Counseling is a key component in recovering from addiction. While there are several types of counseling that can help, one of the most effective is cognitive behavioral therapy. Take a closer look at CBT and discover how it can benefit patients ready to take back control over their lives.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Two women engaging in talk therapy concentrating on cognitive behavioral therapy at treatment center.

Cognitive behavioral counseling is a type of talk therapy. This means simply that it is primarily verbal. Sessions are usually held in a one-on-one format between the patient and the therapist or counselor. However, occasional group sessions may also be implemented.

Behavioral therapy is any therapy that seeks to modify behavior, and cognitive therapy is definitely one example of this. More specifically, it seeks to change how thoughts impact behavior. This is key for patients who are struggling to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction.

Cognitive behavioral therapy relies on therapeutic exercises. This might mean presenting a difficult scenario and asking patients to respond. For example, a patient might be asked how to deal with their car breaking down in traffic on the way to work.

This is a potentially stressful situation, and patients will describe it in detail. Then, they can share their thoughts. Often, thoughts are negative and self-destructive. In cognitive behavioral counseling, patients are encouraged to identify emotions and change actions to reflect positive behaviors.

The Goals of CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy has a number of goals. Some of the most important are eliminating self-destructive actions, changing patterns of thinking, establishing personal validity and avoiding relapse.

Addiction is often tied to self-destructive actions. Many individuals who struggle with addiction feel guilt or embarrassment. As a result, they sabotage their own success because they don’t feel worthy.

At the same time, sometimes users don’t want to face important issues. Rather than resolving conflicts or past issues, they may want to stay stuck in the battle of addiction. Certain self-destructive behaviors may keep patients focused on the future rather than the more sensitive past.

Another goal of cognitive behavioral counseling is changing the way that patients think. This is no easy feat, and it takes a lot of self-awareness and mindfulness. However, once achieved, it can mean greater personal understanding. When people can see why they act the way they do, they take back control.

Ultimately, the goal of all addiction counseling is to maintain sobriety. Getting sober is just the first step, but staying sober may be even more challenging. Through counseling, patients will be better equipped to stay strong and avoid relapse.

Candidates for This Type of Counseling

Virtually anyone who is in recovery for an addiction can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. However, there are definitely certain candidates who will find it especially beneficial.

Anyone who has tried to recover from addiction, but relapsed, will find CBT effective. That’s because this therapy directly addresses issues like self-sabotage. By exposing what it is that patients are struggling with, therapy can help prevent a future relapse.

Patients with low self-esteem will also find cognitive behavioral counseling to be effective. Therapy can show patients why their health and happiness is important. Understanding that vital fact can be encouraging during recovery.

Adding Cognitive Behavioral Counseling to a Comprehensive Plan

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be an integral part of overcoming addiction. That being said, it is not the only piece of the puzzle. The best plan for recovery is comprehensive and includes a wide range of treatment methods.

Just some of the supplemental and experiential treatments for maximum recovery could include any of the following:

  • Family counseling
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Life skills training.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may be part of your journey to recovery. At Steps to Recovery in Levittown, Pennsylvania, you can start taking your first steps toward a life of sober living. Call 866.488.8684 to embrace the health and happiness you deserve.