During active addiction, people often struggle with unhealthy habits and ways of thinking that harm their ability to heal. Often people act in a way that portrays themselves as the victim, even if they know they’re not. Those with anxiety may catastrophize, jump to conclusions, or make generalizations that negatively impact their mental well-being. These mental patterns are known as cognitive distortions in the field of behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy helps people in recovery from substance use disorder relearn healthy mental patterns. It works by helping them recognize when these cognitive distortions are happening so that they can counter them with healthier habits and thought processes.
What Is Behavioral Therapy?
Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that places importance on changing thinking patterns in order to change behavioral issues that are recurring in mental or behavioral disorders. This psychological treatment occurs between behavioral therapists and individuals, but it differs from other talk therapies in that individuals are given some responsibility for their own treatment; therapists still work with them every step of the way, but behavioral therapy often includes a “take home” aspect for individuals to work through between sessions. These exercises, like worksheets or mental techniques, are part of its effectiveness.
Behavioral therapy is research-driven and scientifically proven to be successful at treating a wide range of psychological issues, making it a valuable rehabilitation therapy. It’s not meant to be a long ongoing treatment, but rather a method of reframing thinking, teaching coping techniques and skills, and helping the individual achieve the goals they and their therapist set at the start.
What Does Behavioral Therapy Treat?
Behavioral therapy is all about overcoming damaging thought patterns that lead to negative actions. Two original leaders in the behavioral therapy field, Joseph Wolpe and Arnold A. Lazarus, define it as “the application of experimentally established principles of learning to overcome [neurotic, therefore unadaptive] habits.”
Beginning in the 1950s in various locations around the globe, behavioral therapy has adapted over the years to include many forms of treatment that have different focuses and emphases.
As one of the most diverse, overarching forms of therapeutic treatment, behavioral therapy techniques can be used in the treatment of a number of behavioral and mood disorders including:
Behavioral therapy treatment is also recommended for different behaviors or issues that may not be attached to one specific diagnosis, like substance abuse, anger, self-harm, self-criticism, grief and loss, or nightmares. These issues may not have a clear-cut diagnosis but can be addressed through behavioral therapy.
Types of Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy is an effective and widely used form of addiction treatment that focuses on understanding the underlying causes of addiction and developing strategies to cope with them. Behavioral therapy can help individuals understand why they’re addicted, learn new skills to manage cravings and reduce drug use, build confidence in their ability to stay sober, and rebuild relationships. When combined with a comprehensive treatment program, behavioral therapy can help individuals achieve long-term sobriety and lead healthier, more productive lives.
At The Haven Detox, we use evidence-based behavioral treatments such as:
These behavioral therapy offerings assist in addressing the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. Our team of therapists creates individualized treatment plans that incorporate these proven methods to help individuals recognize triggers, manage cravings and emotional distress, and develop the skills needed to maintain sobriety.
We also provide a wide range of supportive services including trauma-informed therapy, family counseling, case management, and discharge planning. Every step of the way we work with individuals to ensure they have the resources they need to achieve recovery and live fulfilling
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the merge between the original ideas of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. Other therapies like DBT and ACT fall under the umbrella of CBT. Cognitive therapy emphasizes adjusting thought patterns while behavioral therapy emphasizes adjusting behavior patterns.
Cognitive behavioral therapy combines the approaches of both cognitive and behavioral therapy to target the intersection between CBT’s three core components:
By providing an individual with tools to help cope with the thoughts and emotions that may drive them to abuse drugs and alcohol, CBT is beneficial in the treatment of addiction. This form of therapy can lead to a healthier mindset and positive behavioral change, which in turn helps individuals achieve sobriety.
CBT is also a helpful tool for anyone seeking recovery from substance abuse and addiction, as it encourages self-reflection and accountability. With the support of a therapist, clients can learn how to recognize and change thought patterns that lead them toward negative behavior.
Additionally, CBT can help individuals set healthy boundaries, develop coping strategies for triggers and cravings, identify areas of self-improvement, and create meaningful goals. With the aid of cognitive behavioral therapy, an individual is better able to uncover the roots of their addiction and work towards a successful recovery.
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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Originally developed by Marsha Linehan as a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD), it is now widely utilized for the treatment of various mental health conditions.
During treatment, therapy sessions focuses on helping clients learn the four DBT skills including:
Emotional regulation skills
Interpersonal effectiveness skills
Distress tolerance skills
To teach these skills, dialectical behavior therapy pulls from behavior modification strategies found in CBT as well as Buddhist mindfulness practices. Throughout therapy sessions, DBT therapists empower you to develop healthy coping mechanisms, enhance communication skills, and foster meaningful relationships. DBT mindfulness skills can also assist you in acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgment. In turn, these skills can help you gain control over emotional reactions and behaviors.
