What Is CBT therapy?
If you’ve ever sought addiction treatment, you’ve probably heard of CBT. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s a unique form of behavioral therapy that aims to change an addict’s thought patterns. In return, this will ideally change the beliefs that a person holds, his or her attitude, and, ultimately, his or her behavior. The person in therapy will learn how to face difficulties and deal with them in a more effective manner. He or she will be more likely to achieve their goals using CBT intervention. It’s one of the many therapeutic approaches offered by many rehab centers. It’s also usually covered by health care.
It’s interesting to note that CBT is not designed for lifelong participation. Instead, the main goal of this type of therapy is to help clients meet their goals in the near future. This is why CBT is so perfect for addiction recovery. Its goal is to help clients develop newer habits and behaviors that can help them get sober.
The History Behind CBT Treatment
CBT was founded by a psychiatrist named Aaron Beck. He practiced psychoanalysis. Through his medical practice and research, Beck noticed that there was a strong link between a person’s thinking patterns and feelings. The things that a person thinks can affect their feelings and behaviors.
With this realization, Beck started to alter the form of therapy he practiced with his clients. This led to the birth of CBT. Cognitive behavior therapy helps patients identify, understand and deal with emotion-filled thoughts. By combining both cognitive therapy and behavioral techniques, patients become more self-aware. They are also able to better control their own behaviors and reactions to different external stimuli and situations.
Nowadays, CBT treatment involves a combination of many other tactics and theories. For example, it incorporates Albert Ellis’ ABC multimodal therapy and rational-emotive behavioral therapy. It also incorporates some of Carl Rogers’ client-centered approach. With that said, CBT practices are based on Beck’s original work. All of these therapeutic approaches attempt to control and regulate emotional behavior.
How Does CBT Work?
CBT is a more hands-on type of behavioral therapy. Both the mental health professionals and the client needs to be invested in the process. This is why it is so important to find a therapist that specializes in this type of mental health treatment.
During each session, the therapist works with the clients to figure out what obstacles are standing in the way to their success. The medical professional and the client then work together as a team to come up with new strategies to deal with the situation. In particular, the therapist and the client will discuss positive solutions. They’ll have to consider how they can go about the problem in a positive manner. It basically retrains one’s cognitive processing skills and abilities.
Understanding Cognitive Distortions and How to Deal with Them
Cognitive distortions are also known as a faulty way of thinking. These negative ways of thinking can impact your behavior. They can cause you to act poorly or irrationally. CBT works by teaching clients how to recognize cognitive distortions. They teach clients how to get around these issues in order to achieve a healthier mindset.
CBT explores 15 main cognitive distortions. These distortions reinforce negative emotions, thought patterns and behaviors. Let’s explore just 5 of these cognitive distortions. They include:
- Filtering. This happens when a person focuses solely on the negative things that happened in their day. They forget about all of the good things.
- Polarized thinking, also known as “black and white” thinking. The truth is that most things in life are not black and white. They’re grey. Those who have this all-or-nothing thinking may miss out on some of the more positive moments in life.
- Overgeneralization. This happens when a person takes a single incident as evidence for a broad conclusion. For example, they may have had a bad day at work. Instead of seeing it as ‘just a bad day’, they may believe that they’re bad at their work.
- Control fallacies. People who suffer from this cognitive distortion believe that everything happens as a result of external forces. They don’t believe that some things just happen by chance. This can put a lot of pressure on a person.
- Heaven’s Reward Fallacy. Some people believe that if they do good, good things can happen to them. While this theory in and out of itself is not harmful, Heaven’s Reward fallacy is. Those who get stuck in this mentality may feel bitter if they do good but do not receive a reward.
Learning about the different types of cognitive distortions can help a client improve their mental health.
Differentiating Between Facts and Opinions
One of the main worksheets that clients go through is separating facts and opinions. It can be difficult for some people to differentiate what’s a fact and what’s an opinion. They easily believe that all of their opinions are facts when it’s not true. This exercise can help clients realize that dysfunctional thoughts or emotions are not always true.
As a result;t, this type of therapy is effective in treating all types of anxiety. It can treat a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety and more.
Essential CBT Techniques and Tools
CBT relies on the incorporation of several techniques. CBT therapists can practice these techniques with each client until they’ve mastered it. Some of these techniques include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation. Clients learn how to relax and de-stress by relaxing one muscle group at a time. By facing a difficult situation calmly, one would make more logical decisions.
- Nightmare exposure and rescripting. Many people have difficulties processing their nightmares. They let the fear overcome them. Some of the nightmares prevent them from progressing further in life. Nightmare exposure looks at the nightmares in detail. Clients then learn how to associate the nightmares with different emotions.
- Journaling. Being aware of one’s own thoughts and feelings is crucial in CBT. Journaling can help clients analyze their beliefs to discover where the faults lie.
- Interoceptive exposure. Some clients are afraid of certain stimuli. To get past their fear, they are exposed to the stimuli while in a safe environment. This teaches them that there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s also a coping strategy.
- Relaxed breathing. Much like with progressive muscle relaxation, relaxed breathing can help clients learn how to calm down during stressful situations.
These techniques can help those struggling with a mental health disorder, as well as a substance use disorder. It’s important to note that co-occurring disorders are fairly common among drug abusers. Many drug addicts struggle with mental illnesses, like an anxiety disorder, depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It can also help treat an eating disorder, personality disorder and bipolar disorders. By practicing the techniques in CBT, clients can improve their mental health condition. They can learn how to treat mental disorders using positive psychology.
Effective CBT helps patients become better people. This type of therapy involves a cognitive restructuring of the brain. It makes it easier to treat mental illnesses and an addiction to any type of drug or alcohol. It’s an excellent mental health disorder treatment.