Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy used within Abbeycare by its highly professional staff to change negative thinking patterns and behaviours into positive productive ones.
CBT is effective in the treatment of addiction, as once dependence on a substance occurs, the brain is chemically changed. In short, a want turns to a need.
If dependence to a substance, such as alcohol has occurred, the belief that follows that ‘life can’t be lived without the use of alcohol’ is addressed. CBT works to change this belief system and stop the physical and psychological need for substances that are hazardous to health.
CBT is a counselling therapy and Abbeycare utilise CBT as part of its therapeutic programme when creating the catalyst to change. The change required for recovery from alcohol and drugs.
CBT – The Mind and Body in Therapy
CBT if broken down into components means cognitive i.e. thoughts, perceptions, memories, and reasoning. The cognitive component of CBT is concerned with the mind.
The B of CBT means behaviour i.e. actions, attitude, and conduct. The behavioural component of CBT is concerned with the body.
CBT is a structured therapy session, and it deals with the link between cognitions, thoughts and behaviours, actions.
A component of being human is ‘free will’ that is the choice to drink or to take drugs if you choose to, dependence removes this ‘free will’ and a want has now become a need.
Underpinning this chemical dependence is a psychological one i.e. a thought and feeling that work in combination to say alcohol is needed, required and must be consumed immediately – to feel better.
CBT will challenge this faulty belief system by addressing the situations, thoughts, feelings and ensuing behaviours.
- Situation – A bad day at work
- Thoughts – The boss and colleagues don’t like me they think my work is poor
- Feelings – Inferiority, paranoia, low self-worth
- Behaviours – Ingest alcohol or drugs to take the thoughts and feelings away.
The Mind says you can’t cope the Body says I know a way how. The pair work in synchronicity. The mind and body are interlinked.
CBT considers the following four components.
- Situation – A bad day at work.
Consider: Was it actually a bad day at work? What was achieved? Did you complete the day and finish your work satisfactorily?
- Thoughts – They don’t like me; my work is poor.
Consider: Do you have evidence to back this claim up? Perhaps they have tried to interact with you, and you have pushed them away many times – so they don’t get too close and find out your secret i.e. the addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- Feelings – Inferiority, paranoia, low self-worth.
Consider: Address where these feelings are coming from? The secret that you are addicted to alcohol or drugs may incite these feelings.
- Behaviours – Ingest alcohol or drugs
Consider: Will the problems disappear if you take alcohol or drugs? Or get worse?
Once all these points have been considered or looked at from a different point of view, the answers will show that drugs and alcohol are the problem and the elimination of these substances will improve work output, increase self-esteem and improve self-worth.
CBT and Faulty Belief Systems
Loved ones shake their head in despair asking, “What’s wrong with you?” “Why can’t you stop drinking?” This feeling of condemnation and hostility by well-intentioned loved ones only leads to more drinking.
This is known as the phenomenon of alcoholism – why would such a person continue to drink despite all the signs pointing to stop?
In short alcohol dependence has occurred and alcohol is a mood- and mind-altering drug. Removal of the substance and a new clarity in thinking followed by CBT sessions will work to change this vicious cycle.
Some of the faulty belief systems that may occur when dependant:
“I can’t stop drinking!”
“Just one more and I will stop tomorrow!”
“I need a drink to get this job done!”
“I need to use drugs to get through the day!”
“I need a drink and/or drug to think straight!”
The final statement is insightful: I need a drink to think straight. When in truth the alcohol stops the ability to think straight.
This is important because a negative belief system has now been developed. A belief that life is impossible without alcohol. In this case alcohol has won. It has taken the mind of the drinker.
Even after detox this thought still occurs. Known as a mental craving, the mind constantly returns to thoughts of drinking despite all logic and reason stating that alcohol is the problem.
A belief occurs that using alcohol or drugs is the solution. The mind has been altered. This belief now becomes a core belief.
Core beliefs are a set of beliefs that have become part of the internal dialogue that propels drinking or the need for drugs. These core beliefs are also connected to feelings.
So how do you alter a negative belief system. In some cases, dependence has reigned supreme for many years and in some cases decades.
This is where CBT is life changing and effective for the addicted mind.
The faulty and negative belief systems can be changed. The relationship with alcohol can be changed through CBT sessions at Abbeycare.
The feelings and emotions component of CBT
Helping people deal with emotions and the thoughts that trigger those emotions is an essential component of CBT.
Feelings connected with cravings for drugs and alcohol are:
- Low self-worth
- Low self esteem
- Inability to cope with daily life
- Inability to conduct healthy relationships
- Low mood
- Loneliness and Isolation
These feelings are strong and negative in nature the belief system that ‘one more’ of anything will remove them is faulty. These feelings will be removed if the alcohol or drugs are removed therefore quite the reverse.
CBT and Negative Behaviours
Negative thoughts, feelings and emotions ultimately lead to negative behaviours. Here are some negative behaviours:
- Get drunk at daughter’s birthday party
- Get high before driving
- Get drunk and high to go out socialising
- Take a small drink to get through work
- Take some drugs to stay awake at work
When considered with a therapist, the general consensus is that these behaviours are not conducive of a happy and productive life.
