Why CBT Therapy is Important in Rehab

 In Addiction Treatment

Anyone seeking addiction treatment can benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which refers to a form of therapy that does not rely on drugs but focuses on the use of healthy behavior to overcome addiction.

CBT tries to understand why a person will abuse any substance, whether alcohol, food, exercise or drugs, with a focus on understanding what the compulsion is.  It believes that there is a more serious underlying issue and not just physical dependence on the substance.  It looks more into the future and how to avoid relapse.

We will explore CBT therapy, and why it is important in rehab in detail below

What is, CBT Therapy

The National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists defines CBT Therapy as the process of helping an addict to think about what they’re doing and how they feel. It helps the addict recognize situations which could lead to engagement in addictive behavior.  Once there is a clear understanding, it becomes easier to avoid and deal with such situations.

CBT therapy focuses on different aspects including dialectic behavior, rational living, and rational behavior therapy among others.  CBT has been successful in addiction treatment in several cases, and this is why we feel it is an essential component when dealing with addiction treatment.

The success of CBT therapy will depend on both the therapist and client identifying what Tare the triggers that lead to destructive behavior.  Once the two parties recognize what the triggers are, it becomes easier to intercept and find healthier ways of dealing with them.

CBT therapy works on the here and now, and set short-term objectives that the client works to achieve. The main goal is to identify unhealthy patterns, unlearn them, and learn new ways of coping without needing to turn to addictive substances.

Components of CBT treatment

CBT focuses on functional analysis and skills training.

 Functional analysis

The patient and the therapist identify feelings and thoughts which occur before and after the use of the addictive substances.  It is in identifying the risky choices and behaviors that a patient can avoid a relapse.  The focus is on identifying triggers while equipping the patient with the right tools to prevent such situations.

The client examines why illicit substances are the go-to choice for certain situations whether for euphoria, escaping reality or as a coping mechanism.

Skills training

In skills training, the patient is encouraged to look for new healthy ways of coping without resorting to the use of the addictive substances.

Factors to consider before applying CBT in addiction treatment

 The treatment is not long term

Anyone who has gone through a drug treatment program will tell you that it can take months or years before they completely stop using drugs.  However, CBT therapy is short-term and will end at a certain point.

 It is an excellent alternative to drug programs

Anyone who may have an aversion to using drugs to overcome addiction will find CBT a good choice.  It is an effective treatment option that has quite a bit of support when it comes to treating addicts.

 It has a structure and Direction

Every treatment session has an agenda, specific techniques, and concepts that the therapist uses.  It is client-driven because the addict decides what they want to achieve at the end of it.  The therapist’s role is to encourage the client to achieve the set goals.

It requires collaboration

The therapist and the client work hand-in-hand to ensure that they achieve the set goals.  The former takes on the role of a teacher and has to have excellent listening skills. The patient should feel safe enough to share without feeling any judgment or criticism from the therapist.

 It focuses on unlearning bad behavior

CBT therapy believes that how we react to situations is something that we have learned along the way.  By identifying maladaptive behavior, it becomes easy for a client to unlearn them and come up with a healthy way of reacting to situations.  Treatment focuses on understanding what triggers an addict to turn to addictive substances as a way of coping.  Once the client understands what he or she needs to change, the therapist’s role is to guide them and teach them how to achieve a positive change.

Final thoughts

Many therapy sessions try to focus on the past, and this is where CBT therapy is very different.  The treatment looks at identifying what the underlying problem is, and how it can be made right at the present moment.  The client and therapist combine efforts in order to achieve set short-term goals.

Close family members can also gain from this therapy session because they get to better understand why the addict behaves in a certain way, and what role they can play in helping them cope positively.


We, at North Hills Addiction Treatment Center, offer CBT and many other forms of therapy. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out. Contact us today to speak to an addiction professional.

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