You may have heard of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and 12-Step therapy, but maybe the lines between the two are somewhat blurred. Which one is better in different situations? Is CBT similar to 12 Step? What are some CBT and 12-Step differences? While CBT offers many benefits to patients, a 12-Step approach can as well.
The 12-Step approaches to addiction treatment today are based on the original 12-Step model used during Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. If you or a loved one needs the support that either of these therapies provides, contact The Bluffs by calling 850.374.5331.
Is CBT Similar to 12-Step Therapy?
While many experts cite some similarities between the two, many are quick to also point out some important differences. In order to understand them, we need to clarify what each of the two types of therapy is.
What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
CBT offers patients the chance to heal from the physical and emotional toll that addiction takes on their health. With this type of talk therapy, patients can:
- Learn anger management skills
- Create positive modes of thinking
- Heal emotional wounds
- Acquire healthy coping mechanisms
With CBT, patients recognize and change negative and unhelpful behavior and thought patterns. It teaches patients how to manage situations by changing the way they think and act. By changing their thought patterns, people can be treated for obsessive-compulsive disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety, and more.
What Is a 12-Step Program?
The 12-Step program has been recognized as an effective treatment for people with addictions, and it has long since gained traction. The program requires a patient to have a great deal of dedication and motivation.
The 12-Step process used at The Bluffs is based on the belief that addiction can be overcome with the help of a higher power, as patients accept responsibility for their addiction, make amends for actions of their pasts, and commit to sobriety.
The main goal of the 12 Steps is to strengthen a person’s will and determination to gain freedom from addiction in a healthy, positive way.
CBT and 12-Step Differences
12-Step therapy adopts many of the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, one of the biggest differences between the two is that CBT focuses on empowering patients to change their own lives, while the traditional 12-Step Program used in AA empowers the group as a whole. The need for people to support and rely on others during recovery is emphasized in the 12 Steps.
There are benefits to both therapies. Since AA members who use the 12-Step approach can lean on other members of their group, members tend to stay fiercely loyal to one another, even if they slip into relapse.
The 12-Step program also promotes labeling by having group members call themselves addicts. Some mental health professionals who use CBT hesitate to promote this, however, believing that it sends the wrong message to a patient who is already in a fragile state.
On the other hand, labeling oneself as an addict is meant to “open the door” to treatment, with the idea that people cannot fully begin to heal until they admit that there is a problem.
CBT with 12-Step Therapy at The Bluffs
The 12-Step program can be used along with other types of therapy, including motivational interviewing, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and CBT. Using CBT and 12-Step therapy in an integrated approach to treatment allows patients to gain acceptance and responsibility, which are vital elements of both treatment approaches.
Both therapies work to recognize and replace beliefs that are dysfunctional for the patient, and both also help patients learn to cope using healthy, positive mechanisms. If you or someone you care about needs addiction therapy, contact The Bluffs today at 850.374.5331.