Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type psychotherapy used to treat mental health and substance abuse disorders. The person receiving treatment works with a therapist in a structured environment that for a limited or predetermined number of sessions. CBT was primarily developed as a treatment method for depression. As research progressed and this therapy method was further understood, it was shown that CBT had the ability to change the behavior of people suffering with substance abuse disorder. This research has led to CBT becoming a valuable addition to our treatment plans at Pride Recovery Center. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the person become aware of negative thinking patterns so they can respond to challenging situations more effectively in the future. Common uses for CBT in addiction treatment include the prevention of relapse, to help the client manage their emotions in times of stress or anxiety, resolve conflicts, cope with grief or loss causing addiction triggers, or overcome emotional trauma – a common underlying cause of addiction.



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

Drug or alcohol abuse can affect the thought process of the user’s mind. Substance abuse can allow negative thoughts and unstable emotional patterns to emerge within the user. Once the person seeks treatment for their addiction, these persistent thoughts and emotions can pose new challenges within their recovery process. CBT is used to treat this negative way of thinking and the resulting behavior. Without a trained, licensed, and experienced therapist to provide this therapy, these negative thoughts and resulting behaviors can act as a trigger for relapse. Stopping this repetitive cycle through CBT therapy helps the person make progress within treatment.

The goal of CBT treatment in an addiction recovery setting is to address negative and distorted thoughts that may cause further substance abuse. The underlying cause of these thoughts may be related to mental health issues affecting the client’s world view. These issues may include:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sleep Disorders/Insomnia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual Disorders/Addiction
  • Phobias



Is CBT an Effective Form of Addiction Treatment?

Research shows that CBT is most effective when the primary drug of abuse is one of the following drugs:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids
  • Methamphetamine

Research performed on CBT to combat addiction with these drug types indicates the best treatment outcomes were associated with marijuana, followed by cocaine and opioids. Individuals who are suffering from poly-substance abuse issues are least likely to benefit the most from Cognitive Behavioral Treatment alone. For these cases, multiple forms of treatment are used in conjunction with CBT to help ensure the best possible outcome in recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to produce long-lasting results when performed on candidates that abused the above drugs. Studies have reported that 60% of patients that received Cognitive Behavioral Treatment provided clean toxicology screening results in 1 year follow up review.



Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Every client at Pride Recovery Center has a unique outlook on life based on previous life experiences. We specialize in Identifying and treating past traumas to help reduce triggers and prevent relapse. CBT and other therapies are used to help us reach this goal for each client.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can:

  • Assist with the healing of trauma
  • Assist with the management of emotions
  • Assist the person’s ability to resolve relationship problems
  • Assist the person in developing communication skills
  • Help the person cope with loss or grief
  • Alleviate or reduce symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse disorder



Steps in CBT

The goal is to replace negative thought patterns with positive thought patterns. Negative thought patterns can undermine the client’s success in an addiction treatment program. Negative thought patterns can allow emotional triggers which lead to relapse and poor judgement. The steps outlined below outline the overall process the client will partake in while receiving treatment at Pride Recovery Center.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy includes the following steps:

  • Identify Issues and Conditions to Treat – Our therapist will complete an initial assessment to decide which issues and goals to focus on during therapy sessions.
  • Gain Awareness of Identified Issues – Our therapist will encourage the client to share their thoughts and feelings on the issues identified in the assessment. This may include discussing the client’s feelings about the issues, observation of the client during times of self-talk, their interpretation of the meaning of the issue, their self-esteem, and internal beliefs about themselves and the issues affecting them. Journaling is a common practice before and after CBT sessions.
  • Gain Awareness of Negative or Distorted Thoughts – Certain patterns of thinking may affect the client. Our therapist may ask the client to pay closer attention to physical, emotional, and behavioral responses in different situations. These steps help the client and therapist understand how negative or distorted thoughts affect their world view.
  • Correct Negative or Distorted Thoughts – Our therapist will encourage the client evaluate a situation and determine if the associated negative thoughts are based in fact, or on an inaccurate perception of the situation. Over time, helpful thought patterns will unconsciously replace negative thought patterns causing the desired result.



Length of Treatment

The length and frequency of CBT treatments vary according to medical necessity, the person’s individual needs, and their treatment goals. A therapist will perform an initial assessment before treatment begins. This assessment will determine the length, frequency, and intensity of the CBT sessions to be performed. As sessions pass, the therapist will consistently reevaluate the client’s progress and perform sessions as needed. Many factors can influence the client’s treatment plan. These factors include:

  • The intensity of the symptoms experienced by the client
  • The amount of time the person has gone untreated for their condition
  • The amount of daily challenges and stressors the client manages each day

Everyone’s situation and life experiences are different. The client can expect the length of CBT to continue until the therapist is satisfied and they have met the goal set for the client.



How is CBT Different from Other Forms of Psychotherapy?

CBT is unique in the following ways:

  • CBT primarily focuses on the client’s current circumstances and situations.
  • CBT is problem-focused
  • CBT is a time-limited therapy consisting of limited sessions



Combining CBT with Other Therapies

CBT can be effective when used alone or as part of a comprehensive individual treatment plan that incorporates other therapies. In our program, CBT is supported by other addiction therapies that are determined based upon the client’s specific needs and their recovery goals. CBT research suggests that, in many cases, it is more effective when used with other therapies like contingency management and motivational interviewing. We believe that a combined approach helps the client remove harmful behaviors, dangerous emotional influences, and negative thought patterns that can trigger addictive behavior leading to relapse. By incorporating multiple therapeutic methods, we help our clients develop coping and relapse prevention skills to help them confront difficult situation they will experience after completing the program.



Learn More

To learn more about how Pride Recovery Center utilizes CBT within our addiction treatment programs, please reach out to our Admission department. Our Addiction Specialists are fully trained to answer any question you have about our usage of CBT and other treatment therapies.

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