How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Work?

Addiction Treatment Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the most popular and best-studied form of psychotherapy in the world. It provides many techniques that help patients manage their thoughts and feelings.

Practicing CBT can significantly help with recovery from substance abuse or addiction and offers many benefits to those who participate in its therapies.

How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Work?

Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, a patient and their therapist work together to establish good coping skills for identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and negative thought patterns.

One of the most fundamental principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy is that patients are active participants in their healing and recovery journey.

negative thoughts

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of evidence-based talk therapy and has become the gold standard of psychotherapy.

CBT is based on the straightforward relationship patterns among your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. The goal is to develop an uncomplicated idea of your thoughts, attitudes, and expectations.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has several core principles described by the American Psychological Association (APA), including:

  • Psychological problems are established, in part, on unhelpful or defective ways of thinking.
  • Psychological problems are established, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful actions.
  • People suffering from psychological issues can adapt better ways of dealing with them and alleviate their symptoms to become more successful and productive.

The principles and techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy were first developed in the 1960s by a psychotherapist named Aaron Beck.

Beck created CBT to identify and change false, unrealistic, and damaging beliefs because most of the time, the seriousness you give to an issue is more harmful than the problem itself.

CBT aims to change negative thought patterns with more realistic beliefs and control harmful thoughts to think clearly and shift your interactions and experiences.

For example, taking a moment to remember that a friend might be busy in their own life, rather than being upset after a negative or awkward interaction, is one way CBT techniques can help reframe a situation.

The skills learned through a CBT-based treatment program can be used in many ways throughout a person’s life. It is known to improve life quality for people suffering from a wide range of issues, including:

  • Substance use disorders or addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Aggression and anger
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain and fatigue
  • Stressful life situations, like a break-up, divorce, mourning the loss of a loved one, or the distress of a medical condition
cbt coping skills

Trauma-Focused CBT

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment shown to help people overcome struggles directly related to traumatic experiences.

Research has proven that trauma-focused CBT effectively treats emotional and behavioral problems associated with single and several complicated trauma experiences, including being neglected and mistreated as a child.

However, trauma can show up and look like many different things, such as abuse and neglect to physical or psychiatric medical issues, drug use, and even relationship distress.

The treatment identifies the distorted beliefs associated with the trauma. Then offers a compassionate and supportive environment to talk about the trauma and learn techniques to cope with the experiences and the external stress that comes with it.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Techniques

The role of a therapist during CBT is to co-create various techniques or different psychiatric approaches with a patient.

CBT offers practical advice and uses specific skill-building techniques during its treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are five specific CBT techniques, including:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Behavioral activation and pleasant event scheduling
  3. Thought shopping
  4. Positive self-statements
  5. Focus on control

This comprehensive therapy also involves efforts to change behavioral patterns with strategies including:

  • Facing your fears and not avoiding them
  • Using role-playing to prepare and cope with potential problematic interactions
  • Learning to calm your mind and relax your body
cbt techniques

What Principle Underlies Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

The main principle that underlies CBT is always the same: What we think, how we feel, and how we act are all interconnected and impact our well-being.

This form of treatment and its guiding principles emphasize what is currently going on in your life, not what led up to the difficulties. Although someone’s history is important, the primary focus is moving ahead and developing new, practical coping skills.

The skills you learn in CBT help you become your own therapists— the session’s “homework” is used to help you utilize the skills you learn and change your thinking.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Los Angeles

Addiction treatment that uses cognitive-behavioral therapy can be quite effective for those seeking relief from addiction and co-occurring psychological conditions.

Northridge Addiction Treatment Center is a private sanctuary for healing in Los Angeles, treating all aspects of addiction and using only evidence-based treatments.

NATC’s residential treatment program offers therapies such as CBT and dialectical behavior therapy to help find the roots of addiction and acknowledge other disorders’ relationship to it.

This approach allows for a foundation to control your mental health without substance use or manage your addiction so it doesn’t cause psychological problems.

Don’t let addiction serve as reinforcement to avoid seeking help. Reach out today. Our treatment specialists are eager to help you get on the path to recovery.

Find Meaningful Recovery

Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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