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Cognitive-Behavioral Relapse Prevention for Addictions

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy? How does it work? Read on to learn more about CBT for addiction therapy at Ripple Ranch Recovery Center.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of many types of psychotherapy. You may also know about it as a type of talk therapy. This is because CBT sessions focus on the open conversation between the patient and their therapist. CBT for addiction can be a great asset in recovery.

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CBT for Addiction

CBT for addiction is centered around one main idea: the relationship between thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. This type of therapy aims to improve the connection between thoughts and actions to create healthier behaviors and mindsets. It encourages the patient to take a new perspective regarding their mental health.

This means understanding negative self-talk and its harms while fostering better, mind-safe habits. One of the main results of CBT for addiction, as a result, is a healthier mindset and new coping techniques that can be beneficial for addiction.

Is CBT Effective?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has a long history of being studied. As a result, we better understand whether it’s effective. As of now, studies have concluded that CBT for addiction is highly effective.1 One study showed that cognitive-behavioral therapy could lead to a decrease in substance use in as many as 79 percent of patients.2

What Is Relapse Prevention?

Recovering from a substance use disorder and addiction is a monumental task. It requires support, willpower, and a desire to recover. This does not, however, change the fact that addiction is a mental disorder. This means there is no single formula for recovery, which will look different for everyone. Slip-ups, mistakes, and even relapses are not uncommon. 

This is where relapse prevention becomes important. While all types of treatments focus on preventing relapse, there is a specific treatment called Relapse Prevention (RP). This type of psychotherapy focuses on learning the signs of relapse and triggering situations to continue recovery. Relapse Prevention goes beyond the typical focus of addiction treatment to prepare the patient for life after therapy and rehabilitation. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Relapse Prevention

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be a beneficial part of relapse prevention and a compliment to RP. This is because of CBT for addiction’s ability to help the patient develop healthier mindsets and coping mechanisms. 


One of the most effective methods in cognitive-behavioral therapy is restructuring or reframing. Restructuring recognizes and addresses any negative thought patterns or beliefs that may occur daily. These negative thoughts can make it difficult to enjoy day-to-day life fully, so it’s important to address them. Once the patient has a better understanding and awareness of their thought patterns, they can be swapped for a more positive perspective through CBT for addiction.3
However, this is only one example of the methods used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Because CBT for addiction is talk therapy, it can involve many conversational activities and mental exercises that focus on rewiring negative thought patterns to cultivate a more positive, healthier mindset. 


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is regarded as one of the most efficient types of psychotherapy. This includes when dealing with relapse prevention for addiction and substance use disorders. As one of the older types of talk therapy, several hundred studies have been conducted on understanding the benefits of CBT for addiction and how it works.4

Relapse Prevention for Addictions

Often, when relapse occurs during addiction treatment, it is a coping mechanism that occurs as the result of a trigger. CBT is designed in such a way to help manage these triggers more healthily by reframing past belief patterns. As a result, it can be beneficial in preventing relapse by providing other options for dealing with stress and triggers.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Work?

The main goal of CBT is to help cultivate a healthier mindset that better assists you in meeting your goals, whether that’s anger management or relapse prevention. Here are some of the ways that CBT works to make that possible:

  • Gain an understanding of the problem
  • Ask a series of questions
  • Help you recognize problematic thoughts and behaviors
  • Work with you to adjust your thoughts and behaviors.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

As mentioned above, there are several methods utilized in cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, there are also several techniques. Some of the techniques used in CBT for addiction include:

  • Identifying negative thoughts
  • Practicing new skills
  • Goal setting
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-monitoring

What Are the Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an umbrella term. Many different types of therapies focus on the connection between thoughts and actions, thus falling into this category of psychotherapy. Some of the other types of CBT for addiction include:

How Long Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Like many types of therapies, there is no set timeline for CBT. On average, a patient will undergo anywhere from 6 to 20 sessions weekly or biweekly. However, this is just the average. Patients may need fewer sessions or more. 

Factors that Decide the Length of Therapy

As mentioned above, there is no single, universal timeline for how long cognitive behavioral therapy takes. This is because each individual has unique needs that many factors can influence.
Some of the factors that decide the length of therapy include:
  • Type of disorder or situation
  • The severity of your symptoms
  • How long you’ve had your symptoms or have been dealing with your situation
  • How quickly you make progress
  • How much stress you’re experiencing
  • How much support you receive from family members and other people

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the main reasons CBT is so utilized is its many benefits. Some of these may include:

  • Support
  • Relapse prevention 
  • Raises Self-Esteem
  • Creation of Positive Thought
  • Anger Management
  • Better Communication Skills
  • Coping Skills Improve
  • Relapse Prevention

Things to Consider and Potential Challenges of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Although CBT is effective, it is still a type of therapy. This means it’s not perfect, and it comes with its pros and cons. While it can be a beneficial treatment option for many people, some may benefit more from a different type of treatment.

Some of the drawbacks or challenges to consider before beginning CBT for addiction include the following:
  • Change can be difficult
  • CBT is very structured
  • People must be willing to change
  • Progress is often gradual

How to Get Started With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If CBT seems like the right choice for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about enrolling in this program. Some of the steps to starting CBT include:
  • Consult with your physician
  • Consider your personal preferences
  • Contact your health insurance 
  • Expect your initial experience to be like a doctor’s appointment
  • Be prepared to answer questions

Get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Ripple Ranch Recovery Center

Starting cognitive-behavioral therapy can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the therapy process. However, you won’t need to do it alone with Ripple Ranch Recovery. Our team of certified healthcare professionals is prepared to guide you along your entire CBT journey, from your first session to your last.

Contact us today to learn more about CBT for addiction at Ripple Ranch Recovery or our other services.