Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Washington

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of talking and cognitive therapy that is widely used in addiction recovery. It is also useful in managing mental health problems that often accompany substance abuse. In this article, we provide an overview of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to help you understand what it is and how it can help you. We also discuss some of the techniques behavioral therapists use during cognitive behavioral therapy.

In this article, we discuss: 


What is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT?

The underlying concept behind CBT is that a person’s emotions, thoughts, and actions are interlinked and that negative feelings can lead to problems like substance abuse. The goal is to help people improve their state of mind during cognitive behavioral therapy and to enable them to replace negative feelings with positive ones. It is worth noting that cognitive behavioral therapy does not analyze a person’s past. Rather, it focuses on current issues that affect a person’s mental health and addiction.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used by leading drug rehab centers like Discover Recovery as part of evidence-based addiction treatment. CBT therapists help clients learn new skills to deal with challenging life problems in a healthy way. The idea is to teach clients certain strategies that will help them deal with stressors without turning to drugs or alcohol.

When you participate in cognitive behavioral therapy in Washington, you will learn how negative thought patterns influence the way you feel and act and how changing these patterns can improve your life and help you stay clean.

What conditions can cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treat?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a powerful therapy for treating and managing various mental health conditions and emotional problems. This form of therapy can be used to treat mental and emotional health issues of people of all ages, including children and adolescents. Therapists and psychologists employ cognitive behavioral therapy to treat people with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder
  • Substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder

CBT can also be used for treating more serious conditions. For instance, healthcare providers can use them with medications for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Research has shown that this therapy is also instrumental in treating non-psychological medical conditions, such as insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

People with daily life challenges can also benefit from CBT. The types of daily life issues that can be resolved with CBT include:

  • Relationship issues
  • Divorce
  • Workplace problems
  • Grief or bereavement
  • Undergoing a lifestyle change that makes one feel uncomfortable
  • Dealing with a medical condition
  • Chronic pain and stress

Key benefits of CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy not only has benefits for the individual who engages in the therapy but also makes life easy for the family, partner, and other people present in the individual’s life by targeting specific problems. From minimizing symptoms to enhancing the overall quality of life, CBT therapy can be advantageous in multiple ways. 

Improves emotional health

One of the key benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it significantly improves people’s emotional responses to different situations. People can perceive circumstances differently, effectively identifying and overcoming negative thought patterns using cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring is a therapeutic technique that helps recognize and change negative thinking patterns effectively.

Helps manage stress levels

Cognitive behavioral therapy is also helpful in reducing stress levels in people. By identifying unhealthy behaviors, they can adopt healthy coping skills to change these behaviors. Combining relaxation techniques and other behavioral therapies like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) helps people manage their stressors, effectively reducing situations in which their peace of mind may be threatened.

Boosts self-awareness

Cognitive behavioral therapy enhances self-awareness by helping individuals better understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This heightened awareness of the ‘self’ strengthens the individual’s ability to comprehend the effects of their thoughts, feelings, and actions on their life and make positive changes that will lead to a more fulfilling life.

Improves relationships with others

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps improve relationships with others. By equipping individuals with effective communication and conflict resolution skills, CBT contributes to building better relationships with other people. It also helps couples navigate their issues by identifying areas of improvement and managing disagreements better, ultimately leading to more positive and fulfilling partnerships.

Better quality of life

As CBT is focused on reforming problematic cognitive and behavioral patterns, it proves helpful in enhancing the overall quality of their lives by helping them recognize and work through issues that affect them mentally and emotionally. Optimal mental and emotional health is essential to lead a fulfilling and stress-free life.

Cost-effective solution

As compared with other therapies that may last for longer periods, CBT is much more affordable as it only spans a few sessions, typically from 5 to 20 sessions. 

CBT is available in various formats, from in-person personal and group sessions to virtual and telephonic sessions. For some reason, if you decide to participate in group sessions instead of one-to-one sessions, it may be even more affordable.

Prevents relapse and fosters resilience

CBT involves cognitive restructuring, meaning the benefits are long-term and can help with relapse prevention, especially in cases of depression. Research has shown that those who suffer from depression and underwent CBT therapy are less prone to relapse than those who only took antidepressant medications without taking cognitive behavioral therapy.

