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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used type of treatment in psychology. When it comes to treating individuals with addiction, CBT is very effective, especially for marijuana users. Around 75% of people who undergo CBT experience some form of benefit in their recovery process.

Originally, CBT was developed as a way to help individuals recovering from alcoholism prevent a relapse. Following that, it was administered to recovering cocaine addicts and is now the “gold standard” of talk therapies used to treat addiction. At The Summit Wellness Group, we incorporate some form of CBT into each of our programs to effectively treat addiction and possible co-occurring mental health conditions. 

In this article

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

In broad terms, CBT is a type of therapy, administered in both individual and group settings, that addressed negative behaviors and cognitions through intervention. As a talk therapy, CBT asks clients to address problems in certain thoughts and behavioral patterns and then to redirect those thoughts and actions in a more positive way. 

Types of CBT

Typically, CBT is going to be administered in one of three settings: individual therapy, group therapy, or family/couples interventions. There are various different methods in which CBT is utilized, including:

  • Positive CBT. This type of CBT focuses on the things that a person does that are right/that works and builds upon those.
  • Trauma-Focused CBT. Because underlying trauma is often the cause of substance abuse, this form of CBT may be most sensitive and beneficial.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). There are a couple different ways ACT manifests when it comes to addiction. Therapists may ask clients to accept their thoughts and commit to acting in a way that aligns with their values. They may also ask clients to accept what they cannot control and commit to acting in a positive way that they can control.
  • Mindfulness CBT. This type of CBT calls on meditation to help clients pay attention to their thoughts consciously.

What Does CBT Do?

There are many different reasons why someone might start using drugs or drinking alcohol in excess. Unfortunately, there is no one cause or one solution. Someone’s genetics or environment may play a role, underlying mental illnesses can lead to addiction…the reasons are endless. Because of this, CBT works to address a variety of different aspects of human cognition and behavior. 

Some therapists may use CBT to help their clients address and manage certain emotions, deal with grief, and cope with those feelings in a healthier and more positive way than substance use.

CBT Techniques

There are a variety of different techniques that can be used to incorporate CBT into addiction treatment programs. These all depend on what works best for the client and their specific situation.

  • Skill Development
  • Acknowledgement of Negative Thoughts
  • Setting Goals
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Behavior Activation
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Journaling
  • Role Playing

What are the Benefits?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not a cure-all for substance abuse or any of the trauma or mental illnesses that cooccur. It does, however, provide many different benefits that can lead a person further into recovery. It can provide different skills and coping mechanisms for relapse prevention.

  • Therapist Support
  • Increased Self-Esteem
  • Increased Relaxation 
  • Stress Management
  • Patient Accountability
  • Increased Ability to Adapt
  • Coping Skill Development
  • Better Communication
  • Anger Management
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Healthier Thinking Patterns
  • Constructive Behaviors

Problems CBT Can Help With

Because CBT is so versatile, it can be used to help treat a variety of conditions along with substance abuse. And because many people struggling with addiction also deal with different mental health conditions, this makes CBT one of the most effective dual diagnosis therapies. Though most programs for mental illnesses include CBT to some degree, it is particularly beneficial in treating anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, panic attacks, and personality disorders

Does CBT Really Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered an evidence-based therapy, meaning that it has been researched and is backed by science when it comes to proven effectiveness. CBT has been researched since the 1960s and is incorporated in a variety of different programs for addiction as well as mental illnesses. 

The short answer is that yes, cognitive behavioral therapy helps many different people develop new coping skills and habits that aid in the recovery process. It is not a cure-all, though, meaning that recovery takes consistent work and a variety of other methods as well. And, depending on specific conditions and history, certain therapies may be more effective than others. The best thing to do is talk with an experienced professional at our drug rehabs in Atlanta or Roswell, GA.

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