Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
As part of an individualized treatment plan, we use CBT with clients as a way to help them identify self-defeating thoughts and behaviors which may often drive addiction.
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It’s common for individuals struggling with substance use disorder to have destructive, negative thinking. Not recognizing these thought patterns are harmful, they seek treatment for depression or other external influences. Since cognition affects our wellbeing, changing harmful thought patterns is essential. CBT addresses harmful thought patterns, which help clients recognize their ability to practice alternative ways of thinking, and regulates distressing emotions and harmful behavior.
As a research-based treatment modality, CBT is an effective treatment for substance abuse, eating disorders, and specific mental health diagnoses. An active therapeutic modality, CBT is present-oriented, problem-focused, and goal-directed, which may provide the following benefits:
- CBT explores the client’s patterns of behavior leading to self-destructive actions and beliefs that direct these thoughts
- CBT allows clients and therapists to work together in a therapeutic relationship to identify harmful thought patterns and actively seek alternate thinking
- CBT sessions are augmented with homework outside of sessions using AAC’s dual diagnosis curriculum workbook, Embracing Change: Recovery for Life
- CBT can be provided in group and individual therapy
- CBT skills are useful, practical and helpful strategies that can be incorporated into the client’s everyday life
- CBT helps clients formulate coping strategies to handle potential stressors or difficulties following addiction treatment
Negative thinking is an obstacle to self—change.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — Treatment Definition
According to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is different from traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy because the patient and therapist actively work together to help the patient recover from mental illness issues. People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be problem-focused, and goal-directed in addressing the challenging symptoms of mental illnesses. Because CBT is an active intervention, one can also expect to do homework or practice outside of sessions.
AAC uses CBT as one of our research-based treatment modalities for all levels of care because it focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By exploring patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive actions and the beliefs that direct these thoughts, people with mental illness can modify their patterns of thinking to improve coping skills.
According to the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (NACBT), CBT doesn’t exist as a distinct therapeutic technique rather as a general classification term for a number of therapies with similarities. AAC provides several treatment modalities that are considered CBT techniques.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) & Substance Abuse
According to the Cognitive Therapy Guide, a resource guide to Cognitive Therapy for Health Professionals, negative thinking is an obstacle to self-change. All-or-nothing thinking is one of the most frequently encountered types of negative thinking.
Negative thinking patterns are one main cause of many problems including anxiety, depression, and addiction. These powerful, destructive thoughts are prevalent in individuals struggling with substance abuse and all-or-nothing thinking contributes to their sense of powerlessness and lack of control over their addiction behavior.
An example of all-or-nothing thinking is, “I have to do things perfectly, because anything less than perfect is a failure.” By using written exercises and keeping thought records, CBT can help clients understand negative thinking and develop healthier thinking which they can incorporate it into their lives.
More than 50% of those living with dual diagnosis (co-occurring mental health disorder) did not receive any medical treatment or psychotherapeutic intervention to help them progress in their recovery.
Features of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Because CBT takes on some of the negative or distorted thinking, it tackles cognition tendencies that are deeply ingrained in individuals struggling with addiction. By assisting clients to recognize the thinking that drives their addiction behavior, it is an effective treatment modality for substance abuse, binge eating disorders, and specific mental health diagnoses.
For addiction treatment, CBT is effective because it is highly focused and compared to other therapeutic modalities; a course of CBT sessions is relatively short term in nature. Since addiction treatment programs are normally offered in timeframes lasting 30-days, 45-days or 90-days, CBT can quickly focus on the client’s maladaptive substance use to help develop alternative behavior skills as part of his/her integrated treatment plan.