Offers long-term benefits

In therapy, people are taught skills that can be used in everyday life. CBT aims to empower individuals to tackle their problems during CBT treatment and even after the sessions are over.

Being fully involved in the healing process can make people feel in control. Over time, the goal of CBT is to enable people to overcome their life issues using the skills they learned in therapy. CBT can be used alone or with medication.

How does CBT work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a highly structured form of psychotherapy that is used to help people change unhealthy thought patterns. These negative thoughts and behaviors are often responsible for driving people towards alcohol and drugs. Therefore, changing them can help a person overcome addiction to harmful substances.

During a session of cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapist helps a client break down overwhelming problems into smaller parts. The feelings, thoughts, emotions, and actions associated with the problem are analyzed to understand their effect on drug and alcohol use. The client is then taught to replace negative feelings with positive ones and practice these changes on a daily basis. Interestingly, the skills a person learns during cognitive behavioral therapy are lifelong, i.e., they can be applied to a variety of problems besides substance abuse.

Gain an understanding of the issue:

In the initial sessions, you’ll be asked to talk about the challenges you face, symptoms you’ve noticed, and concerns you may have. If you are diagnosed with a mental health condition, you must let your therapist know. This crucial first step helps establish therapy goals tailored to your specific needs and understand how it works.

Ask a series of questions:

Based on your situation, your therapist will ask questions, delving into past incidents, your fears and phobias, troubling behaviors, and your thoughts and feelings. Through this collaborative exercise, you will find answers to these questions and gain valuable insights that will help you understand how you tackle challenges in life.

Help you recognize problematic thoughts and behaviors:

By engaging in an interactive Q&A session, your therapist will help you closely examine your responses to challenging situations in life. They will help you pinpoint unhealthy emotions, beliefs, or behaviors contributing to your troubles. They may even suggest journaling situations and your responses to them for a better understanding.

Work with you to adjust your thoughts and behaviors:

Guiding you through the self-analysis process, your therapist will help transform your negative emotions, thoughts, and habits into positive ones. They will work with you to shift your perspective and adopt new thought patterns and behaviors. The same skills can be applied to future situations to help you overcome negative experiences.

Techniques used in CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a science-based, practical approach to problem-solving that helps to correct the underlying cause of substance use disorders. CBT is also useful in helping people with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Many of these mental illnesses often co-occur with substance abuse. Therefore, cognitive behavioral therapy in Washington addresses both problems together and is a useful therapeutic modality in dual-diagnosis patients.

The underlying principle of cognitive behavioral therapy is that a person’s thoughts influence their emotions and their emotions influence their actions. CBT techniques work by helping a person gain awareness of their thoughts as well as the consequences of these thoughts. As a result of cognitive behavioral therapy, a person develops a better understanding of how their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors led to addiction.

The techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy include recognizing negative thoughts, learning to stop generalizing negative experiences, learning to see that situations are not either good or bad but can be something in between, learning to see how positive thoughts can be beneficial, and learning the difference between assumptions and evidence-backed thoughts.

What happens during CBT?

During a session of cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapist will help you identify and interrupt negative thoughts. You will learn to anticipate bad thoughts and take action to control them. Some of the exercises you may be asked to perform as part of cognitive behavioral therapy include:

  • Discussing negative or irrational thoughts and emotions
  • Keeping a record of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones
  • Revisiting strong emotions and memories with the therapist
  • Increasing participation in healthy activities to reduce negative thinking
  • Is cognitive behavioral therapy right for me?

Is cognitive behavioral therapy right for me?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a good choice for you if you are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse and are motivated to overcome your addiction. A key feature of CBT is that it focuses on the present, not the past. For this reason, CBT is sometimes less effective in people with a traumatic past, for example, childhood abuse. In other words, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses more on current issues and problems. It works well for people who are struggling with addiction related to more recent issues.

During a CBT session, the therapist will not merely listen to you talking. Rather, cognitive behavioral therapy will involve back-and-forth dialogue between you and your therapist. What’s more, cognitive behavioral therapy is a relatively short-term treatment, and you should begin to notice benefits within a few weeks. Last but not least, CBT will teach you skills you can apply to your daily life and use for years after your addiction recovery is complete.

