Everyone has negative thoughts from time to time. Someone might think that since they spilled their coffee, the rest of their day will be bad. Another person might think that he or she is a bad parent because his or her child had temper tantrums all day. While negative thoughts are common in many people’s everyday lives, they typically ebb and flow and do not impact their overall wellbeing in ways that change how they behave and function. However, not everyone operates this way.
While everyone’s addiction develops for different reasons, many of those who are addicts or alcoholics find that their addictive tendencies developed in response to something negative that occurred within their lives. This can include abuse, neglect, and trauma, all of which can completely alter the way in which one thinks, making it challenging to uphold healthy, positive thinking patterns. It is often negative thinking that leads to further substance abuse and keeps individuals from obtaining the help they need.
The same goes for those with a mental health condition, however negative thinking patterns often occur as a direct reflection of the condition that he or she is experiencing. For example, someone who is grappling with a major depressive disorder can struggle significantly with finding the will and the effort to work through negative thinking patterns and adopt positive ones. In many cases, depression can be so overpowering that those who have it stay in a repetitive cycle of negative thinking patterns, which only fuels their mental health condition even more.
When negative thinking is present, it can stand in the way of an individual living a happy, successful life. However, while these types of thinking patterns are common in those who have substance use disorders and/or mental health conditions, there is treatment available that can help break these cycles so that healing can begin. One of the most effective treatments for this problem is cognitive behavioral therapy.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that challenges one’s negative thinking patterns so that they can begin to change them to benefit their well-being. CBT is one of the most widely used therapeutic treatment modalities throughout the United States, as it is incorporated into countless therapy sessions across the country.
There are core principles of CBT that are implemented so that the therapist and the client can work together to accomplish several goals. Cognitive behavioral therapy:
- Is based on an ever-evolving formulation of patients’ problems and an individual conceptualization of each patient in cognitive terms
- Requires a sound therapeutic alliance
- Emphasizes collaboration and active participation
- Is goal oriented and problem focused
- Initially emphasizes the present
- Is educative, aims to teach the patient to be his or her own therapist, and emphasizes relapse prevention
- Aims to be time limited
- Sessions are structured
- Teaches patients to identify, evaluate, and respond to their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs
- Uses a variety of techniques to change thinking, mood, and behavior
When in a treatment setting, an individual can expect these principles to serve as the foundation of their cognitive behavioral therapy.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work in Rehab?
CBT is one of the top therapies utilized in rehabs, as negative thinking patterns are extremely common in those who are addicted to dangerous substances. When someone is in rehab, he or she is going to participate in several different therapies, however, CBT is especially effective. CBT is a top choice for those in rehab because it is highly focused and does not need to last for a long period of time. This is a huge benefit, as CBT packs a big punch in a small timeframe. Therefore, individuals who are in rehab for even a few weeks can benefit from the skills developed through CBT.
In the majority of rehab centers, the staff will implement comprehensive treatment plans for each client. CBT will be included as a part of that treatment plan and will be provided during individual therapy sessions (and sometimes in group therapy sessions, too). Both the therapist and the client will work together to begin identifying and unraveling the client’s negative thinking patterns and how they impact his or her everyday life. Utilizing the 10 principles of CBT, the therapist will guide the client through the process of challenging those negative thinking patterns so that he or she can develop new, healthy thinking patterns instead. CBT will only last for as long as the client needs, and the therapist will determine the duration of sessions. For many, CBT is a part of their treatment program for the entire length of time that they are in rehab.
CBT does not only occur during individual therapy sessions. As previously mentioned CBT can be offered during group therapy sessions. For example, the therapist leading the group therapy session can encourage all clients to share a common negative thought that they have about themselves. As everyone shares that thought, the therapist can guide them to begin altering that thought. In many cases, group members often share the same negative thoughts, which can benefit everyone even more, as they not only focus on the thought that they brought to the table but also the thoughts that they share with others.
CBT is often viewed as a critical piece of the puzzle for someone who is looking to recover from a substance use disorder. This is because the disease of addiction can dramatically change one’s behaviors and cause him or her to develop a negative way of life as a result. CBT can help stop that dangerous cycle so that the client’s foundation in recovery is strong.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, do not waste another second. Stop what you are doing and reach out for help right now. You do not have to continue to go down this path, as it is never too late to begin again.