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.
Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) similar to the 12-Step program? Both are popular approaches for addressing addiction and have their unique characteristics. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences and similarities between these two methods, shedding light on their effectiveness in helping individuals overcome addiction.
Understanding Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a widely recognized therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It is based on the premise that one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected. In addiction treatment, CBT helps individuals recognize the triggers and thought patterns that lead to substance abuse and teaches them coping strategies to manage cravings and avoid relapse.
The 12-Step Program
The 12-Step program, known for its use in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), is a fellowship-based approach. It centers around spiritual and personal growth, emphasizing personal accountability and a reliance on a higher power to guide recovery. Participants work through a set of structured steps, acknowledging their powerlessness over addiction and making amends for past wrongs.
One of the most significant differences between CBT and the 12-Step program is their approach to addiction. CBT is a clinical, evidence-based therapeutic method, while the 12-Step program is a self-help and peer support approach. CBT does not rely on a spiritual component or the concept of a higher power, making it a more secular approach, whereas the 12-Step program incorporates spirituality as a core element.
Despite their differences, CBT and the 12-Step program share some common goals. Both aim to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. They emphasize self-awareness, personal responsibility, and the importance of developing coping strategies to overcome addiction triggers. Moreover, both approaches recognize the need for ongoing support and encourage individuals to seek help from others who have experienced similar struggles.
Effectiveness and Personal Choice
The effectiveness of CBT and the 12-Step program can vary from person to person. Some individuals may respond better to one approach over the other, and many choose to combine elements of both in their recovery journey. Personal preference, as well as the nature and severity of the addiction, play a significant role in determining which method is most suitable.
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.