Treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) involves a combination of therapy methods. One of these is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The name might deter some people from seeking treatment. After they understand what it is and how it works, however, they find that there’s nothing scary about it.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT is a common type of psychotherapy or talk therapy. Patients work with mental health counselors in structured sessions to address their problems. Overall, cognitive behavioral therapy is a short treatment. However, the structure allows therapists and patients to make significant progress quickly.
The purpose of CBT is to make patients aware of the negative or inaccurate thoughts they have. This negativity is what leads to poor behavior such as drug use. It also causes negative emotions that lead to adverse responses in certain situations.
After recognizing the negative thoughts, patients learn how to think more positively. Having more positive thoughts results in better behavior and positive feelings. The change naturally reduces the need that patients have to self-medicate. It helps them learn to manage stress as well.
However, CBT can treat more than substance use disorder. It’s also very helpful for treating eating disorders, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Because of that, cognitive behavior therapy is an ideal treatment method for people with co-occurring disorders. This term refers to people who have both an SUD and underlying mental health illness.
What Happens During CBT?
Counselors can use cognitive behavioral therapy in individual, group or family therapy settings. The participants will learn about their particular addiction and/or mental health illness. They also learn and practice techniques that help them cope with and manage stress as well as relax. Here’s a look at how CBT progresses for most people.
During the first cognitive behavioral therapy session, therapists typically spend an hour learning more about their patient. They discuss the patient’s concerns, treatment goals, and physical and emotional health. Some counselors also talk about whether other treatments may or may not be beneficial.
The first session is also the best time for patients to make sure that their therapists are a good fit. They should ask about their treatment approach, for example.
In most cases, the meeting closes with a therapy plan. Although they lay the groundwork for CBT during the first session, they can change it along the way.
Throughout the rest of cognitive behavioral therapy, patients talk about their feelings and thoughts. They don’t have to worry about judgment. Their counselor’s goal is to learn as much as possible about the patient’s problems and offer solutions and encourage change. Therapists also provide support to comfort patients and build their confidence.
In general, therapists focus on specific issues during CBT and use a goal-oriented approach. They might give patients homework to do between each session. The homework involves practicing skills, reading or doing activities that build on what happens during the sessions. It also helps patients apply what they learn to their daily lives.
How to Get the Most Out of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Although cognitive behavioral therapy is the most popular addiction therapy treatment method for substance abuse or addiction, it doesn’t work for everyone. However, patients can do a few things to get the most out of the sessions and increase their chances for success.
First, they should think of CBT as a partnership with their counselors. They need to actively participate in the treatment and help decide how to address major problems. It’s also important that they’re open and honest about their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. These elements form much of the basis for the treatment plan.
Patients can’t expect instant results though. Cognitive behavioral therapy is popular for generating results quickly, but they don’t emerge after just one or two sessions. If the therapy isn’t working after several sessions, patients should discuss changing the plan or trying a different approach.
Get Therapy During Detox at Serenity House Detox Houston
If you’re ready to begin the journey toward addiction recovery, Serenity House Detox Houston can help. Our drug detox center uses several evidence-based and therapeutic treatment methods, including:
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