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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Treating Addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a widely accepted form of treatment for addiction and substance abuse disorders, and is incredibly effective when combined with other treatment modalities. CBT is a short-term, focused therapeutic approach to helping clients become abstinent from drugs and alcohol by using the same learning processes that the person initially used to develop dependence. CBT is based on the idea that feelings and behaviors are caused by a person’s thoughts, not outside stimuli like people, situations and events. People may not be able to change their circumstances, but they can change how they think about them and therefore change how they feel and behave. The 6 basic steps in a cognitive behavioral therapy program are:

  • Assessment
  • Re-conceptualization
  • Skills Acquisition
  • Skills Consolidation and Application Training
  • Generalization and Maintenance
  • Post-traumatic Assessment Follow-up

At Serenity Acres, the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy in addiction treatment is to teach our clients to recognize situations in which they are most likely to drink or use drugs, avoid these circumstances if possible, and cope with other problems and behaviors which may lead to substance abuse. This therapy is customized to each patient since everyone’s triggers and past issues are unique.



  • Gatchel, R. J., & Rollings, K. H. (2008). Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with cognitive behavioral therapy. The Spine Journal,8(1), 40-44.