Choosing the most effective therapies to include in your addiction treatment program can feel overwhelming at times. You may wonder, “Is cognitive-behavioral therapy right for me, or is group therapy better?” The good news is that at Northpoint Omaha, our patients don’t have to pick and choose. We collaborate with our patients to create individualized treatment plans that serve all of their needs. For more information about our Nebraska cognitive-behavioral therapy program, call Northpoint Omaha today at 402.685.9404.
What Is CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term therapy that helps patients replace negative thinking and behavioral patterns with positive ones. Unlike traditional talk therapy, which frequently seeks to uncover and heal past wounds, CBT encourages patients to stay in the present.
The therapy is based on the premise that our thoughts create emotions, and those emotions lead to behaviors. In the context of addiction treatment, a patient might harbor negative thoughts, such as “I will never be able to stop using drugs,” or “I don’t deserve a happy, healthy life like other people.” It’s easy to imagine how these types of thoughts open the door to unhelpful behaviors.
Through specific skill-building exercises, cognitive-behavioral therapists teach patients how to change self-defeating thought patterns into patterns that support positive action. “I will never be able to stop” may transform into “I have the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices.”
CBT sessions are typically 30 to 60 minutes long. The number of sessions required to learn these new skills varies but is somewhere between five and 20 for most people.
What to Expect in CBT
Most CBT sessions include the following steps:
- Exploring the situation(s) that are causing negative outcomes in your life
- Deciding which concerns to deal with first
- Discussing and monitoring your self-talk and the ideas you have about yourself and others
- Determining whether your negative thoughts are true or false, which is called “reality testing”
- Practicing reframing false beliefs, which is called “cognitive restructuring”
Between sessions, patients complete homework assignments that are focused on creating lasting change in negative thinking patterns. Patients may be asked to keep a journal or complete thought charts as part of their homework.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives patients a chance to explore their beliefs about themselves and their substance use disorder without judgment. Ultimately, instead of getting negative reinforcement from substance use, they learn to enjoy positive reinforcement from abstinence and other positive behaviors.
Are You Wondering, “Is CBT for Me?”
CBT is highly effective for treating addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. However, it’s not effective for everyone. When asking the question, “Is CBT right for me?” ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I willing to think about my feelings?
- Is short-term therapy adequate, or do I have more complex problems?
- Can I focus on solving one problem at a time?
- Am I willing to do the homework and exercises my therapist assigns?
CBT may be best suited for people who are not looking for long-term guidance or support from a therapist but prefer to learn how to guide themselves. Though it may not be the right therapeutic approach for every mental health disorder, CBT is effective for many co-occurring conditions, such as depression, grief, and anxiety.
If you are willing to fully participate in the process, then the answer to “Is CBT right for me?” is yes.
Find CBT and More at Northpoint Omaha
If you’re still wondering, “What is CBT?” or “Is CBT for me?” the friendly team at Northpoint Omaha will be happy to tell you more. We are proud to provide comprehensive, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs that help our patients recover from addiction and enjoy the healthy, positive lives they deserve. Call Northpoint Omaha today for more information at 402.685.9404.