Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of behavioral therapy offered by Aliya Health Group’s treatment providers to help treat and manage mental health and substance use disorders.
CBT is often referred to as talk therapy. This is because the main portion of healing in CBT occurs during discussions with your therapist. The evidence-based practices found in cognitive behavioral therapy focus on altering unwanted behaviors by teaching you to identify and change unhealthy or inaccurate thoughts.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the core principles of cognitive behavioral therapy include:
- False beliefs and unhealthy thought patterns are partially responsible for psychological distress.
- Unhealthy learned behaviors can negatively influence symptoms of mental health conditions.
- Problems with mental health can be minimized with healthy coping skills.
Together, the core principles of CBT are meant to help you understand how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can influence each other.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?
CBT is an incredibly beneficial therapy approach that instills healthier ways of thinking by teaching you to notice the negative patterns in your day-to-day thoughts. In general, cognitive behavioral therapy works by combining two therapeutic approaches—cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.
Centered around the term cognitive, meaning “to recognize,” cognitive therapy helps you develop a clear understanding of your own thoughts, moods, and expectations. The goal of cognitive therapy is to identify your false beliefs and change them to reflect a more positive outlook. In doing so, this form of therapy aims to lessen the negative impact of stressful situations by minimizing the importance you attach to the issues in your life.
Behavioral therapy functions under the belief that human behavior is learned and can be unlearned or relearned. The focus of behavioral therapy is to find out if your behaviors intensify the problems in your life. After that, you and your therapist work together to change your problematic behavioral habits.
By integrating the practices found in cognitive and behavioral therapy, CBT provides an engaging environment to help you change your thoughts and behaviors for the better.
CBT’s therapy approach includes:
- Identifying unwanted behaviors or issues
- Analyzing unhealthy thought patterns and their impact on life
- Challenging false beliefs and reframing mindset
- Learning and practicing healthy alternative behaviors
You learn to engage in mindful strategies that introduce healthier, more realistic expectations. The techniques also help you cope with and decrease maladaptive thoughts and behaviors as you work through CBT therapy.
To promote a healthier internal monologue, CBT techniques help you implement healthy coping methods to handle negative emotions, stress, and low self-esteem.
CBT techniques highlight the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can provide clarity and support logic-based responses to handle stressful situations. As you reframe your perspective and address unhealthy beliefs, you also learn healthier, alternative coping skills. In doing so, CBT techniques can help relieve your symptoms and allow you to become more effective in your life.
Core CBT techniques include:
- Emotion Management: Addresses insecurities while treating anxiety and depression for a healthier state of mind.
- Behavior Shifts: Replaces negative behaviors and reduces emotional reactions to everyday situations by introducing healthy coping skills.
- Mental Maintenance: Applies cognition and reasoning to focus on the connection between emotions, behaviors, and the healing process.
As you practice CBT therapy techniques, you will begin to recognize false narratives within your thinking patterns that lead to irrational thoughts, overwhelming emotions, and unwanted behaviors.
CBT techniques to change unhealthy thinking patterns can include:
- Identify your cognitive distortions (false beliefs) and then reevaluate them from a rational perspective with fact-based thinking
- Gain a better understanding of the behaviors of others instead of taking their actions personally
- Use healthy problem-solving skills so that you can cope with stressful situations
- Develop a greater sense of confidence in your abilities
CBT techniques to change unhealthy behavior patterns can include:
- Face your fears instead of avoiding anxiety-inducing situations
- Participate in role-playing activities to prepare for stressful scenarios
- Practice relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body
This form of behavioral therapy focuses on the “now” rather than the past, which develops goal-oriented thought patterns. So, instead of focusing on past wrongs or harboring resentments, CBT therapy teaches you how to move forward and succeed in recovery. Participating in CBT techniques during substance abuse treatment can also help you identify high-risk situations and triggers to prevent relapse.
What Happens in CBT Therapy?
You and your therapist will analyze your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to better understand how you perceive yourself and the world around you. In doing so, you are able to identify irrational and unhealthy thought patterns and determine how your beliefs affect your day-to-day life. As a result, your therapist will be able to help you figure out how to challenge unrealistic or unhelpful thoughts and encourage healthy behaviors.
CBT sessions for substance use can include:
- Motivational intervention
- Contingency management
- Relapse prevention
- Cognitive reframing
- Skills training
- Behavioral strategies
CBT is effective in both individual therapy and group therapy. For example, clients practice CBT techniques in group settings to work through unhealthy thought patterns with the help of others. Similarly, those with co-occurring disorders can participate in cognitive behavioral therapy to help work through emotions with their primary therapist.
CBT therapy can help you work through emotions including:
- Low self-esteem
- Guilt and loss
CBT coping skills allow you to engage in healthier ways of thinking by teaching you to notice the negative patterns in your day-to-day thoughts. You learn to engage in mindful strategies that introduce healthier, more realistic expectations as a result.
Addiction treatment programs that utilize CBT for substance abuse help you instill healthy alternative reactions to triggers and cravings in the same way. In time, you learn to cope with and lessen destructive thoughts and behaviors, ultimately feeling more power over your life in recovery.
What Is CBT Used For?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to help people identify, understand, and change dysfunctional behavior. CBT focuses on the “now” rather than the past. As a result, CBT can help you understand underlying core beliefs that feed self-doubt, anxiety, and anger. Integrating cognitive behavioral therapy as a psychological treatment can also be effective for a range of conditions.
CBT assists in the treatment of:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorder
- Mood disorders
- Eating disorders
- Sexual disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Anger management
- Family conflict
- Chronic pain
- Substance use disorders
Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped all different types of individuals and can also help you by identifying unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that feed addictive behaviors. There are many CBT strategies used in individual and group therapy during alcohol and drug rehab that can help you reframe your mind and recover from addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Addiction Treatment
The goal of CBT during substance abuse treatment is to lessen the mental hold of addiction by building coping skills. For this reason, a key benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy in addiction treatment is that it teaches you how to identify high-risk situations and triggers. In substance abuse treatment, CBT therapists guide relapse prevention groups in developing ways to cope with those triggers and manage the effects of cravings.
Studies support CBT as an effective treatment for substance use disorders due to its successful outcomes in the following:
- Thought analysis
- Strategies to avoid triggers
- Building problem-solving skills
- Drug refusal
- Coping skills
By understanding the impact cravings have on your moods and reactions, you also can practice mindfulness throughout your daily life and utilize CBT skills as a form of relapse prevention. As a result, you begin to build self-confidence and self-motivation as you continue to maintain your sobriety.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call us today at 888-965-3085 to find the right level of care for your unique situation. CBT is one of our evidence-based therapy offerings and it has helped many of our clients heal during treatment and in recovery.