Cognitive Theory and Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment

Abstract Significant cognitive theories are discussed that tend to play a major role in substance abuse treatments. Their common concepts are extracted and synthesized for the purpose of relating it to the relevant research about how they are applied to the development and treatment of addictive behavior. Cognitive therapy is largely based on the work of Aaron T. Beck’s treatment for depression (Beck, 1976; Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979; Beck, Wright, Newman, & Liese, 1993). It has been shown to be an effective form of intervention when dealing with anxiety disorders, panic disorders (Beck, Emery, & Greenberg, 1985), eating disorders, substance abuse, and dissociative disorders. A highly flexible modality, cognitive therapy has been proven successful when used in both short and long term interventions and with a variety of patients: adults, adolescents, children, couples, and groups. To be effective, cognitive forms of therapy require that the patient be active in the process, able to work with an educational type format, and willing to make changes. Central to the therapeutic modalities associated with cognitive therapy (i.e., rational-emotive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and transactional analysis) is the concept that thoughts affect feelings. This construct implies that it is the emotional tones and expectations that one learns to associate with specific events that create problems rather than the events themselves that cause distress. Therefore, the goals of such therapies consist of...

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