Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment approach that takes as a premise the fact that thoughts, which assign meaning to the environment, precede and determine behavior. In trying to correct maladaptive behavior, the goal of the therapist is to facilitate a change in their clients’ cognition and to help them develop self-regulation and coping skills. This is accomplished by helping the client become aware of the various stimulus cues that they perceive at the onset of the decision-making process and by encouraging them to react to those cues in a manner that is consistent with their behavioral goals.
In the CBT perspective, behavioral outcomes are the product of motivational factors and coping skills rather than environmental variables, which makes this approach particularly valuable in an inpatient setting. Concern is always given, for instance, to the sustainably of one’s sobriety once they leave treatment and return to the previous social setting where the substance abuse originated. Although this is clearly a cause for concern and part of any comprehensive relapse prevention plan includes strategies to avoid situations that may trigger a desire to use drugs or alcohol, post discharge success is determined by how effective treatment was in renovating the primary relationship the individual has with these substances and of their ability to cope with life without them. The latter is more essential, as success ultimately boils down to whether or not a client has acquired some new skill set during the treatment process with respect to coping with future stressors. For this reason, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is designed to remediate deficits in skills for coping and is instrumental in providing a framework in which the individual can analyze the antecedents to problematic behavioral patterns and develop mechanisms that prevent their enactment.
Petty Creek Ranch uses CBT as a means to help our clients develop these skill sets which will enable them to achieve a healthier lifestyle. We believe that the cognitive-behavioral approach promotes lasting change because it addresses the root cause of maladaptive behavior and allows our boys to create person-centered alternatives that are more authentic and self-directed. In addition to affecting personal agency and self-empowerment, CBT enables clients to overcome environmental factors and to develop a resiliency that will help them succeed when they leave our program and return home. As a leading evidence-based treatment modality for adolescents, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can help struggling young men deal not only with substance abuse issues but also with anger management, divorce reaction, sibling rivalry, impulsivity, and depression.