Man asking, "What is CBT?"

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a kind of talk therapy that focuses on teaching patients how to recognize and challenge negative and unhelpful thought patterns in order to develop healthier behaviors. In fact, CBT is a widely used and highly effective therapy in the treatment of substance use disorders. The techniques taught through CBT equips patients with the proper methods for dealing with triggers and stress.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, along with other evidence-based therapies, is offered at San Antonio Recovery Center (SARC) as part of our addiction treatment programs. We believe in holistic treatment that ensures not only successful detox and recovery, but also long-term sobriety. Therefore, our wide variety of inpatient and outpatient programs are individualized to fit each patient’s unique needs. Call us at 866.957.7885 today to learn more.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

CBT teaches patients that attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts can affect behavior patterns and feelings. The core principles of CBT include:

  • Unhelpful, inaccurate, and negative ways of behaving and thinking can lead to psychological distress
  • Everyone can learn more positive, beneficial ways of behaving and thinking
  • New, more positive habits can relieve symptoms of physical and mental disorders and enable a patient to act in healthier ways

Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to help patients recognize and identify their negative thought patterns and to understand how these thoughts can affect their actions. By comparing these thoughts with reality, they are encouraged to challenge these negative thoughts and to replace them with more accurate, positive thoughts.

The Benefits of Using CBT for Addiction Treatment

CBT has been widely successful in addiction treatment due to its focus on changing the patient’s mindset. During therapy, harmful and destructive thought processes that lead to substance use are identified and scrutinized. By challenging the veracity of these thoughts, patients can learn more valid, positive thoughts that are more congruent with reality and their goals.

CBT uses many different techniques that focus on replacing self-destructive thoughts with more encouraging ones. These techniques and skills can be applied by patients in addiction treatment to help with their recovery process. A few of them are:

Cognitive Restructuring

Patients are taught to identify and avoid negative thought patterns. These patterns include overgeneralizing, assuming the worst, and obsessing over minor details.

Guided Discovery

By questioning a patient’s assumptions, the therapist can help them acknowledge and consider other viewpoints of which they were not aware.


Through writing, patients are asked to log and objectively assess their negative thoughts, as well as think of what positive thoughts to replace them with instead. For example, the thought “relapse is inevitable, so detox is pointless” can be replaced with “relapse is common, so people can understand what I’m going through and offer support.”

Activity Scheduling

Encourages sticking to healthier habits and provides structure. Pleasurable healthy activities can also be included in order to incorporate self-care and relaxation into routine.

Successive Approximation

Patients are taught to take an overwhelming task and to break it into more manageable steps. This allows them to gain more confidence as they progress and eventually complete the task.

Systemic Exposure

With the guidance of a therapist, patients are slowly exposed to situations that cause them fear or anxiety so that they can be desensitized and taught how to respond to the situation in a positive manner.

Start an Addiction Treatment Program at San Antonio Recovery Center

At SARC, we offer CBT, as well as other holistic and evidence-based therapies, in our addiction treatment programs. Our welcoming and comfortable facility in San Antonio, Texas, provides a safe venue for healing. We also work with most insurance providers so that our patients can have access to the best level of care. Contact us at 866.957.7885 to start your journey toward wellness.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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