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Understanding the Gold Standard of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

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There is nothing easy about beginning the recovery journey, and the uncertainties can act as barriers to a healthier, sober future. Understanding what to expect and the strategies employed by dedicated recovery professionals can deconstruct some of these barriers, helping each person be more open and emotionally prepared to engage in effective therapeutic practices in their pursuit of recovery. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common and malleable approach to addiction, mental health, and dual-diagnosis. Understanding its practices and implementations can help each individual best embrace its transformative effects in their journey.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a common type of talk therapy utilized across many different situations. From helping individuals challenge their use of addictive substances to understanding and addressing mental health disorders, CBT is a great method of understanding and navigating a myriad of challenging circumstances. It can serve as a comprehensive talk therapy for individual or group sessions. It can also provide a base on which to continue building personalized therapeutic strategies and methodologies pertinent to a person’s unique needs, goals, and best practices.

The core tenant of CBT is the belief that a person’s actions (behavioral) are based on their perspectives, thoughts, and beliefs (cognitive.) Individuals who are struggling with psychological turmoil, stress, and various types of anxiety, are being informed, in part, by a combination of unhealthy ways of thinking. By helping individuals change the way that they view or feel about a situation, they can then change their behaviors. This, in turn, helps to address unhealthy coping mechanisms and create a new, positive perspective in daily life. 

Learning to identify unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns can enable individuals to change themselves, introducing new ideas and creating a new sense of reality. This empowers each individual to create a healthier emotional state and daily lifestyle. 

CBT in Practice

While CBT has a clear mission to address unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, each individual will engage in this approach in a unique way. By talking with professionals, each individual will have the chance to explore their perspective, discuss troubling thoughts or experiences, and focus on specific events or beliefs in which to create a basis for future change. 

For some, opening up about these sensitive or vulnerable feelings can be difficult. There is no predetermined time frame in which to explore these changes. Rather, CBT takes a personalized approach to each individual and moves at an appropriate pace when addressing their unique situation. This makes it a highly personalized and malleable therapeutic approach. 

After identifying specific thoughts or situations, professionals and individuals alike will work to challenge these thoughts, identifying the unhealthy methods of thinking that may be associated with them. By drawing attention to unhealthy thought patterns, assumptions, or negative and inaccurate thinking, individuals can gain a clearer understanding of how their thoughts alter their perception of reality.

Understanding Motivations

Challenging thoughts and beliefs can be difficult. Many CBT practices revolve around individuals identifying motivations in others in order to gain the skills to challenge their own motivations in turn. This allows individuals to gain a new perspective of their own behaviors and the driving forces behind their decisions. This empowers each person to identify and challenge their motivations and move away from unhealthy practices, such as self-destructive behaviors or the use of addictive substances. 

Personalized Coping Strategies

Challenging unhealthy thoughts can be stressful on its own, and it is common to pair CBT sessions with personalized coping and grounding strategies while navigating difficult thoughts and feelings. Grounding strategies, mindfulness practices, and breathing exercises are all powerful ways to maintain a healthy and clear emotional state while navigating the transformative effects of CBT. 

Making the Most of Each Session

While CBT is a proven and effective therapeutic approach, it is only as effective as each individual makes it. Challenging mental health disorders, addiction, and the changes that make up each step in recovery takes significant effort. When individuals approach CBT with an air of honesty and open themselves up to new experiences, thoughts, and coping strategies, recovery is possible. 

Expecting an immediate change in life can be an unhealthy belief on its own. Continuing to attend regular recovery sessions and engage in exercises outside of dedicated sessions makes a huge difference in the efficacy of any particular CBT approach. If individuals still believe that current CBT practices are ineffective, the unique, malleable form of CBT can allow them to discuss these concerns with trained professionals. They can try new approaches while still engaging in these highly effective recovery practices. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a powerful and effective approach to recovery, whether you are coping with mental health disorders, addiction, or a combination of both. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we are prepared to create a program that is right for you, helping you explore your own experiences and beliefs through CBT. We will also supplement your recovery with additional personalized therapies and coping strategies pertinent to your unique needs and goals in recovery. Our personalized approach to each client, coupled with a supportive atmosphere and caring professional staff, allow us to create a truly transformative experience that enables effective recovery practices inside and outside of our walls. There is never just one route to a healthy future, and we are here to help you find your best path to a healthy life. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (949) 426-7962.


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