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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

01-14-13 | By

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

There are some individuals who fill their mind with negative thoughts and ultimately translate to problematic behavior such as substance abuse. These can affect different areas of their life such as relationships, work, academics, and many others. As a result, opportunities may pass them by. In this respect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT) help’s these people to gradually change their behavioral pattern for their betterment. Our thoughts and our feelings can often determine our behavior and what decisions we make. This is the basic belief for CBT.

About Cognitive Behavior

Cognitive Behavior is also known as thinking behavior. Our thinking drives our actions. So in turn cognitive behavior refers to the action done by a person to accomplish tasks such as responding, sequencing, and responding, among others. These are usually things that are learned and logical. When people grow older, they develop the ability to recognize consequences of behavior. They are also able to visualize things that may happen and try to avoid behavior that would most likely cause it. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy addresses and challenges a person’s thoughts and thinking, ultimately changing their actions.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a form of psycho-therapeutic treatment that enables patients to realize thoughts and feelings, which influence behaviors. While it was originally formed to treat depression, CBT is the most widely used practice for mental health issues, and sub-sequentially, substance abuse.This type of treatment is used to treat a variety of additional disorders like phobias, anxiety, and behavior disorders. The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach patients that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them, they can take control of how they interpret and deal with things in their environment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ModelAccording to the National Health Service (NHS) of England, “CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You’re shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis”

In general, CBT is done for a short period of time and is meant to help clients manage a particular problem. CBT takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and ultimately change the way they feel. During the treatment, people study ways to recognize and change disturbing or destructive patterns of thought that influences behavior in a negative way.

The Basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT’s basic concept is that thoughts and feelings of individuals play a primary role in their behavior. For instance, if a certain person occupies his/her thoughts with air disasters such as plane crashes and accidents on the runway, he/she will try to avoid traveling by air. CBT aims to make patients learn that they do not have control over different aspects of the world. However, they can control the way they interpret things that are happening and the way they deal with them. The goal of CBT is to allow a client to take control of his/her problems and to manage life in a healthy adaptive way.

CBT assumes that both the individual and the environment are of fundamental importance and that therapy outside of a holistic approach would be of injustice to the client. Fixing cognitive dysfunctions is not possible without the involvement of behavior and fixing behavioral dysfunctions is not possible without the involvement of cognition.

The primary objectives of CBT are to:

Foster motivation for abstinence – CBT methods such as functonal analysis, which clarifies what the client stands to lose or gain by using substances, can enhance the client’s motivation to stop use.

Teach coping skills – This is the core of CBT to help clients recognize the high risk situations in which they are most likely to use substances and to develop other, more effective, means to cope.

Change reinforcers – CBT focuses on identifying and reducing habits associated with drug use by substituting positive activities and rewards.

Foster management of painful feelings – CBT skills help the client recognize and cope with urges to use substances and learn to tolerate other strong feelings such as depression and anger.

Improve interpersonal relationships and social supports – CBT trains the client in interpersonal skills and strategies to help them increase their support networks and build healthy relationships.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Assumptions

  • The cognitive approach believes that abnormality stems from faulty beliefs about others, our world, and us. This faulty thinking may develop from cognitive deficiencies (lack of planning) or cognitive distortions (processing information inaccurately).
  • These beliefs and cognitions effect the way we see things and cause distortions.
  • We interact with the world through our representation of the way we see it. If our mental representations are inaccurate or our ways of reasoning are inadequate then our emotions and behavior may become disordered.

10 Principles of CBT

  1. CBT is based on an ever-evolving formulation of the patient and her problems in cognitive terms.
  2. CBT requires a good client-therapist relationship.
  3. CBT emphasizes collaboration and active participation.
  4. CBT is goal-oriented and problem focused.
  5. CBT initially emphasizes the present.
  6. CBT is educative; it aims to teach the client to be his/her own therapist, and emphasizes relapse prevention.
  7. CBT aims to be time limited.
  8. CBT sessions are structured.
  9. CBT teaches patients to identify, evaluate, and respond to their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs.
  10. CBT uses a variety of techniques to change thinking, mood, and behavior.

