Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in New York

An Effective Approach to Addiction Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT), commonly known as talk therapy, was originally conceived by Sigmund Freud. While this mental health treatment modality has developed greatly over the years, it still retains the essential elements that define it. CBT treatment begins with the patient describing her or his situation, feelings, experiences, and ideas. Then the counselor or therapist attempts to appeal to logical and cognitive properties and processes that underlie these thoughts and feelings expressed by the patient. Through guided conversation with a trained professional, the patient is encouraged to understand how certain thoughts and behaviors are not productive or healthy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in New York

In addiction treatment, the therapist will listen and recommend alternative behaviors and ways of thinking with the goal of helping the patient to realize and leverage the value of higher-quality thoughts and actions. In practice, it has been shown that when presented with higher-quality options, persons suffering from addiction will opt out of addictive behaviors a significant percentage of the time. For this reason, we include CBT in the category of treatments that are considered “evidence-based.” This means that the treatment has been shown to work in controlled studies as well as in clinical settings.

Today, CBT is a widely accepted and proven treatment for addiction. Here, we will explore how CBT is used in addiction treatment and relapse prevention.

Understanding CBT and Its Application in Addiction Treatment

In CBT theory and practice, we think of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as a cyclical process in which each produces the next. That is to say, thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce behaviors, and those behaviors then produce the next round of thoughts feelings, and behaviors.

The addiction treatment specialist can enter the process at any point and work with the patient to help produce thoughts that result in higher-quality feelings, feelings that trigger higher-quality actions, and so on. This process is rendered through the core principles of CBT which address the following:

Core beliefs: Core beliefs tend to be formed in childhood. They color the ways we see ourselves, others, the environment, and our expectations about the future. With the addictive personality, these can be inaccurate or unnecessarily negative. CBT is designed to address negative and inaccurate beliefs so that the patient can develop a fresh, positive, and helpful worldview.

Dysfunctional assumptions: Dysfunctional assumptions stem from inaccurate and unhelpful core beliefs. They are inaccurate or unhelpful expectations about the future, the thoughts and behaviors of others, our chances of success, and so on. For example, if a person goes to a job interview with the expectation of being rejected, then her responses to interview questions will be half-hearted, poorly thought out, or otherwise not optimized for success. If we assume others are having negative thoughts about us, we will treat them in accordance with those assumptions. CBT seeks to discover and replace or improve dysfunctional assumptions.

Automatic thoughts: Automatic thoughts are recurring, negative memories or predictions. These tend to produce anxiety, anger, and fear and can be so persistent that a person can be constantly tormented by them. In CBT, a therapist will encourage the patient to advocate for herself in the face of automatic thoughts and to respond with loving and helpful self-talk to help diffuse the damage that these persistent negative thoughts can produce.

All three of these things together create a perfect formula for relapse in a recovering substance abuse sufferer. For this reason, many professionals in the field consider CBT to be a key element in any complete addiction treatment regimen.

Benefits of CBT in Addiction Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy is known to be an effective treatment modality for a wide range of mild to moderate and even severe mental health issues. While it may be best known for its ability to treat anxiety, it is also well-documented as a successful means of treating addiction and issues related to substance abuse. By addressing patterns of thought and feeling that lead to recurring addictive behavior, CBT can diffuse internal and external triggers for relapse, or at least reduce the intensity of these triggers.

In a wide range of studies, including data gathered from CBT use in treatment centers all over the world, cognitive behavioral therapy has been overwhelmingly proven to produce significantly higher rates of recovery in patients suffering from addiction and substance abuse issues. It is for this reason that CBT is counted among many “evidence-based” treatments for addiction. These studies date back as far as the early 1960s. Since that time, the effectiveness of CBT as a way of treating addiction, and as a complementary treatment to other methods of addiction treatment, has been thoroughly documented.

