To assist our clients in reclaiming their lives, here at Empowered Recovery Center, we offer a range of behavioral therapy options to help clients struggling with addiction.
What Is Behavioral Therapy?
Behavioral therapy is a term used for several different types of therapy that focus on altering certain behaviors and thought patterns. They work on the principle that behaviors are learned and can be changed into positive actions.
Behavioral therapy covers many therapeutic approaches, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) - CBT focuses on how clients’ beliefs and behaviors influence their actions. It aims to change harmful behavior.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) - While similar to CBT, DBT helps clients manage their emotions and cope with distress.
- Aversion therapy - Often used to treat substance abuse disorders (SUD), aversion therapy teaches clients to associate a harmful behavior with an
- unpleasant stimulus, such as a thought or feeling.
- Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) - REBT encourages clients to identify negative thoughts and challenge them with rational ones.
- Exposure therapy - This form of therapy exposes clients to phobias or fears while employing relaxation techniques to reduce or eliminate these fears.
How Behavioral Therapy Works
Various techniques are employed throughout the delivery of behavioral therapies to facilitate long-term change. Among these techniques are two forms of conditioning. These include classical and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning takes a behavior and pairs it with a stimulus to reinforce positive or negative feelings. Techniques include:
- Flooding - Often used to treat phobias and anxiety, flooding exposes a person to objects or situations that they are afraid of. This happens quickly and is somewhat intense, hence the name.
- Systematic desensitization - In this technique, clients are exposed to something that they are afraid of. They are then taught to relax when focusing on them. This helps to desensitize them as they confront individual fears one at a time.
Operant conditioning takes a different approach to classical conditioning and instead focuses on reinforcement and punishment to encourage behavioral change. Techniques include:
- Contingency management - This technique takes the form of a written contract between therapist and client. Outlining goals, rewards, and penalties, contingency management encourages clients to change their behaviors as everything is written out clearly and concisely.
- Extinction - Extinction is the process of eliminating harmful behaviors by taking away what the person finds rewarding. An example of extinction is a child placed in time out to remove the attention they find rewarding. This eventually conditions them to withdraw from negative behaviors.
These techniques can be highly effective in encouraging positive behavioral changes. By using methods such as the ones above, the goals of behavioral therapies are:
- To keep clients engaged in treatment
- To positively change attitudes and behavior to aid the achievement of goals
- To improve life skills
- To provide compelling incentives for maintaining sobriety
When behavioral therapy commences, the first few sessions focus on determining whether this particular type of therapy is suitable for the individual in question. If one of our skilled therapists believes that behavioral therapy is not the most appropriate form of therapy for an individual, they will likely recommend a different type of therapy.
What Can Behavioral Therapy Help With?
Drug or alcohol abuse
Considered highly effective in treating the conditions noted above, here at Empowered Recovery, we incorporate behavioral therapies into all of our rehab programs to equip our clients with lifelong skills. These therapies are also employed to promote long-term recovery.
Behavioral Therapy and Addiction
In addition, aversion therapy is commonly used in substance abuse treatment programs. It coaches clients to associate the substance being abused with a negative stimulus and discourages them from using it.
While we include behavioral therapy in each treatment program, we know that recovery doesn’t end here. As a result, all of our clients are provided with one year of free recovery coaching upon completing a treatment program.
Benefits of Behavioral Therapy
Used by many practitioners, behavioral therapy has many benefits, including:
- Improved self-esteem
- Healthier coping strategies
- Better communication with friends and family members
- Facilitates long-term recovery and change
- Develops new ways of considering problems
- Improved life skills to incorporate into daily life
Furthermore, behavioral therapies such as CBT and DBT are highly structured, and they can be carried out in both one-to-one and group settings. Participating in group therapy can be daunting for many, yet the benefits of doing so are substantial. For this reason, we encourage all of our clients to attend group therapy and support groups.
Risks of Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapies are generally very low risk, but some possible chances of adverse effects may arise. These include:
- Anxiety from working with fears in exposure therapy
- Feeling anxious and uncomfortable while confronting difficult thoughts or emotions
- Feeling physically drained after long or hard sessions
However, working with a skilled therapist at Empowered Recovery minimizes these risks considerably. By addressing these uncomfortable feelings and emotions, our clients have the chance to learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage these fears and issues.
Behavioral therapy also has some limitations that may make it unsuitable for some people. Treatments such as CBT and REBT focus on changing the client's behavior. If issues are arising within the family system or elsewhere, behavioral therapy may not be suitable. In this instance, therapy such as family therapy may be beneficial.
We know that behavioral therapy may not be for everyone, which is why we closely assess each client to offer the best therapy for them. Our medical and clinical professionals will be on hand to help you as you progress through your recovery in any way possible. They will also provide full access to support groups, individual therapy, and family therapy.