What Happens During CBT?

CBT typically involves three steps:

Identifying troubling situations in your life – These may include medical conditions, divorce, grief, anger, or symptoms of a mental illness. You must focus on one situation at a time and would be wise to discuss this with your therapist.

Becoming aware of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about the issue – Once you have a understand of the problems you want to work on, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings about them. this can include observing what you tell yourself but the experience. You may want to keep a journal about your thoughts.

Identifying negative or distorted thinking – This comes in when we are able to recognize the patterns of our thinking that may be contributing to the problem. The therapist may ask you to pay attention to your physical, emotional, and behavioral responses in different situations.

Re-shape the distorted thinking – The clinician you’re working with may likely encourage you to view your situation based on fact or your inaccurate perception of what is going on. This step can be challenging. Most of our thinking patterns are concrete and can be hard to challenge them. With practice, helpful thinking can change and these patterns will become a habit and not take as much effort as in the beginning.

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Approaches

CBT is an umbrella for a number of different treatment models. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy. While each type of cognitive-behavioral therapy offers its own unique approach, each centers on addressing the underlying thought patterns that contribute to psychological distress and pain. We will break down a few of them:

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – This type of therapy helps the individual identify and change distorted thinking while incorporating strategies like emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.
  • Multimodal Therapy – This form of CBT suggests that seven different behaviors must be addressed while treating psychological issues. Those are behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological consideration.
  • Cognitive Therapy – This form of CBT focuses on identifying inaccurate thinking patterns, emotional responses and behaviors.
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) – This type of CBT helps identify and alter irrational beliefs, challenge these beliefs, and ultimately change them to promote positive and rational thinking.

People Who Will Benefit from CBT

CBT is more effective if the patient is willing and ready to devote time and effort examining his/her feelings and thoughts. While this may be difficult, it is an efficient way to know more about the effects of internal states toward behavior.

  • People who are suffering from a variety of disorders like phobias, anxiety, addiction, and depression.
  • Patients who are at ease with self-examination
  • People who are searching for a kind of short-term treatment, which does not necessarily have to do anything with pharmacological medication.
  • Patients who are attending long or short-term treatment and are ready and willing to change maladaptive behaviors.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

When taking part in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a patient is teaching their brain a new way of learning and seeing things in the world. Patients will learn to slow their racing and uncontrollable thoughts while considering whether their beliefs are rational or not.

Some additional benefits can include:

  • Becoming more rational – Patients will think and believe rational things instead of allowing automatic thoughts and feelings to control the brain.
  • Learn to control things – Strategies to control or stop unwanted thinking can be learned to think clearly and rationally.
  • Beliefs about yourself changeConfidence is developed as the patient becomes more in control of their thoughts. Belief systems about yourself begin to change.
  • You begin to relax – Anxiety no longer frightens you or freaks you out. You learn to approach it with confidence and peace. You learn to handle situations by being more relaxed and less anxious.
  • You expect better outcomes – Because of our history, we expect things to turn out poorly for ourselves. Now, as our thoughts and beliefs change, we begin to expect more rationally. Our expectations become more in line with logic and common sense.  As a result, what we expect to happen, happens.

How To Get The Most Out Of CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy may not cure your condition or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can give you the power to cope with your situation in a healthy way and to feel better about yourself and your life. Not everyone can benefit from CBT, however there are steps you can take to make the most out of your time practicing it to ultimately become successful.

