Common CBT Approaches to Addiction Recovery

Common CBT Approaches to Addiction Recovery

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of treatment for addiction recovery; with various approaches to recovery, numerous studies have shown time and time again that CBT can help individuals replace old, negative thoughts patterns with newer, more productive ones. If you’re currently in the beginning stages of recovery, it’s important to note that substance abuse often serves as a “solution” to the pain that we’re experiencing – but by developing healthier coping mechanisms, such as through CBT, we become better equipped to deal with challenging life circumstances.

What is CBT?

The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that CBT has been used to treat a variety of disorders, such as: depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse problems, marital problems, severe mental illness and more. As a whole, CBT is based on a few core principles:

  1.     Psychological problems are based, in part, on unhealthy ways of thinking.
  2.     Psychological problems are also based, in part, on unhelpful learned behaviors.
  3.     Individuals struggling with psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them – which relieve one’s symptoms and become more effective in a person’s life.

Since CBT involves a change in thinking, it’s safe to say that this approach requires a lot of hands-on effort from clients. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that CBT helps patients identify likely problems to be experienced; from there, they’re learn greater self control by learning specific techniques for healthy coping strategies. For addiction recovery specifically, this could entail something similar to identifying the positive and negative consequences of reverting back to old substance use patterns, self-monitoring to become more aware of personal cravings and people, places or situations that led to those urges, identifying situations that could put a person at greater risk for relapse, and finding healthy ways out of risky situations.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights several key areas of CBT that those in recovery can rely on:

  •    CBT is brief, because it is instructional; clients can expect results within a shorter time frame through the use of “take home” assignments
  •    CBT brings focus to the ‘here and now’, making it more present-centered
  •    Thoughts are explored as those in addiction recovery learn more about cognitive distortions and irrational fears/worries
  •    New skills are taught and the therapist works not only as a therapist, but also as a coach
  •    The therapeutic relationship build in CBT sessions are based on trust, respect, listening, teaching and encouraging – which only uplift those in recovery to practice and apply what they’ve learned

Ultimately, there are 3 main benefits to CBT that those in addiction recovery can expect: 1) structure, 2) an emphasis on getting better, and 3) clearly defined goals.

Reframing Life in Recovery

Last year, Dr. Elizabeth Hartney, a psychologist and professor, explained to Very Well Mind the ways that our perception influences our lived experiences. She stated, “The human experience of cognition includes our perceptions, thoughts, emotions and understanding. This includes everything that comes into our mind through our senses, or through the way we think or feel about our past experiences.”

With such intense mechanisms at play, it makes sense that we’d rely on external solutions (such as drinking or abusing illicit drugs) to manage the pain we feel inside – especially if we haven’t yet learned of healthy internal coping mechanisms to deal with what we’re going through. CBT ultimately puts our experiences into perspective by giving us a new lens to look through; it’s almost as if we’ve switched out a camera with an old, raggedy lens for lens that are clean well adjusted.

In turn, this gives us the ability to turn our entire lives around – because perception is truly everything, and CBT works from within. Furthermore, CBT explores the conflicts that we tend to experience with what we want to do versus what we actually do. For example, when addiction is active, we may know deep within that it’s not the safest or healthiest option for us – yet we continue to do it anyways because we tell ourselves there’s no other way out. CBT places that personal responsibility back into our hands and provides us with a multitude of pathways with which to take – and from there, we can assess the situation from a much further stance.

A Transformative Approach

As Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Half the battle is simply acknowledging that you could lead a more balanced life; if you’re ready to take on your life with greater meaning and purpose that you ever thought possible, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today. Addiction may have taken control of your life before, but it doesn’t have to anymore; CBT provides you with the skills you need to turn your life around.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

We will work with most out of network PPO policies

Call 888-835-8075 to verify your insurance benefits today!
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Health Net
Blue Of California