Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — CBT — has been in use at Cornerstone of Recovery since the doors of our facility opened in September 1989. CBT’s roots, however, can be traced back to Greek philosophers who believed that logic could be used to identify and change false beliefs and destructive emotions. In the substance abuse treatment field, it’s used as an effective and evidence-based psycho-therapeutic tool for a number of addiction- and behavior-related issues since the 1960s.

Cornerstone’s Cognitive Behavioral Groups are “specifically designed to address negative thought patterns that influence attitudes, behaviors and feelings; often hindering patients from moving forward toward change,” says master’s level therapist (and doctoral candidate) Danyelle Smith, who employs CBT in her work with Cornerstone’s Newcomer’s Program. “These negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy for patients on their own.”

In other words, Smith says, those with addiction issues have developed maladaptive behaviors – poor coping skills and destructive habits – to cope with the inner beliefs they have about themselves. These beliefs  may stem from toxic relationships, anger issues, verbal and/or physical abuse or clinical depression; regardless of the source, they create distorted beliefs that are attached to intense emotions that influence and motivate maladaptive actions and responses, which in turn lead to emotionally damaging consequences.

The only problem is that those memories are improperly stored; they’re memory fragments, drawn from a place of pain, and the feelings they trigger drive a reaction that often has a cascading effect of negativity. A classic example is when a patient declares himself or herself a “failure.” Such an identification can be a driving force in a number of poor coping skills, from self-harm to substance abuse, but what Smith finds – and what she helps patients discover – is that such a label rarely aligns with reality.

“We look at these labels and where they come from, and what we often find is that a patient’s definition of these defects is based on information they’ve received throughout their lives,” she says. “But do they match up? For example, I’ll have the individual who thinks of themselves as a ‘failure’ to read the dictionary definition of that word, and then I’ll ask them, ‘Does that line up? No? Then take that label off! That’s not you; that’s a label someone put on you.’ That’s the basis for all of CBT.”

The cascade effect is triggered by an event — something the patient is experience at the moment, which pulls the stored memory of a similar event, which precipitates a negative feeling. Those feelings are what drive the behaviors that CBT seeks to change. The CBT process allows patients to change the way they think vs. simply addressing the behavior, Smith said; by changing the thought process, the behavior follows, and the cycle is broken.

But how does CBT relate to addiction?

“We can become addicted to anything we use to regulate ourselves,” Smith says. “Addiction is something we use to fill a void within us. But until we fill that hole with healthy emotional dirt and spiritual fertilizer to produce a healthy fruit, nothing is going to grow.”

There is a spiritual component to CBT, which aligns with the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual approach to Cornerstone’s treatment philosophy. The goal of treatment is to address the root cause of addiction, but while addiction is a problem, it’s not the problem.

“CBT is an internal change, because even if you stop the behavior, it doesn’t change what’s wrong on the inside,” Smith says. “If we don’t treat the underlying ‘dis-ease,’ all we’re doing is treating the symptoms. Our goal is that our patients are happy, healthy, at peace and have everything they need to go out there and be successful when they leave. We believe that when you know better, you do better, and we teach them how to do that.”

The end result of CBT, combined with other therapies and 12 Step work that Cornerstone embraces as part of a multi-faceted approach to substance abuse treatment, is to give patients who seek our help a life of recovery that’s accompanied by happiness, health and peace of mind.

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Services

The Path To Recovery Starts At Cornerstone

Medical Detoxification can be a critical time in a patient’s journey toward recovery because the symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to manage and potentially life-threatening. A team of certified, competent and caring professionals work together to ensure that we provide the best medical care for our patients. The Medical Director prescribes detox medications to keep the patient safe and reasonably comfortable.

