The Purpose of Cognitive-Based Therapy in Recovery

Cognitive-Based TherapyCognitive-based therapy, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as it is most commonly called, is one of the main methods of treatment for substance abuse and addiction-related disorders. It is also widely used in helping people to stay sober after a treatment program has been completed, proving that cognitive-based therapy has benefits both during and after recovery.

The simplest way to describe this complex therapy is as a type of psychotherapy focused on the thought processes of the patient and on how those thought processes influence what a person feels and does. Often, when the cognitive-based therapy is being conducted for the purpose of recovering from an addiction or avoiding relapse, the therapy is focused on helping the patient understand the thought processes that often lead up to substance abuse. It is believed that if the addict or substance abuser can recognize this thought pattern when it occurs and make efforts to change and fight against it, the urges to abuse the substance in question can be greatly diminished or, eventually, even eliminated.

The Characteristics of Cognitive-Based Therapy Approaches

Cognitive-based therapy approaches are different than all other therapeutic approaches, though they often have things in common with certain other types of therapies. Again, the main focus with cognitive-based therapies is on the thoughts and, in the case of recovery from substance abuse or addiction problems, on how the thoughts affect the addiction or substance abuse and on how those same thoughts can be changed or manipulated to produce a different outcome – one in which the person does not abuse the substance. Some of the other characteristics of cognitive-based therapies include:

  • The therapist helps the patient to understand the difference between thoughts and feelings, as well as the relationship between the two.
  • Patients work to recognize, stop and change harmful thoughts, both with the therapist and on their own.
  • Patients are taught to recognize automatic thoughts – thoughts that are so ingrained in them that they no longer have to actively think them anymore to be influenced by them.
  • Patients learn to distinguish biased thoughts from true or accurate thoughts.
  • The therapist and the client work together to establish goals and then work toward those goals throughout the duration of the therapy sessions, tracking progress along the way.

Negative Thoughts

While cognitive-based therapy can help absolutely anyone, it can be especially useful for those who struggle with thoughts of self-hatred or thoughts that reinforce low self-esteem and poor self-image. These types of thoughts often lead to addiction and substance abuse in the first place and, unfortunately, they can also fuel the cycle of addiction. A person, for example, may use the substance to escape negative thoughts and feelings about himself. Unfortunately, the substance abuse and the subsequent actions tend to make the person feel worse, causing him or her to abuse the substance yet again, and the cycle continues. This cycle can be broken and stay broken with effective cognitive-based therapy from a qualified professional.

Getting Help

Finding the right therapist is a vital part of a successful experience with cognitive-based therapy. It is important for the patient to have a therapist with whom he or she feels comfortable and secure. You can learn about different therapists in your area and find the perfect one to help your loved one on his or her journey to long-term recovery by contacting us now. We can also help you locate a sober living home that can support you in that journey.