Patients who present with substance use disorders are a highly heterogeneous group in terms of co-morbid problems, the range of substances used, personal resources, pre-morbid functioning, and readiness for change. Nonetheless, these patients often have important factors in common, such as difficulties in managing cravings and urges, faulty beliefs that perpetuate their abuse of substances, mood instability, and fluctuations between feeling “in control” of their problems and feeling hopeless and desperate. This workshop presents evidence-based, cognitive behavioral methods for helping substance-abusing patients improve their motivation to change, identify and moderate their drug-use-related beliefs, manage their cravings more effectively, improve their mood states via self-help methods, and utilize a range of adaptive skills (e.g., responding to unhelpful cognitions, honest communication).

This experiential workshop covers the essentials of cognitive behavior therapy for mental health professionals who treat substance abuse disorders in individual and group settings.

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Workshop Curriculum

Day 1: CBT for Substance Use and Techniques

  • The CBT model as applied to substance abuse treatment: structure, goals, relationship to 12-step, stages of change, motivational interviewing
  • Targets for intervention as per the model
  • The therapeutic relationship
  • Confronting denial
  • Specific Techniques:Daily Thought Records, Activity Monitoring Planning, The D & D Technique

Day 2: Techniques and Managing Crises

  • Specific Techniques: Personal Skills Enhancement, Creating a higher standard, Engaging in Altruism
  • Participant role-plays
  • Managing co-morbidity and crises

Day 3: Group Format

  • Overview of group therapy with a focus on factors related to group cohesiveness and process
  • Cognitive-therapy addictions groups with extended demonstration
  • Specific cognitive-therapy addictions groups techniques
  • Small group role-plays
  • Special issues

Workshop Objectives

  1. Conceptualize substance abuse according to the cognitive model;
  2. Discuss evidence-based interventions for substance abuse;
  3. Identify, evaluate, and moderate patients’ dysfunctional substance-use-related beliefs (including “permission-giving” beliefs);
  4. Integrate cognitive-behavioral principles with 12-step ideas and values in ways that are congruent;
  5. Utilize confrontational methods with a collaborative, congenial spirit;
  6. Apply a range of cognitive-behavioral techniques (and their related homework assignments) to help patients decide not to drink or use substances, even when they experience cravings or otherwise wish to self-medicate;
  7. Apply cognitive-behavioral techniques (and their related homework assignments) to deal with the patients’ co-morbid problems such as mood disorders and anxiety disorders;
  8. Adapt CBT for substance abuse to a group format;
  9. Incorporate strategies for building group cohesiveness, trust, and active engagement;
  10. Apply cognitive restructuring techniques in a group format;
  11. Apply coping skills training in a group format.

Recommended Reading

Applicant Prerequisite

This workshop is appropriate for those with an intermediate to advanced level knowledge in the mental health or medical field.

Doctorate or master’s degree (or equivalent degree for practitioners outside of the US) in a mental health, medical, or related field. Core 1 Workshop recommended.

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