Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

cognitive behavioral therapy

What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. CBT for addiction combines the principles of behaviorism and cognition. Behaviorism is how people’s behaviors are controlled and modified. Cognition is how people think, feel, and understand themselves. 

Together, behaviorism and cognition create a form of therapy that helps people identify their negative behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Once identified, these negative behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are then switched out for positive ones.

 CBT uses a reward and punishment system filled with positive and negative reinforcements to alter people’s negative behaviors, thoughts, and feelings into positive behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. 

What Are the Different Types of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy comes in many different forms. This is because there are a variety of therapy tactics that utilize the analysis of a person’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that emphasizes the need for people to validate and accept the negative and uncomfortable thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that they have. The theory behind this form of therapy is that if you can confront and accept your negative thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, they will no longer seem so powerful. Thus, it will be easier for you to change in addiction recovery

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) uses mindfulness exercises to focus on just accepting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The theory behind acceptance and commitment therapy is that when people try too hard to control their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, they end up becoming more anxious. As a result, they exhibit weird and destructive behaviors. Therefore, by practicing mindfulness and acceptance, you will be able to work through your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a more productive manner. 

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)

Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) uses mindful awareness to analyze how people’s behaviors do and do not help them operate efficiently in life. During functional analytic psychotherapy, both you and your therapist will take time out of your therapy sessions to analyze your behaviors with mindful awareness. When analyzing your behaviors, your therapist will also make sure that you both do so with compassion and encouragement. 

Analyzing your behaviors with mindful awareness, compassion, and encouragement will help you open up your emotions in therapy. All this mindful awareness, compassion, and encouragement will also help you develop positive behaviors in and out of therapy. 

Compassion Informed Psychotherapy

In this form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, the emotional and social ability to exhibit compassion is utilized in and out of therapy sessions. By utilizing compassion in and out of therapy sessions, you can help treat mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) uses mindfulness to help people change their reactions to their own negative thoughts. To change your reaction to your thoughts, MBCT practices distancing yourselves from your thoughts. 

Distancing yourself from your thoughts provides you with more awareness of how you judge and emotionally react to your thoughts. Oftentimes, people naturally judge and react to their thoughts in a negative way. With the practice of mindfulness and compassion though, you can train yourself to refocus your thoughts into being more positive. 

Integrative Couples Behavior Therapy 

Integrative couples behavior therapy (ICBT) is couples or marital therapy that practices accepting your partner’s sensitivities and traits. To help you accept your partner’s sensitivities and traits, ICBT will make you practice empathetic listening. ICBT also aims to help you change your expectations and assumptions about your partner. 

Through experimenting with different problem-solving techniques over the course of several therapy sessions, ICBT will also provide your relationship with conflict resolution. If nothing else, ICBT will provide you and your partner with better communication skills. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, otherwise known as “talk therapy,” is when you talk with a therapist with the goal of treating mental illness or emotional problems. In psychotherapy, a therapist works with you to eliminate any negative behavioral symptoms that you have so that you can improve your mental health and overall life. 

Psychotherapy comes in a variety of formats and programs (one of which being cognitive behavioral therapy). Medical professionals and therapists also sometimes combine psychotherapy with other types of therapies and medications to help treat people. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors a person has into positive and productive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

Psychotherapy vs. Individual Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy is a form of counseling in which you talk with a mental health professional one-on-one about your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and moods. Like with psychotherapy, the end goal of individual psychotherapy is to improve your overall mental health and life. 

The main difference between individual psychotherapy and psychotherapy is that psychotherapy is the umbrella that individual psychotherapy is under and thus, can be done in a group, one-on-one, or through other formats. On the other hand, individual psychotherapy can only be done one-on-one. 

Another difference between psychotherapy and individual psychotherapy is that psychotherapy can focus on a plethora of issues that connect with a person’s mental and emotional health. Individual psychotherapy, on the other hand, primarily focuses on dealing with a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and moods. 