  • Approach therapy as a partnership. Therapy is most effective when you’re an active participant and share in decision-making. Make sure you and your therapist agree about the major issues and how to tackle them. Together, you can set goals and assess progress over time.
  • Be open and honest. Success with therapy depends on your willingness to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and on being open to new insights and ways of doing things. If you’re reluctant to talk about certain things because of painful emotions, embarrassment or fears about your therapist’s reaction, let your therapist know about your reservations.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. If you feel down or lack motivation, it may be tempting to skip therapy sessions. Doing so can disrupt your progress. Attend all sessions and give some thought to what you want to discuss.
  • Don’t expect instant results. Working on emotional issues can be painful and often requires hard work. It’s not uncommon to feel worse during the initial part of therapy as you begin to confront past and current conflicts. You may need several sessions before you begin to see improvement.
  • Do your homework between sessions. If your therapist asks you to read, keep a journal or do other activities outside of your regular therapy sessions, follow through. Doing these homework assignments will help you apply what you’ve learned in the therapy sessions.
  • If therapy isn’t helping, talk to your therapist. If you don’t feel that you’re benefiting from CBT after several sessions, talk to your therapist about it. You and your therapist may decide to make some changes or try a different approach.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Components

There are two critical components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Functional Analysis

This stage is very important because it teaches how situations, feelings, and thoughts can influence maladaptive behavior. The behavioral therapist begins therapy by letting the client identify beliefs that worry him so as to fight these negative thoughts and feelings. This process may be difficult for people who are not comfortable with self-examination, but eventually, it may lead to discovering one’s self and insights that are crucial to this process. If the person is struggling with substance abuse, the counselor conducts a functional analysis of a recent episode of substance use with the client. An example might look like this as the counselor asks a series of questions aimed at eliciting insights into the client’s thinking and recollections. Here is an example of questions that the counselor may use:

  • Tell me all you can about the last time you used cocaine.
  • Where were you and what were you doing?
  • What happened before?
  • How were you feeling?
  • When was the first time you were aware of wanting to use?
  • Was was the high like at the beginning?
  • What was it like later?
  • Can you think of anything positive that happened as a result of using?
  • What about negative consequences?

Focus On Behaviors That Contribute To The Problem (Skills Training)

The patient starts to discover and practice coping skills to use in real situations. For instance, a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can find ways to avoid social situations that may cause a relapse. can be viewed as a highly individualized training program to help the client unlearn old habits associated with substance use and learn or relearn healthier skills. In CBT, the goal is to identify and reduce habits associated with a drug using lifestyle by substituting more enduring, positive activities and rewards. The client learns to recognize and cope with urges to use substances. In addition, the skills can improve interpersonal functioning, enhance social supports, and help clients learn to tolerate feelings like depression and anger. The highly individualized nature of cognitive behavioral therapy requires the counselor to be sensitive in matching the content, timing, and presentation of new skills and behaviors to the client’s readiness for change.

CBT In Addiction Treatment

It’s common for individuals struggling with substance use disorder to have destructive, negative thinking. Not recognizing these thought patterns are harmful, they seek treatment for depression or other external influences. Since cognition affects our wellbeing, changing harmful thought patterns is essential. CBT addresses harmful thought patterns, which help clients recognize their ability to practice alternative ways of thinking, and regulates distressing emotions and harmful behavior.

CBT is vital when one is struggling with an addiction. For addiction treatment, CBT is effective because it is highly focused and compared to other therapeutic modalities; a course of CBT sessions is relatively short term in nature. Since addiction treatment programs are normally offered in timeframes lasting 30-days, 45-days or 90-days, CBT can quickly focus on the client’s maladaptive substance use to help develop alternative behavior skills as part of his/her integrated treatment plan.

Get Help With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy TreatmentAddiction has devastating impacts on the user as well as their family, friends and community. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is critical to find the resources, treatment, and support that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to overcome your addiction and reclaim your life.

There are many people who have achieved long term sobriety using CBT and so can you. The experienced staff at Sober Nation are ready to talk you through whatever you are struggling with. Medical personnel can also keep your loved ones informed of your status as you go through this process while treating you or your loved one with the compassion and respect they deserve. Some of the expert staff of Sober Nation are recovering addicts themselves and are an active part of the recovery community around you, so they understand the pain and frustration that you experience. Turn your goal of recovery into reality and call Sober Nation today.

You can always reach us at our 24 confidential hotline at 866-317-7050

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