Cognitive behavioural therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the psychotherapeutic tools used by drug and alcohol addiction rehab centres throughout the UK. It is a very useful tool when used properly by trained and experienced therapists. However, CBT alone does not guarantee recovery for every addict.

CBT is just one part of a comprehensive rehab treatment programme you might undergo should you participate in rehab through one of the facilities we work with. Along with CBT, you may also take part in:

  • Detox – Medically supervised detox is the fastest and most effective way to break the physical addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, please do not try detox on your own. It is a medical emergency that poses serious risks of injury or death if not supervised.
  • Group Support – Addiction recovery programmes take advantage of group support because it offers mutual accountability, encouragement and the comfort of knowing there are others struggling with the exact same problems. Group support may be exercised in the form of counselling, shared recreational activities and physical or mental challenges.
  • Life Skills – In order to effectively deal with the pressures and temptations that will undoubtedly come after rehab is complete, therapists will teach recovering addicts the life skills they need to overcome. These life skills are extremely important in preventing relapse.
  • Recreational Activities – Whether recreational activities are enjoyed as a group or individually, therapists use them to show recovering addicts that life can be enjoyable and fulfilling without the use of addictive substances.

There are countless other types of therapies a rehab centre could integrate into a treatment plan. Therapy choices are determined by the circumstances surrounding each client’s addiction. The best programmes use customised treatment plans with the widest selection of therapies available.

Basics of CBT

As a psychotherapeutic tool, CBT has two components found in the name itself:

  1. Cognitive – This component has to do with how a person thinks, how he or she processes information, and how aware they are of themself and their surroundings.
  2. Behaviour – This component deals with how the client’s thought processes and self-awareness affect their behavioural choices.

Cognitive behavioural therapy begins with an assessment by the psychotherapist. This assessment will accomplish two things. First, it looks at where the recovering addict is at the current time – in terms of his or her progress, their physical health, and their emotional state.

Second, the therapist establishes a list of achievable goals the client will work toward as he or she progresses through treatment. This goal-oriented approach is what makes CBT different from therapies that are more open-ended. Patients must complete one goal before moving on to the next. Under ideal conditions, CBT can be completed in 20 sessions or less.

How It Works

CBT was originally developed to help people suffering from anxiety disorders and other mental problems. However, therapists quickly discovered it could be useful in treating addicts as well. The secret to its success lies in the strategy of identifying current thought patterns and turning them in a different direction.

As an example, an alcoholic may enter rehab believing that alcohol consumption is the only thing helping him or her cope with an otherwise miserable life. That thought leads them to believe they could never enjoy happiness outside of a bottle. CBT retrains that person’s thinking.

One of the first goals of CBT in this case might be aimed at helping the alcoholic understand that addiction is the cause of his or her misery rather than a way to cope with it. Once that goal is achieved, the therapist can move on to the next goal that might show the addict how alcoholism is making him/her miserable. By the time the patient completes the final goal, his or her thinking has been turned around so that they have a proper understanding of alcohol addiction.

CBT Requires Commitment

It should be noted that CBT does not work for every recovering addict. Why? Because it requires a commitment that many patients just do not have. It requires a commitment to look at addiction directly in the face and recognise it for what it is. An addict who insists on living in denial is unable to achieve the goals set forth by the therapist, rendering the therapy useless.

On the other hand, patients who possess the right level of commitment find CBT tremendously helpful. It is not uncommon for the addict to come to the full realisation of how wrong his or her former thinking really was. Many are even more surprised to discover they thought the way they did.

When CBT is effective, it can result in a very profound life change. Once the addict’s thinking has been corrected, it is not unusual for him or her to make similar corrections in other areas of their life. It is a truly amazing thing to see. There’s no doubt that CBT is therapy well worth trying with any recovering addict who is committed to getting well.

Your Individualised Treatment

Is CBT rehab right for you? No one can give you a definitive answer without a proper assessment from a trained professional. However, the chances are good it can help. The first step in finding out is to admit you have a problem that needs professional intervention. The next step is getting in touch with us so we can match you up with the appropriate rehab facility.

If you are suffering from any sort of abuse or addiction problem, we want you to know you do not have to continue living this way. There is help available through private clinics, charities, professional counselling services and the NHS. There is a programme and facility suitable to your circumstances and budget.

As a confidential referral agency, our job is to take stock of your circumstances and recommend to you the wisest course of action. If you need our help making the admission arrangements to residential programme, we are happy to assist you with that. We want to do whatever we can to make sure you get started on the road to recovery today.