Cognitive Therapy for Substance abuse and RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY (REBT) have a long history of helping individuals overcome addictions and substance abuse problems. In fact it was Jack Trimpy, the founder of Rational Recovery, (the first alternative substance abuse program to AA 12-step types programs) who was himself effectively treated personally by the originator of “Rational Emotive Therapy”, Dr. Albert Ellis. Some years later, SMART Recovery was born and now offers hundreds of meetings based on the scientific principles of REBT to those suffering with alcohol and drug problems.
Cognitive Therapy for substance abuse has the goal of helping individuals use their own inner resources and develop cognitive and behavior skills to stop substance abuse without relying on a higher spiritual power or on a life long dependency or group meetings .
Having trained with Dr.Ellis at the Institute for Rational Emotive in 1980-81, I eventually published a number of self-help books in the addictions field based largely on a cognitive-behavioral approach including: “The Pocket Therapists Guide for Problem Drinking”, “Freedom from Alcohol”,”Drug Awareness” and related books like, Freedom from Tobacco” and “Weight Management”. These educational self help guidebooks are best used in conjunction with a cognitive oriented individual program or group program like SMART Revovery.
While AA and 12 step approaches have helped a great many individuals, not everyone has been helped. Because of its faith based approach, needing to admit powerlessness etc, many individuals have preferred and done quite well with a cognitive therapy for substance abuse approach that emphasizes self-responsibility and self-empowerment through rational thinking and emotional problem solving. I use this approach in my private practice and have taught SMART facilitators how to use it with their group members in the past.
Recognizing that “one size doesn’t fit all” and that providing a variety of effective options will eventually help the largest number of people get well and stay well, SMART and CBT related approaches have made a significant impact in the addictions and substance abuse fields.
For more information on this topic, please go to www.cognitivetherapy.cc