A very useful form of treatment to address mental health issues and substance use disorders (addictions to drugs or alcohol) is cognitive-behavioral therapy (BCT). Here at Ashwood Recovery, we offer CBT as part of the therapeutic options within our various treatment programs.
What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT involves discovering, examining, and improving thought processes that directly affect or lead to negative behaviors. Therapists work alongside clients to detect automatic, unhealthy thought patterns. By identifying these thoughts, therapy clients become better equipped to disrupt them and replace them with healthier thoughts.
CBT is highly practical. Rather than focusing on thoughts, memories, and feelings, it aims to help clients cope with the here and now challenges. A CBT client could conceivably spend years in therapy without discussing a painful memory and might still get better. Because of this strong focus on practical skills, most CBT therapists give their clients lots of homework.
Does CBT Work?
The effectiveness of CBT is partially dependent on the client. Your willingness to do your homework, explore your thoughts and understand your behaviors is a significant predictor of your long-term success.
Studies have repeatedly shown that CBT can be highly effective, often working much more quickly than other therapies. However, it is unlikely to work with people currently in crisis. No matter how hard you work to change your thoughts and feelings about domestic violence, CBT won’t change the pain of being in an abusive relationship. Likewise, CBT may not be effective for abuse survivors since survivors may feel that CBT pathologizes their feelings, thereby stunting the healing process.
In recent months, CBT has come under fire to focus on the here and now. Some research suggests that CBT might be less effective in the long term. Consequently, if you want the best results, it may be best to pursue CBT first to get immediate results and then pursue a long-term, insight-oriented approach such as psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Is CBT Right for Me?
CBT can be an excellent option for people whose negative thought patterns interfere with their daily happiness. It has proven especially effective for people who struggle with depression and anxiety but can also help you cope with the near-constant cravings, self-loathing, and doubt that co-occur with addiction. If you struggle to achieve your goals, manage your time, or make healthy decisions, you may benefit from CBT.
The list of groups for whom CBT won’t work is significantly shorter than the list of situations that can be effective. In general, CBT is a bad idea if:
- You have PTSD and are actively trying to recover from trauma.
- You are currently experiencing a traumatic or abusive situation.
- You are unable to commit to regular therapy homework.
- You struggle to be honest with your therapist.
- You are struggling with family of origin issues or other challenges related to your past.
- You are interested in understanding your past or delving into why you are the way you are.
No therapy is right for everyone. Because CBT is particularly active, you must be prepared to work hard and do the homework. If you are struggling with motivation or unable to face difficult topics, it may not be the best fit. If you want to find relief from depression, anxiety, or other common complaints that can contribute to addiction-related behaviors, CBT might be the perfect fit.
Don’t let others choose therapy for you. If a therapist suggests CBT, but it doesn’t feel like a good fit for your goals or personality, don’t give up on therapy until you have explored all options. Therapy should help you grow stronger and more capable of building happiness in your life.
Reach Out to Ashwood Recovery Today
We offer an affordable therapy program that provides CBT-based therapy to individuals, couples, and families. Our intensive outpatient program ensures that you’re able to attend school or work while receiving treatment through our convenient evening hours.
Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They’ll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and ensure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free. Call us today at 208.274.8609.