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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program

A mainstay of most psychotherapy practices, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a research-backed mental health and addiction treatment. Used in both individual and group counseling, CBT helps you address distressing emotions and thoughts in healthier ways. This can lead to positive behavior changes.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that explores the link between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT unearths cognitive distortions behind personal challenges. Cognitive distortions can include things like false beliefs or biased information. A therapist helps you identify and change these dysfunctional thought patterns, replacing them with more productive ones.

For instance, say you believe if you don’t get recognized for your work on a presentation, you’ll never get promoted, your coworkers will lose respect for you, and, eventually, you’ll get fired. CBT could help you see that your dire predictions are wildly exaggerated and unlikely to come true. Through talk therapy, processing, and CBT exercises, your therapist will help you identify a more realistic outcome. They’ll also teach you healthy coping techniques and alternative ways of addressing the situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy offers practical solutions to commonly occurring problems. By learning to change the way you think about a problem, you can change the way you respond to it. Usually CBT involves in-session work as well as “homework assignments” that help you put learning into practice.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Although cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat several common mental disorders, it has long been proven effective in treating substance use disorders and as a relapse prevention tool. CBT for substance abuse can help you change the thoughts and feelings that lead to drug and alcohol misuse. It can also help by treating a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when you have a mental health condition or conditions that drive you to seek comfort and relief in drugs and alcohol. Those mental health conditions may include:

  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating addiction because it:

  • Identifies the thought patterns and feelings that trigger drug or alcohol use.
  • Teaches you to recognize the internal process that leads to substance use and change behavioral patterns before you act on them.
  • Challenges dysfunctional thinking patterns like jumping to conclusions, “should-ing,” all-or-nothing thinking, emotional reasoning, and overgeneralizing. These patterns may lead to uncomfortable feelings that you self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
  • Replaces inaccurate and negative thinking with more realistic and productive thoughts using specific techniques.
  • Helps manage mental illness symptoms that may cause you to cope using drugs and alcohol.
  • Increases self-awareness and helps you set recovery goals.

Given its problem-solving approach, CBT generally requires fewer sessions than other types of treatment. It is an effective treatment for targeting troublesome behaviors immediately. You may see results earlier in the process than with other therapies. CBT is remarkably flexible and can be used for individuals or groups. Therapists draw on different CBT approaches to accommodate specific patient needs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

Some CBT techniques that mental health professionals may use include:


Writing out thoughts, feelings, and events without editing yourself can help lessen their hold on you. There is something about putting pen to paper that is cathartic. A CBT therapist may give you specific journaling assignments that help you recognize patterns in your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Recognizing Cognitive Distortions

Your therapist will help you identify dysfunctional thoughts. These are usually automatic thoughts you have that may not accurately reflect what’s going on. There are 15 types of cognitive distortions. For example, black-and-white thinking. This is the tendency to see things as either all good or all bad. You’ll learn to recognize when you’re having a cognitive distortion and learn ways to change it.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is the process that encourages you to examine cognitive distortions. Your therapist will teach you how to pick apart cognitive distortions and view things in a more accurate way, leaving space for other conclusions.

Play the Script

This approach typically involves a worksheet. Playing the script until the end can help alleviate anxiety and cognitive distortions. You’ll identify an outcome you’re worried about. You’ll then identify all potential outcomes. This is a “what if this happens…” exercise. As you identify all potential outcomes, you often uncover a core fear that drives much of your anxiety.

Exposure and Rescripting

These types of CBT exercises address a fear or difficulty directly. This is a gradual process. Your therapist helps you identify feelings, sensations, and beliefs around the topic. You will learn how to regulate emotions and sensations that arise when you discuss the challenge. You’ll come up with alternate endings and outcomes that feel empowering and safe. Your therapist may use these approaches or additional exercises as they assess which ones provide the most benefits.

Benefits of CBT Treatment

The effectiveness of CBT has been studied for decades. Clinicians have found CBT treats several conditions effectively, especially when it’s part of an integrative approach that tackles challenges holistically. The effects of CBT can help manage symptoms of:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Bulimia nervosa

How CBT Works with Other Therapies

Licensed, credentialed mental health professionals are trained in a number of therapeutic approaches. They typically integrate techniques from more than one therapeutic model based on your individual challenges and needs.

Just treating the cognitive part of addiction and mental health disorders is not enough. Substance use disorders and psychiatric disorders affect your whole being, including:

  • How you process thoughts
  • How you physically hold thoughts and stress in your body
  • The way you see the world and those around you
  • Your sleeping and eating patterns
  • The way your body reacts to stress and triggers
  • Your connection with others
  • Spirituality and feeling a connection with something bigger than you

Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful in changing thought processes. This in turn can affect behaviors and feelings. Experiential therapies, which are more interactive, can complement CBT by addressing the physical and spiritual wounds that come with substance abuse. Experiential therapies may include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Vogue

Vogue’s treatment team is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy and uses it as part of our integrative approach to addiction treatment. CBT is used in combination with other evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches.

We apply CBT principles in both individual and group therapy and tailor the approach and exercises to your needs. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques are integrated through all levels of care, including inpatient and outpatient programming. Other modalities we use that complement the effects of CBT may include:

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Yoga
  • Chiropractic services
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • EMDR
  • Nutrition support

Our therapists may choose to use different forms of CBT based on your needs, such as:

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