Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used forms of psychotherapy for addiction treatment, as well as many mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. The focus of CBT is to help a person recognize the maladaptive thought processes, behavior patterns, and emotions that have led to unhealthy or damaging behavior that has taken over their lives. It also provides tools to help counter these patterns and replace them with healthier alternatives. At Pax House, we use CBT as the basis of our individual counseling, as well as in some of our process groups.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

The name Cognitive Behavioral Therapy describes the type of therapy that addresses the relationship between cognitive processes and behavioral patterns. It is based upon principles and research into cognitive and behavioral problems, and how they interrelate. This type of therapy acknowledges that people do not have control over all their behaviors, and that sometimes more than just rational thought processing is needed for recovery. It teaches that irrational thought and the behavior associated with it can be changed. CBT is usually undertaken specifically for a specific problem. It is also action-focused. Clients work on specific practices and strategies to overcome their problems and take an active role in their own treatment. This differs from traditional talk therapy that merely discusses certain situations, feelings and emotions. It is the recommend therapy treatment for specific conditions including substance abuse.

What Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Looks Like

CBT therapy typically is made up of a certain number of sessions, rather than being an ongoing process. During the sessions, the client talks about the problem with the therapist. Cognitive processes and behavior are measured, and changes are monitored throughout. It typically begins with an initial assessment that recognizes the dysfunctional thought process, feelings and behavior patterns that need to be addressed. There are homework/assignments to complete between weekly sessions. These homework assignments can be simple actions that a client finds difficult. For example, a homework session could be as simple as making a new friend, saying an affirmation in the morning, or otherwise performing an activity that will help to overturn some of the problematic cognitive or behavioral patterns affecting the client. The therapist and client work hand in hand, discussing the assignments and determining what will work best to improve the situation. With CBT, the client and counselor focus on and recognize the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, especially those that originally led to the substance abuse or addiction. This provides the opportunity to modify the components contributing to established destructive behavior patterns. CBT provides the skills for a person to overcome addiction, but requires active participation from the client for full advantage of the treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Pax House

At Pax House, our treatment focuses on both individual and group psychotherapy. Individual counseling sessions typically focus on the CBT approach, but they may also include other therapy methods depending on the situation and the needs of the particular client. At Pax House, we have found the CBT is effective in some of our process groups as well. Our staff of experienced, certified and licensed psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, and drug and alcohol counselors ensure that clients receive the support and guidance they need in individual and group therapy sessions. By providing our clients with the information they need to correctly understand their addiction, we empower them to become active in overcoming it.

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