Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy rests on the premise that a person’s thoughts and feelings can significantly influence and affect their actions. Therefore, helping an individual to change their attitudes and think more positively about themselves and their problems can help them substantially when they begin the process of recovery from an addiction, and it can help them sustain a healthy, long-term recovery. CBT, as it is frequently called, takes place in a one-on-one setting where the client and counselor can talk openly about the individual’s feelings and attitudes about their struggles.

During these direct, personal and private conversations, the therapist will help the recovering client learn and practice two primary skills, functional analysis and skills training. Both of these practices can help individuals decrease negative attitudes and thoughts and increase positive ones. Assisting clients in changing their perceptions about themselves, their problems and the recovery process can substantially lower their psychological dependence on substances and minimize the risks they will face after treatment.

How does CBT work?

The first component of CBT is functional analysis. This is where the therapist helps the client to identify the sources of their negative thinking and behaviors. These causal elements can be varied and may include issues related to childhood emotional or physical abuse, past trauma or undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues. Functional analysis helps patients to identify specific triggers — such as emotional or physical abuse or job stress — which likely prompt drug cravings and lead to continued abuse or relapse. Identifying these pivotal moments is the first step to creating new, healthier responses when they arise.

Once a client has identified their triggers, skills training helps them learn new habits they can use in response, instead of coping by using drugs and alcohol. Substances are often used as a means of self-medication, but they only add new problems without rectifying old ones. New behaviors that can help clients cope and feel good without drugs or alcohol can include anything from cooking, exercising, writing or journaling to yoga or regularly participating in support groups based on the challenges they’re facing.

Why CBT Works

CBT helps recovering individuals achieve and maintain their sobriety by substantially eliminating the risks of a relapse. It realizes these goals by minimizing or eliminating negative thoughts which individuals may have, encouraging individuals to build healthier habits and enabling persons to cope with a wide variety of stressful and challenging situations. With the tools that CBT provides, most individuals find themselves better equipped to manage their cravings and avoid drugs and alcohol long-term. CBT therapy also helps clients find the practices that will best serve their personality and circumstances, ensuring they have tools which they can rely on throughout their sobriety.

Your Attitudes Affect Your Recovery

Another aspect which CBT helps people control is “all or nothing” thinking. These attitudes can quickly and easily derail a person’s attempt at sobriety with devastating consequences. Black-and-white thinking — for example, making a mistake and believing its consequences are irreversible — is a common theme among people recovering from substance abuse; but not only is this type of thinking ungrounded, but it can also be a leading cause of relapse.

Individuals may come to expect perfection from themselves during recovery; however, healing doesn’t require perfect thoughts or actions, only an on-going commitment to sobriety, regardless of any “slip-ups.” CBT helps people manage the natural emotions raised by the inevitable mistakes people will make during their recovery — whether big or small — and help them maintain perspective, reground themselves and continue their sobriety journey without a relapse.

The Value of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment at Bayview Recovery

Bayview Recovery in Tacoma, Washington, offers many leading therapies and techniques to help individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and the co-occurring disorders that all too frequently accompany substance use. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, clients can benefit from a wide range of modalities as a part of a comprehensive, individualized rehab program which includes:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Individual, group and family therapy
  • Holistic and somatic therapies

Bayview Recovery’s treatment center, designed around maximizing the comfort of its clients, helps individuals focus on what matters most — their recovery. Call 888.570.7154 today to learn more about our rehab programs and getting back the life you deserve.