Individual Psychotherapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Although individual psychotherapy focuses on the same key points as cognitive behavioral therapy, there are some key differences between those two as well. One difference between CBT and individual psychotherapy is that individual psychotherapy is a form of counseling and is thus less direct in its approach. 

For example, in individual psychotherapy, you will work through your negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and moods by just talking about them with your therapist. On the other hand, in cognitive behavioral therapy, you will work through your negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by changing them into positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In one form of psychotherapy, you are simply talking through your issues, while in the other you are actively fixing your issues through change. 

Another difference between individual psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy is that while individual psychotherapy must be on a one-on-one basis, CBT can be one-on-one or not one-on-one. 

Disorders that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Can Improve:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual disorders
  • Mood issues
  • Anger management issues
  • Substance abuse disorders

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in and of itself, is about changing the things that you do not want to do into things that you do. This type of therapy does this by changing your negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into positive ones. CBT is made to treat addiction because people that suffer from addiction often do not want to keep abusing drugs and/or alcohol but can’t help themselves from doing so. 

In fact, many people that suffer from an addiction are also dealing with mental illness and the inner conflict of having negative thoughts and feelings that cause them to exhibit addictive behaviors. As a result, cognitive behavioral therapy is a very effective tool for treating substance use disorders. 

When dealing with substance use disorders, CBT provides positive reinforcements for positive thoughts and feelings and non-addictive behaviors. CBT also then provides negative reinforcements for negative thoughts and feelings and addictive behaviors. CBT’s combination of positive and negative reinforcements with talk therapy helps slowly eliminate the need an addict has to take drugs and alcohol. 

Techniques Used in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

When performing cognitive behavioral therapy, there are many techniques that therapists use on top of positive and negative reinforcements and talking to make people change their negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

Journaling

Journaling is a great way to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. While in cognitive behavioral therapy your therapist may ask you to journal every day the things that you are thinking and feeling and the things that you did so that you can reflect back on these things during therapy. 

Having you perform such an introspective activity will help your therapist get a real idea of what your regular thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns are. By both you and your therapist better pinpointing your negative thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns, you will have a greater chance of figuring out what actions you need to take to change these patterns. 

Cognitive Restructuring and Reframing

Cognitive restructuring and reframing is a technique therapists use to change your negative thought patterns. When restructuring or reframing your thought patterns, your therapist will make you restate your negative thoughts in a positive manner until it becomes second nature. 

Role-Playing

Role-playing is a therapeutic tool used for a variety of things. When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy for substance use disorders, therapists can use role-play to help you see how you come across when you think, feel, and behave in a certain way. You can also role-play during CBT by playing out possible tempting and triggering situations for you to see if you are ready to resist. You can even role-play positive situations so that you know how to function in a healthy environment after rehab is done.

Successive Approximation

Successive approximation is when you break tasks into smaller tasks so that you can get things done at your own pace. Success approximation is great to perform during an individual formatted cognitive behavioral therapy session. That way there is no pressure on you to move on from each broken down task until you are ready. 

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Using relaxation and stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness will help you slow your mind and control your thoughts. By having better control over your thoughts, you will be better able to resist any alcohol or drug cravings that come up.

Receive Treatment and Therapy at Granite Mountain

To receive top-notch treatment and therapy for your drug addiction, go to Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. Here at Granite Mountain, we have a variety of addiction programs ranging from ones that treat gambling addiction to ones that treat alcohol and drug addiction, to ones that incorporate forms of therapy in them. 

To learn about how to receive cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction through one of our addiction treatment programs, contact us today. Once you contact us you can either schedule a tour of our facilities or make an appointment.

Article Reviewed by Gregory Struve

Gregory StruveGreg received a Master’s in Counseling from the Adler Graduate School in 2006. He trained at one of the top trauma and anxiety treatment centers in the world until 2008 when he became a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. From 2011 to 2016 he directed a program that leads the field in terms of innovative treatment of anxiety and trauma. During that time he even made several appearances on A&E’s intervention.