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Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Overcoming addiction and dealing with mental health is a tall task. Fortunately, there is hope. There are many ways for your client to begin their recovery journey. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the cornerstone of many recovery techniques, coping strategies, sober practices, and lifestyle choices. 

This treatment modality is a psychological approach to changing one’s thinking to impact their behaviors. It has proven to be effective for addressing addiction, mental health disorders, and much more. Its incredibly versatile nature makes it applicable in personalized ways for each individual and circumstance. Understanding the effects and intentions behind CBT can allow those taking their first steps towards change to better prepare for the transformative potential of recovery and a healthy lifestyle. 

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a therapeutic approach governed by the principle that one’s actions (behavioral) are based on a negative thought pattern (cognitive.) This theory construes that an individual’s perceptions, anxieties, or stresses could be partly based on their mindset and thought patterns. By challenging preconceived notions or negative thinking, one can then change their behaviors.   

For example, those suffering from anxiety may believe they are being watched or in danger and may engage in self-destructive behaviors or isolating tendencies to quell these ever-stressful feelings. By addressing a person’s thought patterns and working to address them, they may begin to relinquish the unhealthy coping strategies associated with them and develop new strategies based on a healthy mindset. 

Finding Success Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT can be personalized to fit one’s needs and builds off each individual’s emotional behaviors to understand how troubling scenarios create their unique situation. To make the most out of a cognitive-behavioral approach, each person must be open to the idea of changing the way they think. It can be challenging for those just beginning their journey to imagine what a new perspective may look like. 

Those suffering from addiction or who have suffered from childhood traumas during their formative years may have seen the world through their own, potentially distorted lens for a long time. New perspectives can be difficult to visualize as a result. 

While a degree of resistance is typical throughout the recovery process, it is essential to be open to new experiences and ideas. Engaging in group activities and trying new at-home strategies such as journaling or yoga are instrumental in embracing a new mental and emotional state. Not all methods will be effective right away, and it may take repeated use of specific techniques to embrace their benefits. 

The Goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The main goal of CBT is to inform those suffering from any kind of stress or hurdles of how their thinking affects their behaviors, thus informing the best recovery and coping strategies for a client’s unique circumstance. No two journeys through recovery will be the same, and CBT is a way of personalizing one’s path towards a healthier future.

Successful understanding of one’s situation through CBT allows those struggling with their daily hurdles to be able to, in part, also be their own best guide. By understanding how one’s thinking may negatively affect their behaviors, successful use of CBT can allow for a greater degree of agency for each person to make more conscious, informed decisions. It can help a person identify unrealistic, unhealthy, or flawed methods of thinking before acting upon their impulses.  

CBT in Practice

Each approach to CBT will be unique, and the strategies one uses to communicate and the thought patterns uncovered will be wholly one’s own. There are some similarities that those looking to begin on their path towards a healthier future can expect. 

CBT emphasizes facing one’s fears, stresses, and emotions instead of avoiding them—attempting to sidestep specific thoughts and feelings can result in more impulsive behaviors or even cause more powerful feelings of desperation. By facing these difficulties alongside caring professionals, one can better understand and begin to process and overcome their impact on mental and emotional health. 

CBT also imparts many practices to help calm and center one’s body amid complex thought patterns. Breathing techniques and self-centering strategies can allow each person time to think before acting. Utilizing mindfulness can put individuals more in control and in tune with their bodies and thoughts.

Lastly, various cognitive-behavioral approaches may rely on role-playing or other techniques to present potentially difficult situations. This method allows your client to understand better how their instinctual responses and impulses may negatively influence their behaviors, thus preparing strategies for coping with these situations based on their unique stresses, triggers, and symptoms.  

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the basis on which many new strategies are born. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we embrace its malleable application to create a personalized approach to your unique needs and goals. We are prepared to make your time with us as valuable as possible, embracing CBT alongside numerous other proven, effective strategies. From detox and residential care to ongoing outpatient therapy, we are ready to meet you where you are on your journey towards a healthier future, helping you cope with addiction and the mental and emotional hurdles it presents every day. Our small, intimate atmosphere allows us to spend more one-on-one time with you and your needs, all while curating a safe and supportive environment consisting of professionals and peers alike. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (714) 492-1119. Let us guide you through your journey and give you the tools you need.

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