Cognitive behavioral therapy or “CBT” is one of the treatment of choices used by drug rehabilitation centers across the United States.
By definition, cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to dismantle negative thinking so that patients can address challenges more positively. Although CBT can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions such as anxiety and PTSD, it was originally designed to treat depression.
Upon meeting a new patient, a therapist will observe the patient’s thoughts, belief systems and attitudes and how they process that information. Therapists will customize their sessions based on the needs of the patient. There are six steps to the typical cognitive behavioral therapy process beginning with the initial assessment of the patient.
The four critical steps that comprise a cognitive behavioral assessment include
- Identify the patient’s critical behaviors.
- Determine whether or not the behaviors are in excess or fall short of expectations.
- Evaluate the frequency of the critical behaviors.
- Aim to increase or decrease the frequencies of these behaviors based on the therapist’s findings.
The six steps of the cognitive behavioral therapy treatment process include
- Initial assessment.
- Development of new concepts.
- Acquirement of new skills.
- Consolidate skills and apply them to stressful situations.
- Extended care, post treatment follow ups, etc.
Cognitive behavioral therapy was founded by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck during the 1960s. At the time, Beck was an instructor at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. After years of study, Beck felt that intervening and addressing a patient’s distorted thinking patterns made the patient more aware of how their thought patterns affected their behavior. After these negative thoughts were thoroughly evaluated and deemed unrealistic, the patient usually went on to make significant changes in their behavior.
When combined with other forms of psychotherapy like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive behavioral therapy can be the launching pad for a successful life in addiction recovery.