When it comes to substance abuse issues, there are several stops on the road to recovery. Therapy is an important part of the process because it enables the patient to rationalize behaviors and think clearly about the future. The therapist acts as a psychological and emotional guide through the process of rehabilitation. One of the most common forms of therapy is cognitive therapy.
What is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive therapy is a type of therapy in which a therapist or counselor attempts to identify and challenge the cognitive distortions that govern a patient’s rationale and behavior. This branch of psychotherapy is founded on the idea that substance abuse is learned, and therefore it can be unlearned through certain techniques. The effectiveness of treatment is contingent upon the collaboration between therapist and patient; there must be a great deal of trust in the relationship in order to expedience optimally effective treatment. This type of therapy is usually accompanied by medication, group therapies, and numbered-step programs.
How Does it Help?
This method attempts to overturn cognitive distortions by challenging the patient’s previously unquestioned thinking patterns. If people constantly think that they are worthless or unimportant but refrain from verbalizing their ideas, no one has the opportunity to challenge them and convince them otherwise. In cognitive therapy, the therapist draws out these irrational thoughts and seeks to replace them with more realistic, positive ideas. The ultimate goal is to break the patient out of what is referred to as a problem cycle: A pattern of negative thinking that eventually reinforces itself, becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.
This therapy is often used in conjunction with behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy compliments cognitive therapy in that together they hone in on a patient’s cognitive distortions and then teach the person how to break free from them by giving them a personal program for overcoming their obstacles. Therapists help patients develop the ability to modify their own beliefs and autonomously identify their distorted thinking. This can help patients change their behaviors and the way they relate to others.
Why is Cognitive Therapy Important in Addiction Counseling?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is arguably the most effective form of psychotherapy in current use. This holds true when it comes to addiction. While detoxification of the body is an important part of the recovery process, it is one step among many. Therapy is imperative in order to prevent relapses due to societal and psychological factors. Therapists are also capable of helping patients with substance abuse problems develop social skills, manage their emotions and handle any adversity that they may face in overcoming their addictions.
Recovering from drug or alcohol dependence is not an easy task, but there are several steps that can be taken to make the process effective and worthwhile. Cognitive therapy is an important component to recovery; during this time, therapists can help patients to identify irrationalities in their thought patterns by challenging their cognitive distortions and instilling a positive self perception. A strong relationship between therapist and patient can facilitate a lasting recovery by supplying the tools needed in order to autonomously maintain a sober lifestyle.
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