Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a well-known form of talk therapy that is used in addiction recovery and other therapeutic settings. CBT focuses on reframing your thought patterns and learning healthy coping mechanisms. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes CBT in relation to addiction treatment as, “psychotherapy, also known as ‘talk therapy,’ is when a person speaks with a trained therapist in a safe and confidential environment to explore and understand feelings and behaviors and gain coping skills.”

CBT is often a cornerstone of any treatment program. It is designed to establish positive, practical thought patterns. This allows you to conscientiously manage your emotions and reactions with healthy coping skills instead of turning to substances. The skills you learn in CBT can be applied to many diverse settings such as individual counseling sessions, group therapy, family counseling, and relapse prevention classes. The behavioral skills that you learn in treatment will be useful for the rest of your life.

Addiction alters your brain functions and makes your thoughts and behaviors irrational. It’s common for people suffering from addiction to feel depressed, anxious, angry, and lonely. These emotions and your altered mental state can make you feel hopeless and like recovery is impossible.

We understand that addiction can cause destructive behavior and other problems but you are not your addiction. At Recovery in Motion, we use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address destructive thought patterns and replace them with positive self-affirmations that help you move forward in recovery with confidence and hope.

“Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role,” says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you will learn about the underlying issues that lead to your behavior. This helps you reshape your thoughts, reactions, and emotional responses to any triggers.

When you are in your addiction, the effects that substances have on your brain can be unnoticeable to you. In treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy brings attention to your destructive thoughts. This shift in perspective helps you understand the role that addiction plays in your thought processes.

Thoughts such as, “I’m insignificant so it doesn’t matter if I do drugs or drink too much alcohol.” “I’ve been addicted for a long time; it’s too late for me to turn my life around.” “I’ve tried getting sober before, I can’t do it.” These thoughts are hard to counter without the tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that help you gain an objective view of your thoughts.

During behavioral therapy sessions, your therapist will guide your healing by teaching you how to identify your intrusive thoughts and then remove them or replace them with positive thought patterns. Examples of positive thoughts are, “I deserve to lead a happy and healthy life without drugs and alcohol.” “It is within my capacity to change my life.” “Relapse is often a part of recovery. It doesn’t make me a weak or hopeless person.” “My life is important and I can make a difference.”

To reinforce these thought patterns, your therapist will use written or spoken exercises. These will teach you that triggers and cravings do not cause a relapse but your responses do. You will also learn to anticipate the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, explore sober hobbies and make sober friends, and find healthy, effective ways to minimize stress, cravings, and triggers.

You will learn and practice important communication skills, including respectful ways to advocate for what you need in recovery. Developing clear communication skills is important for everyday life. Solidly declining the offer of drugs or alcohol at a party is just as important as being able to express your emotions or ask for help in recovery.

Reframing your thoughts and developing healthy behaviors takes time and patience. Remember to seek progress, not perfection, and be kind to yourself. Once you realize that you’re in control, your confidence will increase and you will further believe that you can overcome addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has established thirteen principles of effective treatment based on scientific research. One of these principles states that addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treats the behavioral effects and other aspects of addiction. CBT is a key treatment for many people living a life free of drugs and alcohol.

In addition to CBT, we offer a variety of therapies for your treatment. Individual therapy, group therapy, trauma therapy, anger management, family participation, 12-step programs, and life skills training are some of the methods our therapists consider when developing specially tailored programs for each person.

Combining multiple therapeutic strategies gives you a well-rounded approach to healing drug and alcohol addiction and other psychological concerns that could be contributing to your addiction. Our goal is to help you find your sense of self and to set goals to establish the life you’ve always wanted.