To change thinking will change behaviours.
- My daughter enjoys my company more when I am sober – I will stay sober at the party.
- Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal – I believe in the justice system and do not want to injure others or myself whilst driving.
- I really enjoy good music and conversation with friends if I stay drug and alcohol free, I will be able to enjoy myself and not feel guilty or ashamed the next morning.
- It is against the contract I signed to go into work under the influence I have self-respect and want to keep my job it’s not OK to drink before work.
- Drugs make my vision and actions impaired it is dangerous to use these substances at work I want to keep my job. I would be unhappy if my colleague was doing the same.
CBT with a therapist at Abbeycare will consider negative behaviours attached to using alcohol and drugs and address these in structured therapeutic environment conducive to the promotion of long-term recovery from alcohol and/or drugs.
CBT in Abbeycare – The Therapeutic Approach
The idea is that CBT is collaborative i.e. client has to have some understanding of what the approach is and how it can be useful in their sobriety. Then the therapist will jointly clarify what problem areas need addressing. A collaboration.
This creates an empowering atmosphere. Instead of feeling like the therapist is dictating the circumstances of the conversation the client will feel like they are an active participant.
CBT therapy sessions are carried out by highly qualified CBT Therapists on a one to one basis. Sessions will vary according to the length of time a resident is in Abbeycare and if they wish to carry on sessions post rehab as part of their aftercare programme.
Sessions last between 45 minutes to 1 hour and handouts, links by emails or self-help books (may be handed out). In essence the client becomes their own therapist and learns how to apply CBT to themselves. Knowledge helps with the recovery process. And once learned CBT can be applied to many of life’s situations.
In session vicious cycles may be identified and learning how to break these up is effective to the participant of this therapy. Such as continuing to use substances when many negative consequences continue to occur. A vicious cycle.
Sessions will explore this destructive behaviour and trace the route of the problem. Identifying the route i.e. the core belief system then dissecting it will help the participant re-think the relationship with drugs and alcohol.
As a therapeutic programme is delivered within Abbyecare the therapists are trained in using an eclectic approach such as CBT, 12 Steps and Motivational Interviewing (MI) which are all designed to challenge negative core beliefs around the relationship with substances.
There are many components of these models that overlap. 12 Steps will consider an unhealthy obsession with using drugs an obsession is also known as Cognitive based. This is linked to compulsion to use substances and compulsion is linked to Behaviour.
Motivational Interviewing looks within for the answers i.e. the internal faulty belief systems are challenged.
All models address the unhealthy thought processes and beliefs that provoke an action. In this case the action is to use alcohol or drugs to excess creating a dependence. This loops back again and again. A vicious cycle.
Goal Setting in CBT
A major component of CBT is setting goals with the therapist. Goals are used to:
- Reach clear expectations for you and what you want out of treatment.
- Agree to specific goals to work on, collaboration, team building
- Keep track of your progress, look back and see if you have improved, changed or achieved.
Some goals can be long term goals. Some goals can be lots of short-term goals building towards a long-term goal.
Setting goals can be a difficult task. The participant can ask the following questions:
- What do you want to happen?
- What would you find rewarding?
CBT and Aftercare
The CTI Continued Therapeutic Interventions package of one to one CBT counselling sessions with Abbeycare's highly skilled CBT Counsellors are in place to continue addressing issues or underlying beliefs systems.
CBT can be initiated to compliment the Aftercare Plan set out during time spent in rehab with the allocated Case Manager.
CBT can be more effective if the duration of sessions is increased.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Abbeycare an eclectic model is used when delivering the therapeutic programme. Residents are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the programme on offer. The therapists use this tried and tested model as it has been shown to promote long term recovery.
At Abbeycare an open mind is required when approaching all parts of the programme. There may have been many reasons CBT never worked before, from duration of sessions to your commitment, at that time, to change. All participants are asked to do is try this model of therapy as this may be the right time for you.
CBT at Abbeycare is included in the price of rehab treatment. However, if you want to continue the sessions Post Rehab the price can be negotiated with Abbeycare as part of the CTI Continued Therapeutic Intervention programme that’s part of Aftercare. The prices are available on request.
As CBT is a talking therapy therapist encourage the use of both. In many cases a combination of the anti-depressants used to treat the symptoms of low mood associated with depression and other mental health conditions and CBT used to treat the causes i.e. what brought about the low mood have proven successful.
A thousand or more thoughts go through a human being’s mind each day. Some negative, some positive. Addiction creates negative thought processes which create negative feelings. These thoughts and feelings underpin drug and alcohol use.
CBT is a tried and tested therapeutic intervention designed to challenge these unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviours creating a happier, healthier, sober mind and way of life.
If you visualise yourself free from alcohol and drugs living a happy and productive life?
And wish to learn more about our Addiction Treatment or CBT Therapy call our free 24/7 Helpline on 01603 513 091 or fill out the form below to speak to a trained addiction counsellor.