In the early days of psychotherapy, therapists primarily focused on psychodynamic approaches that helped their clients gain new insights. But what happens after a client becomes more insightful? Cognitive-behavioral therapy cultivates insights while directly attacking problematic thoughts, behaviors, and patterns. Though CBT has existed for several decades, it has seen a surge in popularity over the past ten to twenty years. It is now very likely the most popular form of therapy. Today, CBT often plays an essential role in treating substance problems. We also offer a variety of other addiction and mental health therapies.
What Are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Services?
As their name implies, cognitive behavioral therapy services focus on your cognition – i.e., thoughts – and behavior. Therapists endeavor first to help their clients detect automatic, unhealthy thought patterns. Examples of these patterns include “He didn’t call me because I’m not good enough” and “since he didn’t call me, it must mean I’ll be single forever.”
By identifying such thoughts, therapy patients become better equipped to disrupt them and replace them with healthier alternatives. What does such a substitution look like? Here’s an example: “There are many reasons he might not have called, but I’m happy with myself and so will move on with my life.”
On the behavioral front, a woman insecure about her body might refuse to go out when she’s feeling unattractive. She may also engage in compulsive exercise or refuse to allow her partner to see her naked. CBT therapists work to correct these kinds of behaviors.
CBT is highly practical. It doesn’t focus on the past. Instead, it aims to help patients cope with the here and now challenges. Because of this strong focus on practical skills, most CBT therapists give their patients lots of homework. This homework allows you to practice what you’ve learned outside of the immediate context of treatment.
Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Boise Work?
The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy in Boise or elsewhere is partially dependent on the patient. Your willingness to do your homework, explore your thoughts and understand your behaviors is a significant predictor of success.
Studies have repeatedly shown that CBT can be highly effective, often working much more quickly than other therapies. However, it is unlikely to work with people currently in crisis. For example, changing your thoughts and feelings about domestic violence won’t change the pain of being in an abusive relationship. Likewise, CBT may not be effective for sexual abuse survivors. Why not? Survivors may feel that CBT pathologizes their feelings, stunting the healing process.
In recent years, CBT has come under fire to focus on the here and now. Some research suggests that CBT might be less effective in the long term. Consequently, if you want the best results, you may need to pursue CBT first to get immediate results. You would then follow-up with a long-term, insight-oriented approach such as psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Is CBT for Recovery Right for Me?
CBT in recovery can be an excellent option for people whose negative thought patterns interfere with their daily happiness. It has proven especially effective for people in recovery who struggle with depression and anxiety. In addition, it can help you cope with the near-constant cravings, self-loathing, and doubt that co-occur with addiction. If you struggle to achieve your goals, manage your time, or make healthy decisions, you may benefit from CBT.
The list of groups for whom CBT won’t work is significantly shorter than the list of situations that can be effective. In general, CBT may be a bad idea if:
- You have PTSD and are actively trying to recover from trauma
- You are currently experiencing a traumatic or abusive situation
- You are unable to commit to regular therapy homework
- You struggle to be honest with your therapist
- You are struggling with family of origin issues or other challenges related to your past
- You are interested in understanding your past or delving into why you are the way you are
Choosing a Therapist for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Services
A therapist will likely be assigned to you if you’re in rehab. But the best predictor of therapeutic success is a strong alliance between a therapist and her client. Thus if you feel like the therapist you’ve been given isn’t right for you, don’t be afraid to ask for someone different.
A good therapist won’t shy away from pointed questions, so consider asking some of the following:
- Are you licensed to practice, and have you ever been disciplined by a licensing board?
- How long have you been practicing CBT?
- Have you been trained in CBT techniques?
- Do you combine CBT with other techniques?
- Which techniques? How do you combine them?
- Am I a good candidate for CBT?
- How long will therapy take?
- How will I know I’m getting better?
- What if I don’t improve?
- Is there anything I can do to improve the effectiveness of therapy?
The answers you receive can help determine whether or not you feel comfortable with a given practitioner.
Seek Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Rehab at Northpoint Recovery
Are you looking for high-quality cognitive-behavioral therapy and rehab in greater Boise? The specialists at Northpoint Recovery are here to assist you. We specialize in the use of CBT for drug and alcohol treatment. Our expertise makes it possible to incorporate this therapy into your general plan for addiction recovery. The result for you is full-spectrum support for sobriety efforts. To learn more about our CBT services, call us today at 208.486.0130.