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How Does CBT Treat Addiction?

When you’re beginning to look for addiction treatment, you might not know the kinds of therapy you most need. In an inpatient program, you’ll engage in many different styles of therapy. Addiction-specialized cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is provided in most qualified treatment facilities. What is CBT, though?

Understanding CBT

CBT is a well-established type of individual therapy that focuses on the connection between thoughts and behaviors. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), CBT functions on three main concepts:

#1 Psychological issues occur partly because of maladaptive or unhelpful thought patterns.

#2 Learned behaviors and unhelpful behaviors equally cause psychological problems.

#3 People with psychological problems can learn more healthy and helpful ways of coping, consequently relieving their symptoms and improving their quality of life.

This style of therapy has shown efficacy and reliability for most mental illnesses. As a matter of fact, psychologists have developed styles of CBT focused specifically on individual diagnoses, like substance use disorder (SUD). Let’s examine SUD-specific CBT techniques.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

One primary technique of addiction-based CBT is MI. This technique involves a thought focus. MI can stand as its own form of therapy or as a part of the CBT umbrella. The aim is to help you identify your primary goals of treatment. These usually include objectives like the following:

  • Get sober
  • Build back trust with family/spouse
  • Find healthier ways to cope with stress

In addition to you identifying your goals, the clinician will help you pinpoint obstacles that can prevent you from attaining your goals. This part is just as important as the first step because these obstacles can hinder your growth and healing. From there, you’ll work on problem-solving to overcome your barriers. In the end, this CBT technique focuses on your thought patterns. Your motivation will drive this.

Contingency Management (CM)

CM uses operant conditioning to help you build and maintain your sobriety. You’ll receive periodic reinforcers to reward abstinence. This could include small rewards or rare large rewards. Over time, your reward schedule may benefit you more.

While sobriety may be your primary rewarding behavior, you and your therapist might decide on other rewarding behaviors based on your goals. If your substance use made self-care difficult, you might reward things like brushing your teeth every day or taking a shower a designated number of times each week.

In addiction-specific CBT, clinicians will use techniques like motivational interviewing and contingency management to help you maintain your sobriety. Additionally, you’ll encounter more traditional CBT skills like thought balancing and the CBT triangle. It’s essential to enter a facility that understands the therapeutic needs of people with SUD. At The Guest House, you’ll engage in holistic therapies, as well as group and individual therapies like addiction-specific CBT. Our unique approach cares for all your health and wellness needs. We understand that different kinds of wellness are interconnected. If you’re ready to start healing, call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.