To gain maximum benefits from cognitive behavioral therapy, you will have to commit yourself fully to the process. This means attending sessions regularly and following your therapist’s advice.

What can I expect at my first cognitive behavioral therapy appointment?

Seeking therapy is a big step for many people battling depression and other similar mental health conditions. It can be daunting and make you feel unsure. However, these feelings are normal and will usually go away after the first session with your mental health professional. 

During the first session, your therapist will discuss your problems, try to understand your symptoms, and enquire about any other concerns. They will likely ask about:

Your symptoms and gain insights into your feelings and emotions. Emotional distress has physical manifestations, too. Symptoms like headaches, body aches, and upset stomach may be relevant, so do mention them.

Any specific issues you may face, such as self-esteem issues. Do not hesitate to share things that cross your mind. Therapy can help you deal with any challenges you experience.

About your goals for therapy or what your expectations are.

CBT sessions are highly structured, but the first session is always about getting to know about the therapy and the therapist, so take it as the opportunity to ask questions you may have in addition to being briefed about the treatment process. You may ask questions such as:

  • What is your therapist’s approach?
  • Will they be prescribing medications alongside therapy?
  • Does your therapist have experience dealing with individuals with the same or similar issues?
  • Can they help you get rid of your suicidal thoughts (if you have them)?
  • How will you know if therapy is helping?

This session is also built around discussing general therapy policies, such as confidentiality, therapy costs, session length, and the number of therapy sessions you will need.

How long will I need CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy typically lasts 12-20 weeks, covering 5-20 sessions, but the timeline can vary from person to person. The unique needs and differences in mental health conditions can increase the duration of therapy. It is recommended to keep your patience and not get discouraged. The time it may take to learn to stop catastrophizing (cognitive distortions) and manage your thoughts and feelings better can be different from others. Catastrophic thinking and overgeneralization are often the root cause of negative thought patterns, so any observed changes in thought patterns equal progress.

What should I know about CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful, but there are certain things you must bear in mind:

CBT is no cure for your mental health issues. While symptoms and effects may decrease over time, the therapy can’t eliminate them. CBT only helps you develop the necessary self-help skills to deal with difficult situations without external interventions when they arise.

Results take time. In the first session, your therapist will evaluate your condition and design a therapy tailored to your needs. They will also give you a tentative timeline for the treatment, but be warned that duration can change based on how you make progress. Therapy can take weeks or even months, and you might even end up feeling as if the treatment isn’t working. No matter the progress, you must be patient and not give up treatment midway.

Taking therapy can be challenging. It can take a toll on you emotionally, but it will help you feel better over time. You will be asked to open up about painful or distressing things, and you could even cry during sessions, but rest assured that it is part of the experience, and you will not be judged for anything.

CBT is just one of many treatment options. CBT is a type of therapy that works for most people, but if you feel at any stage that it’s not an effective treatment for you, let your therapist know so they can recommend another form of CBT therapy for you.

Cognitive behavioral therapy in Washington at Discover Recovery

Discover Recovery Treatment Center is a leading drug rehab that offers cognitive behavioral therapy in Washington. The masters-level therapists at Discover Recovery are highly experienced in CBT and use it as one of the treatment modalities in addiction recovery. Our CBT therapists in Washington will help you frankly discuss your thoughts and emotions, learn to challenge and interrupt negative feelings, replace them with positive ones, and develop skills you can use in your daily life. As a result of cognitive behavioral therapy, you’ll gain deeper insight into your thought patterns and how they affect your addiction. You’ll also learn to be more assertive about positive thinking and leveraging it to stay clean.

At Discover Recovery drug rehab center, we use holistic, evidence-based addiction treatment modalities, including medical detox, medication management, and cognitive behavioral therapy. If you or someone you love is battling drug or alcohol abuse and could benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in Washington, get in touch with us today to learn more about our programs.

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At Discover Recovery, we work with a wide variety of health insurance providers so those in need can get access to the treatment they need. That means you (or your loved one) won’t have to worry about covering the cost of treatment. Instead, all of your energy and focus can be spent where it’s really needed, which is on overcoming addiction.

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