What is “CBT” & How Does It Help the First Responder?

By Shannon Clairemont – First Responder & Family Wellness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) encourages first responders in recovery treatment to recognize and stop negative patterns of thinking and behavior. Since our cognition affects our well-being, changing harmful thought patterns is essential. The essence of CBT is an assumption that a first responders mood is directly related to his or her patterns of thought. For example, CBT can help first responders be aware of the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead to substance misuse so that the one can avoid them or act differently when they occur. Negative, dysfunctional thinking affects a person’s mood, behavior, self-worth, and even physical state. The goal of CBT is to help first responders learn to recognize negative patterns of thought, evaluate their validity, and replace them with healthier ways of thinking.

An Effective Treatment

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also very instrumental in helping to prevent relapse when treating problem drinking and  drug addiction. Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that in the development of mal-adaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role. Individuals in CBT learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills that can be used to stop drug abuse and to address a range of other problems that often co-occur with it.

The Principles of CBT

CBT is an evidenced-based treatment modality, and is present-oriented, problem-focused, and goal-directed. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides the following benefits:

  • Exploring the first responders patterns of behavior leading to self-destructive actions, and the beliefs that direct these thoughts.
  • Helping first responders formulate coping strategies to handle potential stressors or difficulties following addiction treatment.
  • Skills that are useful, practical and helpful strategies that can be incorporated into the first responders everyday life.
  • Sessions that are augmented with homework outside of them using proven-to-be-effective workbooks.
  • Ability to be provided in group and individual therapy.
  • Allowing first responders and therapists to work together in a therapeutic relationship to identify harmful thought patterns and actively seek alternate thinking

A History of Effectiveness

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a general classification of psychotherapy, and several approaches to CBT fall within this classification. The first discrete, intentionally therapeutic approach to CBT to be developed was Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), which was originated by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. in the mid-1950’s. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) was later pioneered by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, while he was a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Beck designed and carried out several experiments to test psychoanalytic concepts of depression, as he studied and practiced psychoanalysis.

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Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008