Addiction Recovery

Everything You Need to Know About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment option for addiction, depression, and more. Call us today to learn more.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

January 13, 2022

There are many treatment options when it comes to addiction recovery. There’s inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and more, all of which include some form of therapy. One therapeutic option is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Here’s a basic rundown of this therapy, the benefits, and what you can expect in a session.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, otherwise known as CBT, is a form of psychotherapy. CBT is talk therapy typically held in one-on-one sessions. It seeks to reshape negative thinking patterns, avoid risky behaviors, learn coping mechanisms, and overcome emotional trauma.

What Can You Expect During a Session?

CBT usually lasts anywhere from five to twenty sessions and typically runs between 30 and 60 minutes. These sessions may take place in a clinic, outside, or even in your home. The first few sessions determine whether or not CBT is suitable for you. You and your therapist will get familiar with each other, cover the basics, and choose a course of action.

After the initial sessions, you and your therapist will begin breaking down problems into smaller parts. Your counselor may ask you to write in a notebook or diary to help with treatment. Then, you and your therapist will work to analyze your thoughts. Your therapist may assign “homework” to aid you in your treatment.

The Steps of CBT

A typical CBT session may follow a set of steps and guidelines for solving problems. This goal-oriented approach can be used throughout your life well after treatment has ended.

Identify problems: The first step of CBT is to identify problems and unfavorable circumstances within your life. These problems may include mental health issues, addiction, anger, family issues, and more. From there, you and your therapist will prioritize which problems to tackle.

Practice awareness: You and your therapist will begin practicing awareness after you have identified problem areas. You’ll discuss with your therapist your thoughts, beliefs, values, or observations regarding these problems to gain a greater understanding of how you see your life circumstances.

Identify negative thinking: You will learn to identify negative thinking patterns through talking with your therapist and homework activities. Your therapist may ask you to keep a diary of your thoughts, sometimes with prompts to guide your diary. They may also ask you to pay attention to your physical and emotional responses to a given situation and record those as well.

Reshape thinking: Now that you and your therapist know what thoughts, patterns, and ideas aren’t working, you’ll begin to reshape them. You and your therapist will work together simultaneously to transform your negative thought patterns into more positive ones. This process can be complex and may take time, but the work is where the real benefits of this treatment come from.

The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT isn’t just a pep talk. It is an effective treatment option with real benefits. When you go into it ready to learn and grow, the treatment can be extremely effective.

For example, one study found that CBT techniques were highly effective in reducing relapse amongst individuals who ceased smoking. Other researchers have discovered that CBT is an incredibly reliable first-line approach to anxiety disorders. Other studies determined that CBT mitigates general stress and anger issues.

The benefits include more than just the results of these studies. CBT may improve your self-esteem, communication skills, coping skills and help you create positive thinking patterns.

How Do You Decide if CBT Is Right for You?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an excellent option for many individuals. Although CBT was created to treat depression, this therapy can be used for a wide array of mental health challenges. CBT may be used to help conditions such as:

  • Mood disorders

  • Substance abuse

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Phobias

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Therapy can benefit many individuals, even those without one of the conditions listed above. This mode of therapy may be right for you if you struggle with any of these conditions or if you feel you would benefit from more positive ways of thinking. 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing CBT

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if CBT is best for you.

  • “Is a short-term treatment program right for me?”

  • “Am I ready to challenge my thoughts and beliefs?”

  • “Do I have a clear problem I’m trying to solve?”

  • “Am I willing to go the extra mile?”

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then CBT may be right for you. CBT will challenge your negative thinking patterns and require you to do work outside of sessions. If you can put your best foot forward, you may see tremendous benefits from this short-term treatment option.

Finding a Therapist Near You

There are many ways you can find a suitable therapist near you. Here are some tips if you decide to seek treatment.

  • Consult your insurance provider

  • Use a trustworthy online database

  • Ask friends or family for recommendations

The above list is just a few of the options you can use to find a therapist near you. You can also try calling local universities, organizations or use an online therapy app.

CBT and Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be an effective stand-alone treatment option or can be paired with other methods. CBT helps individuals develop self-awareness, increase their communication skills, and take actionable steps to solve their problems. The Edge Treatment Center offers multiple therapy options, including CBT. For more information call us today.

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