While receiving detoxification medications, patients also attend psychoeducational groups and experiential activities. However, detox patients are also given sufficient opportunity to relax and allow their bodies to begin the healing process. Patients on a detox protocol are monitored 24 hours a day and the typical length of detoxification is 3 to 5 days and may be longer depending on the severity of the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

This unit is designed to support our patients as they enter treatment and begin to invest in their community of peers. An extensive battery of assessments is performed to identify the patient’s bio-psycho-social-spiritual strengths, needs, and barriers to recovery (such as chronic pain, dual diagnosis, trauma, or other co-occurring disorders). This comprehensive assessment process provides our medical and clinical teams with much of the information they need to build a treatment plan that is individualized for each patient.

Our NON-NARCOTIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM offers solutions that eliminate and or reduce the dependence on medications to treat pain and improve treatment outcomes. We are able to reduce pain and improve the recovery process. We offer sound information and teach skills that the patient can use to improve coping, relaxation, mindfulness, nutrition, and much more. Some of the modalities we use are Reiki, Rubenfeld Synergy, Acupressure, Mindful Stretching, and Addiction Free Pain Management Education.

We believe healing occurs through direct experience. Experiential activities amplify the traditional therapeutic
modalities that are part of our milieu. Fitness, Meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Yoga, Spirituality Groups, Ropes Course, Mindfulness, Art Therapy, Drumming Circles, and community outings are some components of experiential healing at Cornerstone. Patients who participate in experiential therapies report reductions

Family Therapy is an integral part of all of the clinical programs at Cornerstone. Early on in the treatment process, we conduct a Family Questionnaire which allows family members and close personal friends to have input that impacts the patients treatment plan. When appropriate, there are Family Therapy sessions throughout the treatment process. These sessions are designed to work through relationship issues, enhance communication, educate the family about the disease of addiction and provide them with emotional support while their loved one is in treatment. Through this support, the family will gain knowledge about the treatment process and how they may be unknowingly supporting the addiction through co-dependent and enabling behaviors.

Family members will learn about how to engage in personal growth and change through various 12 step programs, so that the family can heal together trough the recovery process. Cornerstone requires that each patient complete Family Fundamentals, an intensive three-day family program designed to provide intensive education, group therapy, family therapy, 12 step meeting experience, and an opportunity to repair the damage caused by active addiction. Family members are strongly encouraged to attend the Family Fundamentals program along with the patient. Cornerstone also has a weekly family education group for family members and an ongoing support group for parents of young adults who are struggling with addiction or who have recently entered recovery

The Continuous Care Program upholds Cornerstone of Recovery’s treatment philosophy that chemical dependency is a chronic incurable disease that requires the consistent and continued attention of each patient for a lifetime. Recent scientific studies of the disease process have determined that full remission from active addiction does not occur until an individual has experienced at least 18 months of continuous sobriety, long after most intensive treatment programs have concluded.

In response to this knowledge, the Continuous Care Program provides services for a period of at least 18 months following treatment, to ensure that each patient has the opportunity for professional support throughout the early stages of their recovery. During this time, patients are encouraged to practice the skills and tools they learned and developed in treatment as they find their way back
into their home, work, and social environments. They are able to talk with Recovery Coaches and therapeutically
process the ups and downs they experience in sobriety. Active participation in the Continuous Care Program is vital in establishing a lifelong, solid recovery plan.

The Support Living Facility (SLF) provides a safe environment for patients to continue to learn and practice self-management and interpersonal relationship skills while solidifying their recovery program. It can take several months for individuals to become comfortable enough in their recovery to successfully move away from the environment where they got sober. The SLF Program allows men and women to experience some of the freedoms they will experience after treatment while they are supported by thier peers, staff, and a sober environment. Staff monitors the community through regular contact, group therapy, spirituality groups, relapse prevention groups, drug screens, and random checks of the living quarters. Eventually, the patient is allowed to retrieve their cell phone, to leave the premises, operate a vehicle and obtain employment. The minimum length of stay is 2 months (while the individual concurrently is in the IOP Program). Patients often choose to stay in SLF longer while they continue to build their recovery network and become more comfortable with the life changes they’ve made.Typical length of stay varies from 2 to 6 months, depending on the patient’s clinical needs.


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