When healing from addiction and mental health conditions, most patients spend the majority of their time in therapy. At Bayview Recovery, we tailor the treatment options to the patient’s unique needs. One of the most common treatment options we offer is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. This form of therapy can help teach healthy and effective coping skills that the individual can use outside of treatment.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to emotional distress and psychological problems. It is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, and that by changing one aspect, the others can be positively impacted.
What are the Benefits of CBT?
There are many benefits related to CBT which is what makes it extremely useful in addiction and mental health treatment settings. Its evidence-based, goal-oriented, and versatile nature makes it an effective treatment option for a wide range of issues. In addition to this CBT offers many benefits to individuals in treatment including the following:
CBT helps individuals recognize situations or emotions that may trigger their addictive behaviors. By understanding these triggers, they can develop healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions without resorting to substance abuse or other harmful behaviors.
CBT teaches individuals to identify and challenge irrational or negative thoughts that contribute to their addiction or mental health issues. By replacing these thoughts with more balanced and realistic ones, individuals can reduce emotional distress and improve their overall mental health.
CBT helps individuals develop problem-solving skills by teaching them a structured and systematic approach to tackle challenges and obstacles they encounter in life. This process involves several key steps that enable individuals to identify, analyze, and find appropriate solutions to their problems.
CBT can help individuals improve their self-esteem and self-efficacy through a variety of techniques and strategies that target the negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to low self-worth and feelings of incompetence. CBT empowers individuals to develop a more positive self-image and increases their confidence in their ability to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
CBT encourages individuals to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements, both big and small. Recognizing and appreciating one’s accomplishments can boost self-image and reinforce the belief that they are capable and competent. It can also help a person recover from the shame and guilt that often comes with substance use and mental illness.
In addiction treatment, CBT equips individuals with the tools and strategies needed to prevent relapse. By recognizing early warning signs and implementing coping strategies, individuals can maintain their recovery and avoid returning to substance use.
Many people with addiction also struggle with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. CBT can address both the addiction and the underlying mental health condition, providing comprehensive treatment and improving the chances of long-term recovery.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a versatile and evidence-based treatment approach that can be tailored to an individual’s specific needs. It has proven effective in treating addiction and various mental health issues by focusing on changing negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors, ultimately leading to improved emotional well-being and better overall mental health.
Understanding a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program
A cognitive-behavioral therapy program 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 addiction. It can also help them sustain a healthy, long-term recovery. CBT takes place in a one-on-one setting. Here, 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 addiction therapist will help the recovering client. They will 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. They may include issues related to problems such as:
Childhood emotional or physical abuse
Undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues
A functional analysis helps patients to identify specific triggers. 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 a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program 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 that 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 that they can rely on throughout their sobriety.
What Techniques Are Used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy uses a variety of techniques to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. Some standard CBT techniques include:
Cognitive restructuring: This technique involves identifying and challenging negative, irrational, or distorted thoughts and beliefs. Individuals learn to replace these unhelpful thoughts with more balanced and realistic ones, leading to improved emotional well-being and healthier behaviors.
Behavioral activation: This technique aims to increase engagement in positive and rewarding activities to counteract the effects of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. By scheduling and participating in enjoyable activities, individuals can improve their mood and overall well-being.
Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is used to treat anxiety disorders, phobias, and PTSD by gradually exposing individuals to feared situations or stimuli in a controlled manner. This helps them confront and reduce their anxiety, ultimately leading to decreased avoidance behaviors and increased confidence in facing feared situations.
Problem-solving therapy: This technique teaches individuals a structured approach to identify, analyze, and find solutions to problems they encounter daily. By developing effective problem-solving skills, individuals can better cope with life’s challenges without resorting to unhealthy behaviors.
Relaxation techniques: CBT often incorporates relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery, to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and negative emotions.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and body scanning, can be integrated into CBT to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the present moment. This increased awareness can improve emotional regulation and promote healthier coping strategies.
Goal setting: CBT encourages individuals to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with their values and aspirations. By working towards and achieving these goals, individuals can boost their self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Assertiveness training: This technique helps individuals develop effective communication skills and learn to express their needs, feelings, and boundaries in a respectful and assertive manner. Assertiveness training can improve interpersonal relationships and overall mental health.
Social skills training: For individuals with social anxiety or difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, CBT may include social skills training to help them develop appropriate and effective social behaviors.
Self-monitoring: CBT often involves self-monitoring of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors through the use of journals or logs. This practice helps individuals become more aware of their patterns and triggers, enabling them to implement learned coping strategies when needed.
These techniques, along with others, are used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address a wide range of mental health issues and emotional challenges. By learning and practicing these techniques, individuals can develop healthier thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to improved mental health and overall well-being.
How Long Does CBT Last?
The duration of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can vary depending on the individual’s needs, the specific issue being addressed, and the progress made during therapy. CBT is generally considered a short-term therapy compared to other therapeutic approaches.
Typically, CBT lasts between 12 to 20 sessions, with each session lasting about 45 minutes to an hour. However, some individuals may require fewer sessions, while others might need more extended therapy to achieve their treatment goals. In some cases, CBT can be delivered in a more intensive format over a shorter period.
It’s important to note that the duration of CBT can also be influenced by factors such as the severity of the issue, the individual’s level of engagement and commitment to therapy, the therapist’s experience and approach, and the availability of resources.
While CBT is designed to be time-limited, the skills and strategies learned during therapy can have long-lasting effects. Individuals can continue to apply these techniques in their daily lives to maintain their mental health and well-being even after completing therapy.
Your Attitudes Affect Your Recovery
CBT helps people control “all or nothing” thinking. These attitudes can quickly and easily derail a person’s attempt at sobriety with devastating consequences. Black-and-white thinking, such as making a mistake and believing its consequences are irreversible, is common, especially among people recovering from substance abuse. 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. The key is an ongoing 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 a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program at Bayview Recovery
Bayview Recovery in Tacoma, Washington, offers many leading therapies and techniques to help individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. During addiction, co-occurring disorders are all too frequently accompanied by substance use. In addition to a cognitive-behavioral therapy program, clients can benefit from a wide range of modalities as a part of a comprehensive, individualized rehab program, which includes:
Bayview Recovery’s treatment center, designed around maximizing the comfort of its clients, helps individuals focus on what matters most — their recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our rehab programs and to get back to the life you deserve.