugs or alcohol, they become better equipped to overcome addiction.

CBT was initially developed as an approach for treating alcohol addiction, so it is no wonder that it is a significant component of addiction treatment programs worldwide. One of the critical benefits of CBT is that it is a short-term therapy, making it ideally suited for addiction treatment programs, as they are generally between 30 and 90 days.

Benefits of CBT for Addiction Treatment

CBT is highly goal-oriented and patient-centered, adapting to each individual’s unique needs. Through CBT, the therapist helps patients recognize a problem, identify the sources of the problem, and learn coping skills and strategies to overcome the problem. Past events are not ignored, but the primary focus is on treating the patient’s most urgent issues and finding immediate solutions.

Through the many applications of CBT, patients can find the following benefits:

  • Learning techniques for coping with stressful situations
  • Identifying ways to manage emotions
  • Developing effective communication skills
  • Helping to dismiss inaccurate beliefs
  • Learning to identify and manage triggers
  • Developing self-esteem and confidence in one’s abilities
  • Increasing understanding of the behavior of others

Research on CBT effectiveness shows that CBT skills are long-lasting and applicable to many areas of life. By learning to think more positively, individuals can have more balanced emotions and make healthier choices. These changes help support recovery and long-term sobriety.

Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy During Addiction Recovery

Addiction affects everyone differently, so successful recovery depends on an individualized treatment plan. CBT uses many different techniques. For your therapist to know what will work best for your needs, you need to be open and honest about your challenges. Some of the CBT techniques your therapist might use can include:

  • Role-playing: You can visualize and practice different ways to handle a particular situation through role-playing, which helps improve problem-solving, social and communication skills, confidence, and self-esteem. Role-playing can also help minimize irrational fears.
  • Journaling: This is an effective way not only to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings but to record your progress. There are numerous journaling exercises. A popular one is to track your negative thoughts and develop positive alternatives.
  • Cognitive restructuring: The focus is on looking carefully at negative thought patterns and positively reframing them. Assuming that the worst will happen can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but so can thinking that the best will happen.
  • Behavioral experiments: Planned activities to test the accuracy of negative beliefs about yourself, others, or the world. You will choose an action, make a prediction about what will happen, and then review it afterward to see if your prediction was accurate.

At Northpoint Seattle, as you grow and change in your recovery, you will work with your treatment team to adapt your goals to meet your changing needs. CBT techniques might focus on your communication skills at the beginning of treatment, but they will shift to focus on other needs later, such as grief or trauma.

Reach Out to Northpoint Seattle to Discover CBT for Addiction Treatment

CBT is highly effective in addiction treatment. At Northpoint Seattle, our cognitive-behavioral therapy program is an integral part of a patient’s comprehensive individualized treatment plan. To learn more about CBT, reach out to Northpoint Seattle. Use our online form or call 888.483.6031. It takes one call to change your future.