Reality Therapy in First Steps Recovery's Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Reality Therapy in First Steps Recovery’s Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Clinical therapies are vital elements of the recovery process. There are many forms of clinical therapy, each having its own specialization. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), individual and group therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are some of the clinical therapies offered at First Steps Recovery. Clinical therapies, which are sometimes called evidence-based therapies, are offered alongside holistic or experiential therapies at First Steps Recovery. Clients are encouraged to partake in a mix of therapies as part of the whole-person approach. CBT is a clinical therapy that is frequently used during talk therapy sessions at First Steps Recovery. A sub-category of CBT is called reality therapy.

The Importance of Clinical Therapy in Recovery and Healing

Clients recovering from substance addictions are typically offered behavioral therapies, which is a broad category that encompasses those methods that change the mind and behavior. Behavioral therapies include CBT, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, family therapy, and 12-Step programs. While each of these therapies has its own criteria and goals, the overarching purpose of behavioral therapy is to assist clients in handling stressful situations, coping with triggers, and modifying attitudes and behaviors. These therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of any managed medications.

Clients coping with addiction often feel that they have no control over their thoughts and behaviors. This mindset leads to self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse. After a period of time, clients may develop a pessimistic outlook on their lives and the world around them. This can cause clients to lose hope, productivity, and purpose in their lives. Actively participating in behavioral therapies, however, allows clients to regain control over their lives. Rather than feel stuck in life, clients can begin to restructure negative thoughts to produce positive, progressive behaviors and begin healing.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at First Steps Recovery

At First Steps Recovery, CBT is used in many treatment plans. CBT is based on the idea that psychological problems are impacted by unhelpful thinking, learned patterns, and destructive behaviors. What’s more, CBT is based on the idea that those coping with psychological problems can overcome their symptoms and improve functioning by learning and practicing coping skills. The staff at First Steps Recovery aim to help clients unlearn their destructive behavior and thought patterns and implement healthy coping mechanisms and behaviors into their lives. Problem-solving, confidence-building, life preparation, and restructuring thoughts are all elements of CBT.

CBT is a therapeutic approach to substance use disorder (SUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and mental health disorders to encourage healthy behaviors and a happier, more productive life. At First Steps Recovery, this clinical approach is often paired with experiential therapies to further encourage the development and practice of healthy coping mechanisms.

Reality Therapy as Part of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at First Steps Recovery

CBT has different subcategories that focus on specific elements of the therapy. Reality therapy, for instance, is one aspect of CBT that First Steps Recovery emphasizes. This therapy relies on emphasizing accountability in order to promote better behaviors. Reality therapy puts clients in the present moment, bringing them back to their own body and mind. This therapy uses metacognition to reach its goals.

Through reality therapy, clients learn how to accept responsibility and use moral judgment to make decisions. This more concrete way of approaching the present moment helps clients regain control over themselves and their lives. Rather than allow the pessimistic perspective to cloud their thinking, clients use reality therapy to ground themselves in the present moment and hold themselves accountable. Common sense and emotional engagement are two key parts of this therapy.

CBT focuses mainly on the client talking about their thoughts in order to restructure their behaviors. Reality therapy, on the other hand, takes the knowledge from CBT and applies it directly in the moment. The present moment and staying grounded in the present moment is key to long-term recovery success. Engaging with the present moment in a constructive, progressive way allows the client to leave their self-destructive and addictive tendencies in the past and focus on pursuing sobriety in the present.

The Benefits of Reality Therapy for Sustainable Sobriety

In the real world, outside of the recovery facility, clients face numerous stressors, especially right after finishing treatment. These stressors and triggers may come from one’s social life, home life, work life, or other environmental factors. This stress is completely normal. However, clients need to have the skill set to approach these stressors with a calm, controlled mind in order to persevere and sustain sobriety.

Reality therapy also prepares clients to cope effectively with the world around them by building confidence. Similarly to CBT, reality therapy gives clients the ability to build trust in themselves and their decision-making. It is important for clients not to rely on specialists, therapists, or doctors as a crutch. Instead, clients should turn to their team for encouragement and support while feeling confident in their ability to maintain abstinence despite stressors. Reality therapy helps the client build confidence that they can do this.

At First Steps Recovery, we believe that evidence-based, clinical therapies are equally as important as experiential or holistic care. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a major element of the First Steps Recovery treatment program that focuses on restructuring clients’ negative thoughts in order to produce healthier behaviors. A subsection of CBT is reality therapy. Reality therapy uses these skills from the overarching CBT service and then pushes clients a step further. Clients learn how to take accountability and responsibility for their thoughts and actions in the present moment. In the real world, clients will likely face many stressors and triggers. Persevering through these challenges comes from confidence and accountability. To learn more about reality therapy, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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