Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a popular psychotherapeutic technique used to help people during the rehab process. Although it is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, the intervention can be utilised to manage a range of mental and physical health disorders.

CBT therapy

What is cognitive behavioural therapy?

CBT bases itself on the concept that feelings, thoughts, physical sensations and actions are interdependent. The practice aims to manage problems by changing how individuals think about them, reducing the psychological symptoms of a disorder. CBT has been shown to help people cope with the symptoms of many different conditions, including addiction.

What should I expect from CBT during rehab at Linwood House?

Our therapists use CBT as a way to disrupt the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings that lead to substance abuse. By breaking down specific problems into smaller parts, CBT aims to help deal with overwhelming issues more positively. CBT during addiction rehab can change the way you respond to stressors, giving you healthier ways to manage them while also improving overall well-being.

Unlike other kinds of talking therapies that dive into the client’s past issues, CBT deals with current problems. The technique does this by looking at practical ways to improve the person’s state of mind. Some of the main aims of CBT include:

  • Discover how your current situation/triggers and thoughts influence your emotional and physical health and behaviours.
  • Gain self-awareness by identifying, evaluating and responding to dysfunctional thoughts, feeling and beliefs in order to change behavioural patterns relating to substance abuse.
  • Self-discovery through awareness of potential situations and triggers that push you to drink or take drugs.
  • Gain tools to support healthier coping mechanisms to manage triggers, cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Look at tools for positive behavioural change which will support your ongoing recovery throughout treatment and beyond.

CBT therapy - CBT session 1

CBT is incorporated into group sessions at Linwood House and may also be used in one-to-one sessions depending on a client’s individual needs as identified in their initial care plan and one-to-one session and through their treatment journey. During the group sessions, which involve process groups, assignment groups and workshops, your therapist will work with you to change your thinking and behaviours through questioning and challenging in the group sessions.

They will also help you develop your continued care plan that you will follow in the coming weeks and years. Some questions that may be asked to better understand your situation include:

  • What were you doing right before substance abuse occurred?
  • How did you feel at that moment?
  • Did anything positive result from this behaviour?
  • What were the negative consequences of substance abuse?

Our therapists will use this discussion to help you decide how to move forward and change your ingrained patterns of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. We will then help you apply this approach to your daily life and challenge negative ideas and feelings when they arise.

Key components of CBT in addiction rehab

Situation (distressing situation/trigger)

Identifying troubling situations or triggers and building awareness i.e co-existing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression or factors such as grief, anger, divorce, which causes the person to have negative thoughts.

At Linwood House, these triggers are identified in group therapy through delivery of assignments and also through weekly one-to-one therapy.

Thoughts (Identifying negative/ dysfunctional thought patterns)

  • Recognising that your thoughts are opinions and being able to distinguish between facts and irrational thoughts.
  • Is your thinking based on fact or perception?
  • Getting clients to question their thoughts and evaluate their thinking by identifying and challenging negative thought patterns.

In group therapy clients share thoughts about their addiction and negative thought patterns can be identified. Feedback is provided by client peers and therapists. Journaling feelings and thoughts is also a great outlet for self-reflection and identifying thought patterns through daily diary sheets.

Emotional (emotions and beliefs)

CBT therapy - CBT session 2

  • Thoughts based on beliefs which may be untrue unrealistic or impossible to live up to.
  • Beliefs about themselves/other people/events and the effect they have on you.
  • Sitting with emotions taking time to recognise and not reacting straightaway.

We encourage journaling feelings and thoughts, regulating emotions through mindfulness / grounding techniques and gaining alternative coping skills.


Recognise patterns between thoughts, feelings and actions and how these are affecting physical health whether that be anxiety, depression, quality of sleep or anger.

We offer therapy alongside clients’ own prescribed medication to support co existing mental health, sleep hygiene, grounding techniques/mindfulness.


  • Current negative reactions to situations/trigger/negative thoughts/feelings
  • Reshape negative behaviours -understanding addictive behaviours looking at changing the things which are self-sabotaging
  • Inaccurate thoughts leading to negative behaviours – alter negative thoughts and behaviours to be more rational
  • Be more present
  • Set achievable goals
  • Develop positive perspective of situations
  • More resilient and in control of a situation
  • Regulate emotions
  • Learn from any mistakes and move forward
  • Looking at healthier alternative coping mechanisms
  • Positive emotions – new coping skills help deal with stressors, cravings, relapse
  • Deal with daily stressors in a more constructive way

At Linwood House, we offer the tools to support behavioural change identified through delivery of step assignments, process groups and workshops and one-to-one work. Alongside ongoing support including alumni check in calls and support, weekly online aftercare and online family groups.

Take the next step with Linwood House

At Linwood House, we take a holistic approach to healing, meaning the whole person’s wellbeing is looked at, not just a particular symptom of the condition. For this reason, we offer a wide range of complementary therapies for our inpatients to participate in alongside CBT treatment. This may include sound therapy, acupuncture, self-guided meditation and other mindful practices. The expert staff at Linwood House approach every individual with respect and understanding in their quest to help them to address their addiction as part of their recovery journey.

Contact Linwood House today for more information on how we can support you and get your life back on track.

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