If the word therapy sends you running for the hills, you’re not alone. At St. Gregory Recovery Center, we understand why many people feel hesitant to begin therapy. It’s intimidating to be vulnerable with a stranger, even when that person is a professional therapist bound by confidentiality. Yet therapy is crucial to a sustained recovery, and we believe that, over time, it may become something you look forward to. At St. Gregory, we use cognitive-behavioral therapy and equine therapy, both of which we describe below.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is an evidence-based form of therapy proven effective for people in recovery from substance use disorder. About two-thirds of everyone who tries CBT reports that it works for them and improves their quality of life.
The main goal of CBT is to change your perspectives and thought patterns so that you can gain a greater sense of control in making decisions and building relationships. Through conversation, your therapist will help you identify your unhelpful, problematic thought patterns and behaviors. Then, you’ll work together to implement strategies to shift your thinking so that it promotes confidence and self-efficacy.
One way your therapist might help you shift your thinking is by posing hypothetical scenarios and then talking through possible responses to those scenarios. You’ll be able to identify your typical response and then practice responding more helpfully. CBT is designed to last between six to 20 sessions; the more you practice the skills you learn, the more benefit you’ll experience. In this way, it’s similar to physical therapy: you don’t get very far in developing new strength or easing pain unless you’re doing the exercises between sessions.
In addition to CBT, we provide equine therapy to our residents because we’re well aware that therapy involving animals decreases stress, reduces blood pressure, and helps generate oxytocin (a naturally occuring chemical that’s largely responsible for feelings of positivity and belonging).
Horses have a unique effect on people. Because they’re highly sensitive and can be heavily influenced by human emotions, people learn to self-soothe in their presence: when you can calm yourself, you can calm the horse. In this way, equine therapy is a healing experience and an awesome way to practice cognitive-behavioral strategies in real time. Horses and the human therapists who work with them can help clients express their emotions and face their fears.
Find the Right Form of Therapy in Iowa
Perhaps you’re well-versed in different types of therapies. Many types of therapy are effective for recovery, and our therapists incorporate elements of other therapy styles as needed, based on individual clients’ needs. Different forms of therapy you may encounter as part of cognitive-behavioral therapy include:
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Acceptance & commitment therapy
Both individual and group therapy are crucial to a healthy, long-term recovery from addiction. St. Gregory chooses therapeutic approaches that are science-based and proven effective. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, don’t hesitate to contact us online today to learn more about how we can help you. We’re here for you and your recovery!