How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help with Recovery
If you’ve done any research into addiction treatment programs or rehabilitation, you may have come across facilities offering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. Aside from the million dollar words, the concept is fairly simple to grasp and the benefits of utilizing this kind of therapy during addiction recovery are profound.
Cognitive Behavior is a fancy way of saying “thinking behavior” or the way you think on a regular basis. It’s what your mind gets up to with all those thoughts, memories, fantasies, and plans. Some people can get tripped up on a single thought or a cluster of thoughts that are negative and serve only to cause damage and chaos in the person’s life. Thoughts become actions and actions become habits over time, so the thoughts in your head have a lot of power over your life.
People with acute depression or anxiety that isn’t chemical in nature often suffer from an unhealthy cognitive behavioral pattern that gets them stuck inside a bad waking dream. A persistent voice or series of thoughts that judge and criticize you can become a serious psychological problem if left unchecked and unexplored. Sometimes a troublesome thought pattern that repeats itself every day can lead to destructive behavior and addiction to unhealthy substances or activities.
CBT is a form of counseling that seeks to explore a patient’s thought patterns and instinctive reactions to the world. An alcohol addiction can sometimes be based in thoughts of insecurity and social anxiety, which drive the addict to reach for alcohol to avoid the debilitating feelings associated with that level of psychological self-harm.
This form of recovery therapy is only effective if the patient is willing to participate and ready to share his/her private thoughts and feelings with a trusted professional. The therapist will ask questions and expand a dialogue about how you feel about yourself and others, what drives you to participate in the addictive behavior, how you feel afterward, etc. The answers you give and the conversation that ensues will often be quite revelatory to a patient undergoing treatment, illuminating patterns of thought previously considered out of his/her control and something that just needed to be endured.
In most cases, however, unhealthy thought patterns can be un-learned and you can train yourself to entertain healthier, more positive thoughts that get you geared up for a healthy, sober lifestyle.