The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Jul 16, 2021

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a technique that can be used as part of a recovery plan. It’s a unique approach to “talk therapy” where patients are given an opportunity to see how their own thoughts, feelings, and actions may be affecting their recovery. Today, we’ll share some reasons why CBT can be an effective tool in sustaining sobriety work and look at the role therapy plays in addiction recovery overall.

Therapy for addiction is a collaboration between a patient in recovery and a therapist who work towards the same recovery goals. It can come in the form of individual therapy, group therapy with peers, and family or couples therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction is one form of “talk therapy” for addiction that invites a patient to explore how their thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected to their substance use. Patients in CBT can benefit from practicing how to remove themselves from situations where drug use or drinking is happening.

The Role of Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Therapy is a valuable part of treatment programs as it addresses numerous important factors that can affect your recovery. It gives patients an opportunity to recognize these factors for themselves in their daily lives. The skills they learn in therapy can help them avoid some of these factors and manage others.

High stress is one example of a common factor in relapsing. Being unable to manage stress can lead patients to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Cognitive therapy for addiction provides the tools to respond to stress in healthy ways.

Therapy can also be a place to work on communication skills. The ability to comfortably express wants, needs, boundaries, and more with loved ones is especially important for someone in recovery. Therapy offers a safe space to practice saying what you feel is important and be heard.

The Types of Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Therapy can be both an individual and a group experience. The missions of each form differ. Individual therapy is ideal for patients with a mental health disorder that’s been affecting their ability to become and stay sober. Group therapy is helpful as a way to find support and accountability with peers who are also working on recovery goals.

Family therapy is another option during the addiction recovery process. These sessions are led by a professional therapist who can guide you and your family through them. Family members can benefit from the chance to directly explain how a loved one’s substance use disorder has affected them. Also, the person in recovery can learn how to begin repairing relationships to have a reliable support system around them. Couples therapy is an alternative, too, for patients in a relationship with a partner or spouse.

Other types of therapy in addiction recovery include motivational interviewing, where a patient can discover their own motivation for staying sober. Contingency management therapy rewards patients for positive changes related to their substance use. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help patients regulate their emotions and reduce self-destructive behaviors by identifying negative thinking patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction (CBT) is a form of collaborative therapy where a patient in recovery learns to recognize how their own thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected to their drinking or drug use.

The Top 5 Reasons for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

  1. Sessions are a collaboration between therapist and patient.

You’re guided through each session in a way where the solutions can come from you. You’re not being directed or told what to do. It’s a partnership where you can set the goals for yourself and get support in reaching those goals.

  1. Learn to recognize what thoughts and feelings were automatic.

CBT helps people in recovery learn what thoughts and feelings came automatically in certain situations. You may not have been aware that you had these internal reactions as you found ways to cope with them through substance use. Bringing them into the open can help you see what specific thoughts and feelings contributed to an addiction and how to respond differently moving forward.

  1. Practice how to remove yourself from situations where substances are accessible.

One of the skills for staying sober is recognizing the situations where drinking or drug use is accessible or expected. These are places that can compromise your recovery goals quickly. CBT can teach you how to decline offers to go to these places or leave when a challenging situation comes up.

  1. Learn how to effectively communicate with family members and friends.

Stress with the people around you can be a factor in struggling to stay sober. CBT can help you learn to manage these relationships with effective communication skills. One of those skills may be setting first-time boundaries with a close friend or family member and reminding them to respect the limits you’ve established.

  1. Create positive activity schedules to disrupt patterns of behavior.

Another aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction involves planning something to look forward to. Planning experiences each week that make you feel good is a way to change the routines that were part of your substance use. These activities can draw from what you like to do and something that only has a positive association. It can be solo activities or ones to share with a friend.


Origins Recovery & Counseling in Dallas, Texas, made available by a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 866-671-4124.

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