Cognitive behavioral therapists work with patients to identify their automatic thoughts, which are thoughts that are based on impulse, and help them question their false beliefs. With cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, they often stem from internalized feelings of fear or self-doubt. Many addicts self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to escape painful memories. By helping the patient identify these negative automatic thought patterns, they can develop new, more constructive behaviors to replace their addiction. While the process may be lengthy, the benefits of therapy are significant and lasting.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective for a variety of maladaptive behaviors. Because it is often less expensive than other types of psychotherapy, it is also a viable option for those without access to psychotropic medications. CBT therapists teach clients to develop coping mechanisms that improve their quality of life without the use of medication. The field of cognitive behavior emerged in the 1960s, with Aaron Beck identifying the negative, automatic thoughts that shape our perception of events.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the problem at hand. The techniques are focused on changing the individual's thoughts and behavior. While it doesn't focus on the past, it emphasizes change in the relationship between the person and their negative thoughts. Unlike many other forms of therapy, CBT focuses on treating the whole person instead of a single disease or condition. This type of therapy helps patients develop coping mechanisms that will help them overcome their problems and regain control of their lives.
The process of cognitive behavioral therapy can be applied outside of the therapist's office. Some CBT exercises are designed to be practiced on their own or in a group setting. Similarly, addiction support groups incorporate CBT principles to encourage continued sobriety. While these techniques can be used in a variety of conditions, they are best applied to individuals with a relatively mild case of addiction. However, they may not be appropriate for everyone.
Another way to reduce negative emotions and behaviors is to focus on the person's cognitive processes. The therapist may use cognitive therapy techniques like journaling and thought recording to encourage clients to focus on their emotions and thoughts. In doing so, the therapist may also ask the client to provide proof for their negative thoughts. By challenging the client's beliefs, he or she can reinforce more realistic coping strategies. In this way, the process of reducing the stress of a person can be more effective.
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, there are also many other ways to deal with mental health issues. This method is not a "one-size-fits-all" solution. Rather, it is a collection of techniques that address the automatic thoughts that affect a person's life. For example, a patient may practice focusing on a new musical style every morning to counteract the effects of stress. During the process of treatment, they may be taught how to develop positive, happy thoughts.