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What is the Role of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in A Rehab Setting?

So, you have decided to look into drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Doing research is a great way to make sure that you end up in a program that meets your individual needs. As you research, you may get overwhelmed by the number of different programs and options available. Some places offer group therapy, some dialectical behavioral therapy, and others cognitive behavioral therapy. But, what does that mean?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Treatment approaches and individual programs continue to evolve and diversify, and many programs today do not fit neatly into traditional drug addiction treatment classifications.”  In a lot of ways, that is awesome. But, it doesn’t help make programs easier to understand. You practically need a degree in addiction counseling to figure out how to treat your addiction.

If you have made the decision to get treatment and you are having a hard time figuring out what programs offer and which offerings are best for you and your addiction, get some outside help. has the expertise you need and we can direct you to treatment centers that will give you what you need. Give us a call at 800-481-6320.

CBT Basics

Originally developed for treating depression. cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. Nowadays, it is a commonplace form of therapy in addiction rehabilitation treatment.

People who are suffering from an addiction find themselves caught in destructive thought patterns. The goal of CBT is to develop the control needed to look into persistent thoughts so that the unhealthy ones can be let go of. When the thought patterns are broken, it is easier to pursue recovery.

The idea that people are affected by how they think about the world forms the foundation of CBT. Basically, the way an individual thinks about things and the way that they interpret things leads them to have emotional responses. In response, CBT tries to settle current problems and to change troublesome thinking and behavior.

CBT acknowledges there are human behaviors that cannot be regulated by rational thought. Nope. Many thoughts are the result of previous conditioning. Because of this, CBT focuses on specific problems, and it helps you to choose a specific strategy that you will use when dealing with a specific problem.

Cognitive Therapy v. Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps recovering addicts control and change their negative thoughts.

Behavioral therapists believe that disorders are a response to a stimulus. A stimulus is a thing or event that arouses a specific reaction. Often, reactions are believed to be a conditioned fear—you get scared and that cause you to respond by avoiding the thing that scared you.  So, maybe you drink to avoid the tension in your family. Or, you get high because you don’t want to deal with your feelings because they scare you.

Cognitive therapists, on the other hand, believe thoughts can affect behavior all on their own. So, in this case, you might think that you are a bad person and that thought might make you drink.

The two types of therapy are combined in CBT.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy have the following in common:

  • The therapist and client work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has theoretical and technical expertise, but the client is the expert on him- or herself.
  • The therapist seeks to help the client discover that he/she is powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors.
  • Treatment is often short-term. Clients actively participate in treatment in and out of session. Homework assignments often are included in therapy. The skills that are taught in these therapies require practice.
  • Treatment is goal-oriented to resolve present-day problems. Therapy involves working step-by-step to achieve goals.
  • The therapist and client develop goals for therapy together, and track progress toward goals throughout the course of treatment.


CBT is very narrowly focused on specific behaviors and specific solutions. That means that the process of developing different behaviors can happen very quickly. That is great in a rehab center, where your time is limited.

On the other hand, if your problems are really varied and complex, treating very specific parts of them won’t provide a very satisfying result. You will want a more holistic approach.

When you are looking for a rehabilitation program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy, make sure that the treatment center has an active therapist qualified in CBT. For best results, therapists should have a masters or doctoral degree in psychology, counseling, social work, psychiatry, or related field from a regionally accredited university.

Interested in finding a rehab facility that uses CBT? Contact at 800-481-6320.

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