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How Should I Work Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

support group meeting

Have you found yourself caught up in internal dialogues that make you anxious? Do you sometimes feel that unhelpful thoughts are racing through your head and negatively impacting your mood? At an addiction recovery treatment center, you might be encouraged to work with a therapist to relieve these depression or anxiety-inducing symptoms. It is important to know about the therapeutic approach so that you know what to expect and can trust your therapist’s process. 

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is a kind of psychological treatment that is known to have positive benefits for behavioral issues, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and more. Many of these issues co-occur with addiction. Based on research and clinical practice, CBT has proven to be as effective as psychiatric medications. It is basically a kind of “talk therapy,” where you meet with a mental health counselor in a structured way to reverse negative self-talk that may lead to behavioral disorders or worsen addiction.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is founded on a few principles. Researchers found that psychological problems are partly caused by unhealthy ways of thinking and behaving. People who suffer from cognitive-behavioral issues can learn better ways of coping and relieving symptoms. In other words, many fixed patterns of thinking may lead to disorders such as depression and anxiety, and these can be addressed through correcting the patterns of thinking.

Based on these assumptions, therapists will coach talk you through identifying distortions in your thought patterns that might be problematic. You learn how to re-evaluate disordered thoughts in light of reality with the help of a trained professional. By assessing your own motivation for thinking and doing certain things, you also gain a better understanding of other people’s behaviors. This helps you perceive social interactions more clearly. 

CBT is most effective when it is combined with other treatments, such as medications or other counseling services. Although it is considered one of the most structured and safe therapies for people seeking recovery, you might experience discomfort when exploring difficult experiences or painful feelings. It is okay to feel all the emotions that come out of this kind of talk therapy. A trained professional will help you channel them and minimize the risk of retriggering trauma so that you can make safe and effective progress.

What Should I Expect to Happen During a Therapy Session?

During the first few sessions with a therapist using CBT, you will go through some assessments about your personal history, medical history, history of past trauma, and ongoing cognitive-behavioral challenges in life. This is all done so your therapist can form a better understanding of where challenges in your life might come from. You will get the best results out of your therapy when you are honest and open during these sessions. Your trained therapist will also coach you on how to relax your mind and mood before engaging in a conversation.

Revealing yourself to a stranger might be intimidating but, because most trained therapists have worked with many people who have similar conditions to yours, you should trust their expertise and confidentiality. The therapist may use role-playing, relaxation techniques, and facing fears to prepare you to enter some of the challenges you encounter in your daily life. Remember that they are there to help you understand and work through your problems. You and the therapist should collaborate to design a treatment strategy for your conditions.

How Should I Maintain Progress?

Many therapists utilizing know how to train you to become your own long-term “therapists.” Through exercises and experiential assignments, they help you develop eyes to see problems. You learn practical techniques to cope with stressful life situations. There are many tested tools for coping. For example, journaling is often used by therapists to encourage patients to work out thoughts and feelings to identify patterns and become aware of warning signs. You learn to change the way you think, which is the beginning of managing emotions and behaviors.

Apart from developing the many tools you will learn while in treatment and therapy, including CBT, a cognitive pie chart, and relaxation breathing techniques, you can also consider enrolling in a regular outpatient program. Other support groups (such as a 12-step program) and online therapy sessions can also serve similar functions for changing how you think. Using CBT techniques can help you break the cycle of depression, anxiety, or other forms of disorders that co-occur with addiction and help you manage your symptoms. 

Are you struggling with negative self-talk? Do you need help relieving stress and anxiety that co-occur with addictive cravings? You can try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is often used as a supplementary treatment in many recovery centers. Therapists using CBT can train you to become aware of your patterns of thought, emotions, and beliefs that do not line up with reality. Then you can work with your therapist to reshape or re-channel these thoughts and emotions to form healthy behavior patterns. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our trained therapists have helped many people achieve emotional and behavioral health through CBT. We also offer a complete package of treatment plans. We believe in a holistic approach to long-term recovery. We also offer outpatient programs for you to use. Schedule an appointment with us today at Laguna Shores Recovery. Call us at (866) 229-9923, and we will be happy to customize a treatment plan for you.