CBT is based on the theory that learning processes play a critical role in the development of unhealthy patterns linked with mental health and substance abuse problems.
Generally speaking, CBT is used to help clients 1) identify and correct problematic or destructive behaviors by applying a variety of different coping/relapse prevention skills, and 2) evaluate and change unhelpful or self-defeating thought processes that are negatively influencing a client’s emotions or behaviors.
CBT consists of a collection of methods intended to enhance a person’s self-control. Specific techniques include a) exploring the positive and negative consequences of self-defeating thinking or using drugs and alcohol, b) self-monitoring to recognize drug cravings early on and to identify high-risk situations for use, and c) developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use. A central part of this treatment is anticipating likely problems and helping patients develop coping strategies to address them before they occur.