Behavioral Therapy Techniques

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Young woman in a behavioral therapy session

Behavioral therapy is often the bedrock of addiction recovery. Utilizing a number of techniques and approaches, this form of therapy can help patients in many ways. Explore some of the most relevant and effective behavioral therapy techniques.

Aversion Therapy

Young woman in a behavioral therapy sessionBehavioral therapies come in many different varieties. One of the most common of these therapies is known as aversion therapy. This technique is a kind of reconditioning where patients receive an unpleasant reaction to a problematic behavior.

Aversion therapy isn’t a new concept in the world of addiction treatment. In fact, many medicines rely on this methodology. For example, some patients take prescription medications that make them throw up after drinking alcohol.

In the context of one-on-one therapy, therapists target aversion therapy specifically to the needs of the patient. Sometimes, the negative feedback is a small physical stimulus, such as a mild electric shock. While not painful, a medical professional may administer this small shock when patients discuss their favorite bar or their favorite time to abuse drugs.

The goal of aversion therapy is to reshape feelings about dangerous behaviors. Instead of associating drugs or alcohol with happiness, individuals in recovery will associate them with unpleasant feelings.

Systematic Desensitization

Another form of therapy that medical professionals use is systematic desensitization. This approach takes the fears of patients and slowly builds up to conquering them. This can be helpful, particularly for those patients who have turned to addiction as a result of trauma.

Some men and women use addictive substances as a means of self-medication. They may have rational or irrational worries and fears that lead them to substance abuse and addiction. Systematic desensitization can combat that.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

One uplifting form of behavioral counseling is motivational enhancement therapy. For this approach, patients discuss their own personal motivations. For example, a young mother might be encouraged to pursue recovery to care for her child.

During motivational enhancement therapy, therapists focus on ways that patients can develop motivation. There’s an emphasis on the positive effects of recovery, rather than the negative effects of continued addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Arguably one of the most popular and widely used methods of treatment for addiction is cognitive behavioral counseling. This approach is about identifying and then combatting problematic behaviors.

This approach places an emphasis on self-awareness. It’s an internal search to isolate those behaviors that might be leading to addiction.

A big part of CBT is creating coping mechanisms. For example, a person might notice that stress causes their drug cravings to increase. Coping mechanisms to help avoid stress could include not driving in rush hour traffic or taking 30 minutes to meditate every morning.

When it comes to addiction mental illnesses are often a problem. Even when mental health isn’t a concern, behavioral therapy techniques along with group therapy can be critical to lasting recovery. At The Hills Treatment Center, we use a wide range of behavioral therapy techniques. Contact us at 844-915-0287 if you’re ready to begin recovery and say goodbye to your active addiction once and for all.

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