What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
Here at Tikvah Lake Recovery, we offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatment, which is a hands-on, short term approach to addressing problematic patterns of thinking or behavior that cause addictions and mental illness.
CBT suggests that automatic thoughts, which are established in childhood, eventually become dysfunctional patterns over time. For example, a child who was pushed hard to succeed in athletics, but received very little affection otherwise, may adopt a thought pattern that tells ‘I have to excel all the time to be loved and accepted.’ If they aren’t able to achieve universal success, they’ll see themselves as a failure, and will learn to cope in unhealthy ways. CBT aims to undo these automatic thoughts by helping people identify this cause and effect and examine real-life experiences to challenge their dangerous assumptions.
First established in the 1960’s, CBT has a long and proven track record of efficacy. Using a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy, this type of treatment can be used to treat a wide number of mental and physical issues. Unlike the twelve-step program (which used to be tailored to alcoholism but is now becoming more widely used), CBT helps in the treatment of almost all mental health concerns and issues like process disorders (such as sex addiction and gambling), as well as more general mental health issues (such as depression, stress, and anxiety).
How does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work?
Simply put: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps problem-solve compulsive behavior.
Of course, the reality of any therapy is a little more complex than that. Most people aren’t actively aware of their problems. From what point in my life did my disruptive behavior originate? Why (and how) have these negative thought patterns continued? And, perhaps most importantly – why can’t I stop?
Unlike more traditional therapy, CBT is highly structured and goal oriented. At its core, CBT helps clients figure out what they want most from life and analyze the patterns that are preventing them from getting there. It operates under the assumption that thinking patterns (both healthy and unhealthy) are set up in childhood and become more permanent as you age. CBT seeks, first and foremost, to discover destructive automatic thoughts and developing processes to change them.
Problems and goals become the basis for planning sessions. The problems can be just about anything:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty socializing
- Struggling to concentrate
- Mental health problems
- Unhappiness at work
- Turbulent relationships or marriages
Of course, there are many more. You and your counsellor will jointly decide which issues and objectives you want to work on at the start of each session and then decide on homework at the end of each session.
The benefits of CBT
The benefits of CBT are widespread and largely depend on your goals. Here are a few things you can expect:
- Destructive behavior patterns can be identified from their root cause and subsequently monitored.
- You can develop skills to deal with undesirable cognitions and unhealthy thinking patterns.
- You can learn coping strategies for emotional struggles.
- You can learn more about your mental health condition.
- Increased positive thinking.
- Increased self-esteem.
- Tangible and noticeable changes in behavior and mood.
- Relatively quick results (generally within a few months).
What can you expect from a CBT session?
During each session, your counselor will encourage you to talk about your thoughts and feelings and what’s bothering you. CBT is designed to focus on specific problems, so once you’ve jointly identified the problem you’d like to address, you and your counselor will set goals on how best to tackle it during your session.
Your counselor will work with you to help you become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about these problems, identify your negative approaches and reactions to these problems. They’ll also help you reshape your negative or inaccurate thinking. This will involve some honesty on your part! In order for CBT to be effective, our therapists need accuracy and candor regarding aspects of your life you would otherwise be unlikely to share.
Some people may find it difficult to share or open up at first – and that’s okay! Our therapists will help set you at ease and help you gain more confidence as you go along. As you go through the process, your therapist may ask you to do homework or practices that you can apply to your life that will help reinforce positivity and eradicate unhealthy behaviors.
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CBT at Tikvah Lake Recovery
At Tikvah Lake Recovery, CBT is an important part of the rehabilitation process. We cater attentively to a broad variety of addictions and metal health disorders, including drug addiction, alcoholism, sex addiction, gambling addiction, depression, and more.
Our central approach to addiction involves acknowledging that addiction has more in common with a disease that with a mental disorder. Addiction isn’t a choice; it’s something that’s caused by a wide variety of environmental and biological factors. Substance abuse quite literally changes the chemistry of the brain, and it’s very natural for people to seek the endorphins they crave.
In that sense, we believe that CBT is more than just counseling – it’s a form of medical attention. CBT simply helps pinpoint where in your life the disease entered your mind and body, and what social, environmental, or emotional factors influenced it.
We offer a three-phase treatment program, and CBT is an essential part of the second phase. Our therapists use the ideas of reframing, rational thoughts, and positive outlets to deal with the possibility of relapse, making CBT an essential part of the Tikvah Lake Recovery experience, and an even more essential part of your recovery.
Remember, the primary functions of CBT are to help identify harmful problems and patterns so that you, yourself, can learn how to interrupt them going forward. In that sense, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy favors an equal relationship between therapist and patient, and is simultaneously independent and collaborative. Working together with Tikvah Lake Recovery will give you with the tools you need to thrive, and you’ll leave us armed with the knowledge you need to achieve long-term success.