CBT In Concert With Other Addiction Treatment Methods

As mentioned above, CBT is just one of many successful evidence-based treatments for addiction, substance abuse, and similar conditions. Other evidence-based treatments include:

12-Step Facilitation Therapy: This traditional approach to addiction treatment involves supportive group meetings, activities, reward systems, and sponsorship by an experienced counselor, trusted friend, or another trustworthy recovering individual.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a relatively recent development in neurological science that has been shown to detach emotional weights from traumatic memories, negative predictions, and other anxiety-producing automatic thoughts.

Interactive Journaling: This form of active self-reflection helps the recovering addiction sufferer to analyze, review, and revise non-helpful thoughts, feelings, and assumptions.

Motivational Interviewing: This form of treatment is similar to CBT in many ways and helps the patient to resolve conflicting ideas and beliefs concerning substance abuse, attitudes, and addictive behaviors.

These treatments have been shown to complement CBT in the treatment of addiction, improving rates of recovery and reducing incidences of relapse in motivated addiction recovery patients.

Finding CBT Services in New York

Fortunately, there are many options for those seeking CBT treatment for addiction in New York. There are many reputable addiction treatment centers that employ this type of counseling in addition to other complementary treatments such as those mentioned above. A short list of some of the top New York addiction treatment centers that offer CBT or CBT resources include, but are not limited to;

1. Nassau University Medical Center
2. Northwell Health At South Oaks Hospital
3. Saint Charles Hospital
4. Bridgeport Hospital
5. Silver Hill Hospital

Recommendations for Choosing a CBT Therapist in New York

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a high-level form of mental health treatment requiring the expertise of a highly trained, experienced, and talented professional. It is further recommended that therapists and counselors who intend to treat addiction using CBT have experience with addiction medicine.

Expertise in addiction therapy
In addition to being properly educated and credentialed, a good CBT addiction therapist will have a background in addiction therapy. He or she should have studied addiction psychology and treatment in addition to possessing a general education in human psychology and counseling practices.

Licensing and credentials
A qualified CBT therapist will possess the requisite degrees, licenses, and other credentials. He or she should possess a diploma from a reputable and accredited institution of higher learning.

Client testimonials and reviews
Addiction treatment is a field in which direct experience with addiction and addiction treatment is among the most important qualifications. A good CBT therapist should be able to present potential patients with personal recommendations and testimonials, as well as professional accolades.

Personal rapport with the therapist
Finally, because of the deeply personal nature of CBT, it is important that the patient have a strong rapport with her or his CBT therapist. After taking a session or two with a given CBT therapist, the patient should be able to decide whether or not it is best to continue with that therapist or to seek another CBT professional.

What to Expect with CBT

At the beginning of CBT addiction treatment, the patient will go through the intake process. This entails an initial interview with a therapist who will note the patient’s reported baseline thought process and ideation patterns, and formulate an early treatment plan which will be further refined as treatment moves forward.

In a typical session, the patient will freely discuss daily thoughts, issues, and activities. During these sessions, the CBT therapist will be ready to note core beliefs, dysfunctional assumptions, and automatic thoughts as described by the patient. When these patterns of thought and feeling are expressed, the therapist will discuss and recommend alternatives to these thought patterns, positive self-talk, and other effective methods of growth.

As these sessions proceed, the CBT therapist may recommend additional treatments such as those discussed above to enhance and complement the benefits of CBT.


Here at Every1 Center, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is just one part of our long list of evidence-based addiction treatment services, and is a key to our success. Through this proven addiction treatment modality, our team has achieved a great reputation for success with one of the highest rates of successful recovery in the region.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an enjoyable and supportive process. CBT can be implemented in either inpatient or outpatient treatment. It can be effective at any point during the recovery process, and it is an excellent way for treatment teams to obtain critical knowledge enabling them to develop custom treatment plans that are well-suited to the needs of the patient.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction disorder, get in touch with the caring professionals at Every1 Center today. The first step to a life free of addiction is just one phone call away.






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