Many of the techniques we have looked at so far have a lot in common with cognitive behavioral therapy. As we explained briefly in an earlier chapter, CBT is the psychotherapeutic approach that involves changing the way you think through a two-part process: assessing current thoughts, then replacing them with newer, more positive ones.

What is Cognitive Restructuring?

The general idea behind CBT as a whole is to look at the thought processes that lead to certain behaviours and to then try to alter these. Of course there is a chemical and biological element in many addictions (and in all addictions arguably if you count the brain’s own production of dopamine), but at the same time there is also a psychological aspect too which comes from the ruminations a person might have.

For instance, then someone with an addiction might find themselves often thinking things like “I’m stressed – a cigarette will make me feel better” or “just one piece of chocolate won’t hurt me” or “I can’t stop using drugs” and none of these thought processes will be helpful. Perhaps you think the opposite: “I could stop easily if I chose.”

Cognitive restructuring then is one method that is used in CBT in order to combat these ruminations.

You may even find there are deeper negative thoughts at play: “I don’t care if it kills me” or “no one cares about me.” Perhaps you believe the cigarette or unhealthy behavior is your only source of fulfilment.

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