If you’ve ever researched therapy for addiction, you’ve likely heard about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is one of the most widely and highly regarded therapy methods for a range of psychological problems, including addiction. There’s a wealth of scientific research that supports the effectiveness of CBT and the majority of clients report a positive experience with the therapy.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on cognition, or how your automatic thought processes can affect your emotions. It works by targeting the cognitive distortions, maladaptive thinking, and other thought processes that obstruct recovery. While this isn’t unique to addiction, CBT is nonetheless a valuable component to treating the condition.
Cognitive distortions are automatic thought processes that are often overly negative and inaccurate. This can look like overgeneralizing their negative experiences, catastrophizing, or personalizing situations. This often leads to misinterpreting situations as more hostile than they really are and jumping to negative conclusions. As a result, these people’s emotions are impacted negatively, resulting in anxious or depressive thoughts.
How CBT Helps Treat Addiction
It’s common for those struggling with addiction to exhibit some of these cognitive distortions, and as a result, they may use substances to help them cope with the burden of their painful feelings. Cognitive Behavior Therapy empowers clients to manage difficult feelings by addressing the root cause — cognitive distortions. As negative thinking becomes less of a problem, the need for substance use may decrease and addiction may become easier to manage.
What would a therapy session look like?
It’s natural to feel apprehensive about starting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. However, learning a bit more about how it works can help put you at ease. A typical session would last between 40 minutes and an hour. Your therapist will discuss your experiences since your last session and whether there have been any stressors or changes in your life. Together, you will seek to identify any dysfunctional thinking and negative behavior. Your therapist will challenge irrational or overly negative thought patterns, as well as suggest some coping strategies to help you deal with your experiences in a healthier manner.
One of the most common techniques in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is recording your thoughts. You may be asked to keep a diary of your automatic negative thoughts and then look for evidence that either supports or disproves them. Then, your therapist will support you in assessing the evidence and evaluating the validity of those automatic thoughts. This technique is highly effective at helping you develop a healthier and more balanced perspective on both yourself and the world around you.
How Effective is CBT for Addiction ?
CBT is one of the therapies with the best track record, greatest versatility, and most proven effectiveness. There’s a wealth of evidence to support its effectiveness at treating numerous conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as addiction. Since addiction often overlaps with other mental illness and trauma, CBT is uniquely well-suited to meet the messy reality of addiction. Reach out to Baystate Recovery for holistic addiction treatment that treats the whole person.
Learn More with Baystate Recovery
CBT is a highly effective way to learn coping skills, address the habits that cause relapse, and regain control of your life. If you or a loved is struggling with addiction, Contact Baystate Recovery Services for proven, evidence-based addiction treatment.