A type of talk therapy used in the treatment of various behavioral health problems. It is a proven, highly-effective treatment for substance abuse disorders and used regularly in addiction treatment programs.

The Clinical Stabilization Services at Psyclarity Health Massachusetts offer patient-centric addiction treatment programs. Our on-site team of addiction treatment professionals includes doctors, nurses, therapists and case managers who work together to assess and adjust each patient’s program when necessary.  They implement protocols, such as Detoxification for safe, medication-assisted detox and addiction treatment using supervised medical interventions to address the physical effects of addiction efficiently. This is followed by CBT to help patients identify the causes of substance abuse and learn ways of coping with them. The goal of therapy is to address and treat the psychological and emotional effects of addiction, as well as any co-occurring disorders.

CBT can be used in treating a variety of mental health problems, including:

  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Bipolar Disorder


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy utilizes a range of different techniques, from cognitive modalities that address thought processes to behavioral approaches. Therapists use these methods to show a person how to recognize the automatic, usually irrational thought processes that are behind many negative actions or emotions, which are often developed as a result of past experiences that elicit feelings of fear or self-doubt, even though the feelings are not appropriate to current circumstances.

Depression and anxiety disorders regularly present as symptoms of these thought patterns, and people seek out ways of suppressing their painful feelings that can be dysfunctional,  causing many substance abuse  users to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of dealing with overwhelming emotions.

But by showing a person how to identify the root causes of their skewed self-perception, CBT helps them to learn how to process their thoughts more positively and behave in a way that is less self-destructive, helping them understand and address hurtful memories, reduce painful emotions they bring up, and  minimize the need to mask these feelings with substance use.



When identifying issues, a counselor may guide the person through a conversation to question their behavior and feelings at the time, for instance, a therapist may ask the patient about their most recent experience to learn what they were doing before using the substance, how they were feeling, and what may have happened before.

This can provide the therapist with insight into the specific circumstances and feelings that may result in substance abuse. Once this is established, the therapist may delve further by asking if the patient believed the behavior had a positive or negative outcome, and whether these consequences were a solution in the long-term. This closer examination of situations can allow a person to break down each stage of their descent into addiction and recognize how misperceptions may have led them there.



Once underlying causes are identified, patients acquire new coping mechanisms to use instead of relying on alcohol or drugs, sometimes this can be as simple as being able to understand situations more clearly through better communication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy gives patients the skills to help reject incorrect perceptions and insecurities that trigger substance abuse, to improve their self-esteem, and to be able to communicate so that they avoid the misinterpretation of situations.



By understanding how negative thoughts and behavior impact their recovery, people can focus on the patterns that give them better chances of success. They are also able to identify the situations that might trigger a craving and ultimately lead to a relapse. According to information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT assists with controlling trigger reactions in three ways:

  • Recognizing the situations that result in substance abuse
  • Avoiding these situations wherever possible
  • Coping with the feelings that may arise by implementing better coping techniques



While these skills are learned with the assistance of a qualified cognitive behavioral therapist, they are techniques that can be practiced and refined outside of the therapist’s office. This empowers the patient to take control of their emotional reactions and subsequent behavior, leading to improved self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment. When a person believes that they are, in fact, in control of their lives to some degree, there is a better chance of resisting temptation. CBT can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as group therapy, which has the added benefit of providing a long-term support network. Other techniques, such as journaling, breathing exercises, and guided meditation, may also be beneficial in addiction treatment.



Since CBT is a structured program with specific goals focused on learning how to manage immediate problems, the program can be completed within 12 to 16 sessions. This provides a relatively short-term solution to a potentially life-threatening condition, making cognitive behavioral therapy a valuable tool in addiction treatment programs. To find out about the other types of treatment available at Psyclarity Health, get in touch with us today.