Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of addiction therapy that studies have shown is highly effective at helping to manage addiction by teaching people to understanding how thoughts influence emotions and behavior, and by working to change the underlying thoughts which contribute to the maintenance of addiction.

CBT is a short-term and goal-oriented treatment that takes a practical approach to problem-solving. The main goal is to change a person’s patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind their difficulties, therefore changing the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse, and even mental health problems.

A major advantage of CBT is that it tends to be a relatively short treatment, ranging from 5 to 10 months for most emotional issues. People attend one 50-minute session each week, where they work with their therapists to understand what their problems are and find ways to tackle them. CBT introduces people to a set of principles that can be applied whenever need be, and that will help them for the rest of their lives.

CBT can be thought of as a combination between psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy focuses on the importance of the personal meaning that we place on things and on how thinking patterns begin during childhood. Behavioral therapy focuses to the relationship between our problems, our behavior, and our thoughts. Most professionals who practice CBT often tailor the therapy to the specific needs and personality of each patient.

While CBT is usually a one-on-one therapy, it’s also well suited for groups, especially at the beginning of therapy. Many people benefit greatly from sharing their difficulties with others who may have similar problems, even though it may seem daunting at first. Groups can also be a source of very valuable support and advice, because it comes from people who may have personally experienced similar problems. An added advantage is that by seeing several people at once, service providers can offer help to more people at the same time.