CBT for Addiction Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for addiction, has its roots in behavioral and cognitive therapies of the 20th century, which at one time were two separate schools of therapy. It has been shown to be very effective in a wide variety of instances, such as for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. The goal of CBT in addiction therapy is to minimize negative, or self-defeating thoughts that can lead an addict to relapse. There are different protocols for delivery of the cognitive behavioral therapy and use of the term CBT may refer to any number of these, such as distraction, imagery, motivational self-talk, etc.

CBT Techniques for Addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for drug addiction can be used in both one-on-one sessions and group therapy sessions. Depending on where a person receives treatment, you may find the therapy has a more behavioral slant or, for others, a more cognitive orientation, the difference being that the more cognitive application will focus more on cognitive restructuring while the more behavioral application may have more of a focus on exposure therapy depending on the patient and his, or her needs. The goal is not to diagnose but to look at the individual as a whole and determine what needs to be “fixed”. The basic steps for CBT are to identify the critical behaviors, determine whether these behaviors are excesses or deficits, evaluate them for frequency, duration and intensity, and then attempt to alter them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Therapy

At LANNA, we offer both CBT and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) in our program. The term “dialectical” means a synthesis, or integration, of opposites. What this refers to is the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change that the therapy is based on. For example, patients learn to accept who they are while at the same time acknowledging that they need to change some thoughts or behaviors to attain their goals and that the ability to change is within everyone while not fundamentally affecting who they are. The skills taught in DBT are balanced between acceptance and change. The acceptance oriented skills are mindfulness and distress tolerance, while the change oriented skills consist of emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT is divided into four stages of treatment. In Stage One the client is not in control of certain thoughts or behaviors and is self-harming, in the case of addiction by using drugs and/or alcohol. The goal ten becomes moving beyond this stage to one of behavioral self-control. In Stage Two the patient may be experiencing emotional inhibition, discomfort, or suffering due to a past trauma and invalidation. The goal in Stage Two is to move beyond this state to one off full emotional experiencing. In Stage Three the challenge is to learn to live by setting goals, building self-respect and finding peace and happiness. The Fourth Stage is concerned with finding deeper meaning through a spiritual existence, or a sense of connection to a greater whole, such as humanity or the universe, however the patient needs to define it, thereby moving into a sense, or feeling of completeness towards life that includes an ongoing capacity for experiencing joy and happiness. If you’re looking for a CBT for addiction and DBT as part of a progressive treatment program, call us today for more information or to get started on reclaiming your life.