How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very hands-on approach to psychotherapy in which the patient works with their therapist to set and meet goals for their recovery. The patient will look at how their thoughts influence their behaviors, particularly those which have proven self-destructive during active addiction and which might continue to have a negative impact on their recovery if left unresolved. There are many forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, including both group therapy and individual sessions, both of which sometimes use outside homework assignments to assess the client’s patterns of thoughts and behaviors. When self-destructive patterns of thoughts and beliefs have been identified, the therapist helps the client to develop coping skills that will mitigate these beliefs in the future, thus providing the client with tools that can be utilized outside of sessions.
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The primary benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it brings to light harmful ways of feeling and thinking while providing the necessary tools to overcome these thought processes. Furthermore, this therapy method allows the client to build a rapport with their therapist, ensuring a healthy professional relationship based on honesty and trust. This sense of trust is particularly evident in group sessions, as clients must rely on each other in addition to the presiding therapist. The use of homework assignments provides variety, ensuring that sessions do not feel stale. Outside assignments also promote accountability on the part of the client, since they are expected to fulfill the tasks assigned.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction
By its very nature, addiction is self-destructive. Not only does it result in consequences that most people would not choose to suffer, but it is often amplified by co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression that can result in similarly destructive behaviors. Addicts and alcoholics often think in extremes, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help bring these to light. Furthermore, since cognitive behavioral therapy primarily deals with the client’s beliefs about themselves, the coping skills learned in therapy can be applied both to addiction recovery and to the maintenance of thought processes arising from various co-occurring disorders. This is a large part of the reason it has become one of the favored forms of therapy among dual diagnosis treatment centers across the country.