Makana Path Blog

April 22, 2021

CBT and the 12 Steps

CBT and the 12 Steps

When you need intensive healing, an integrated approach is usually most effective. As you seek treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to understand that there is not one strategy that works for everyone and, depending on your situation, multiple approaches will be better able to address your addiction and your mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and the 12 Steps have been shown to complement each other for a more successful treatment approach.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychological treatment that has been proven to be effective for addressing alcohol and drug use problems as well as anxiety disorders, depression, and other forms of mental health issues. In fact, CBT has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of psychological therapy. Continued research has resulted in advances in the CBT approach, which is evidence-based as a method that actually produces change.

When you participate in CBT as part of your addiction treatment, you will develop the problem-solving skills you need to cope with challenging situations. You will also learn to recognize your own distortions in thinking that have contributed to creating the problems in your life as you also discover how to re-evaluated them in light of reality.

In addition, CBT can help you learn how to develop a greater sense of confidence in your own abilities, face your fears instead of avoiding them, and learn how to calm your mind and relax your body in a healthy way.

The 12 Steps

Your addiction treatment will probably include the 12 Steps in some form as well. The goal of the 12 Steps is to strengthen your determination to recover from your substance use in a positive and healthy way, both for your physical health as well as your mental health. This program also emphasizes the need to rely on and support others in your recovery.

The first step, to admit that you are powerless, may cause some confusion initially. However, there are many ways that CBT and the 12 Steps complement each other to help you accept responsibility, gain confidence in yourself, and overcome your addiction.

An Integrated Approach

The approaches of CBT and the 12 Steps have a lot in common as both work to achieve control over substance use in a fundamentally cognitive-behavioral way. As Baylor University researchers point out in a recently published study, the 12 Steps are designed to identify the attitudes, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that have caused problems for the individual. The program then stresses that these need to be replaced with new thoughts and behaviors in order to overcome the substance use issues.

The definitions of substance use disorder in CBT and the 12 Steps are very similar in that they both emphasize the importance of taking stock of emotions and behaviors. Just like the 12 Steps, CBT works to identify and replace beliefs and emotions that have proven dysfunctional for the individual and to help that person learn how to cope using more positive and healthier means.

Responsibility and acceptance are critical elements of both approaches. Holistic healing involves times of self-examination and relaxation techniques that enable the individual to proactively cope with the challenges when they are tempted to return to their substance use.

Social Support and Interpersonal Skills

CBT and the 12 Steps also complement each other well for an integrated approach to addiction in their promotion of social support and the development of interpersonal skills. These are critical for regulating emotions as well as the ability to tolerate distress. The 12 Steps also stress that it is important to avoid the people who have had a negative influence on the individual in the past, instead turning to the support of other people who are navigating through their own successful recovery from addiction.

Intensive Healing at Makana Path

Our holistic approach is designed to help you establish a strong foundation for your addiction treatment, integrating the 12 Steps with other approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Our 12-Step Intensive Program can help you get back on track with your recovery. We work with you on intensive healing, through a combination of evidence-based clinical therapies and 12-Step programming.

We specialize in treating chronic relapsers and those who identify as treatment-resistant and are here to support you. To learn more about our intensive healing program, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-313-0978.

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