Participating in DBT therapy sessions offers clients a multitude of benefits. It fosters self-awareness and deepens their understanding of personal emotions and feelings. Moreover, clients acquire valuable skills to identify triggers that give rise to negative behaviors and learn effective coping strategies for challenging situations. Dialectical behavioral therapy also helps guests nurture healthy interpersonal relationships, foster self-awareness, and master emotional regulation. With the guidance of highly trained therapists and evidence-based techniques of DBT, you can learn to effectively manage symptoms, reduce stress, and improve your quality of life.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing therapy (or MI) is a goal-focused behavioral therapy approach that helps people identify their personal motivations. It is a particularly effective treatment for substance use disorders. MI targets negative patterns of thought and behavior (like substance abuse) that individuals often want to abandon but have difficulty doing.
Through a variety of techniques and activities, motivational interviewing helps them break the cycle by assessing the damage their actions have on their life. MI doesn’t merely leave individuals in a place of understanding; it also helps them set actionable goals. Motivational interviewing’s Stages of Change model breaks down the process from ambivalence to the ongoing maintenance of change.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT’s methodology takes an approach of accepting the unchangeable but still working on what can be achieved. Individuals in ACT come to understand that some aspects of life, and psychological disorders, are permanent factors that need to be accepted. For instance, past trauma can’t be unlived, and undesirable history can’t be reversed.
Instead of hiding from such realities, ACT accepts them and works on creating skills to help people manage their issues. Acceptance and commitment therapy techniques teach that behaviors are responses to the unchangeable, but the behaviors can be altered. A key aspect of ACT is that it is a goal-oriented treatment.
Exposure therapy utilizes the technique of fear-facing to help people heal from their self-imposed limitations due to fear and anxiety. Fear often stems from trauma, which is why exposure therapy can also assist in treating conditions such as PTSD. For this reason, exposure therapy doesn’t dismiss fear lightly but rather aims to work through it in small, manageable doses. It encourages individuals to wait out their fear as they face it to see it as something they can overcome.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) created by psychologist Albert Ellis, aims to alter people’s irrational thoughts through actionable steps. Individuals who especially benefit from this behavioral therapy are those with self-worth issues or anxiety. Individuals struggling with co-occurring clinical depression, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, or OCD can benefit from REBT because it helps them adjust their self-damaging beliefs. By helping them recenter their thinking to be more rational and true, individuals can overcome destructive tendencies and live a life where they don’t hold themselves back.
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If you or someone you know has a substance use disorder, we hope you’ll begin your journey with us at Royal Life Centers.
What Is the Focus of Behavioral Therapy?
In general, behavioral therapy is based on three core principles—stating that feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all influence each other—its emphasis is on breaking down each to create lasting change. For this reason, therapy targets problematic behavioral patterns and habits, whether those are attached to a specific mental health diagnosis or not.
Specific treatment methods will vary depending on the type of behavioral therapy that is being used. However, common uses of behavioral therapy include:
Behavioral therapy typically involves a guest discussing their experiences or attitudes in a safe environment with a trained therapist and learning how to effectively address those behaviors or issues. This type of treatment encourages open communication that allows the therapist to provide helpful feedback while also helping the guest find the tools to gain control and change their behavior.
Behavioral therapy can provide relief from troubling behaviors or feelings as well as tools to help individuals cope with difficult situations in healthy, manageable ways. Through behavioral therapy, guests are empowered to take charge of their own mental health and create positive changes to improve their quality of life.
Behavioral Therapy at Royal Life Centers
At Royal Life Centers, we see our guests as people — not as their addiction or mental illness. Our desire is to help everyone who comes through our centers reach a place of whole-body wellness. Our holistic treatment aims to re-establish the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of our guests through evidence-based and complementary therapies.
When guests first enter our Royal Life Centers, our therapists meet with them to make customized treatment plans, which can include behavioral therapies along with other therapeutic approaches proven to aid in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring disorders.
With the help of behavioral therapy, our guests can process the underlying causes of their substance abuse and develop a clearer understanding of their triggers and stressors. In doing so, guests can develop comprehensive relapse prevention plans and begin focusing on moving forward in recovery.
If you are struggling or you’re inquiring on behalf of a loved one, please reach out to us. Because We Care, we are ready for your call at 877-RECOVERY 24/7. You can also fill out a secure contact form and we’ll be in touch.
Looking for Behavioral Therapy in Rehab?
If you or someone who cares about struggles with addiction, please reach out to us to find out more about how our behavioral therapy services can help. We work with most private insurance policies and we have affordable self-pay rates if you do not have insurance. Give us a call and we will figure out the best treatment plan for you or your loved one.
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