Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Laguna Beach, CA

With addiction and depression on the rise in the US, more people than ever are asking themselves “What is cognitive behavioral therapy?”.

CBT is typically used to treat depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be applied to other areas of mental and physical health.

Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy is proven effective for the treatment of alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) and drug addiction (substance use disorder).

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Psychotherapy is the clinical term for talk therapy. As the informal name suggests, talking forms the backbone of this intervention.

Dr. Aaron Beck founded cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT in the 1960s. He noticed cognitive distortions in the thinking of patients with depression. Through a series of subsequent clinical interventions, Beck pioneered empirically-validated psychological treatment. Today, CBT is the most widely researched form of psychotherapy

Article at a Glance:

Implementing CBT in combination with behavioral interventions helps you to alter your thoughts and behaviors so you can more effectively cope with life’s stressors and problems. 

If you engage with cognitive behavioral therapy, you’ll work closely with a therapist to examine the faulty thinking and behavior that can contribute to substance abuse or mental health issues. 

Unlike some forms of psychotherapy, CBT shines light on your current circumstances rather than probing the past. Cognitive behavioral therapy acknowledges the past but places a strong emphasis on improving current functioning through the application of problem-centered strategies.

Any of the following professionals can lead CBT sessions: 

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Counselor
  • Licensed social worker 

Through CBT sessions, you will become more aware of automatic thoughts and more able to resist acting on those thoughts. Your therapist will help you to confidently differentiate between fact and irrational thoughts. 

Not only will a therapist equip you with the skills to isolate distorted thoughts, but they will also help you create and implement robust coping strategies to use when confronted with stressors. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to establish realistic and attainable goals and to achieve those goals. 

There are several specialized forms of CBT, including: 

  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
  • CBT-SP (cognitive behavioral therapy for suicide prevention)
  • ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)
  • DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)

All of the above cognitive behavioral therapy examples can be useful in specific scenarios.

Why is cognitive behavioral therapy effective? 

Therapists report that CBT is an effective primary treatment method for a variety of conditions, including: 

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Specific phobias
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Substance use disorder 

Even when applied to complex disorders like PTSD, CBT can be effective due to the ability of this form of psychotherapy to address thought processes and intrinsic behaviors. This builds a foundation from which to engage most mental health disorders, from depression to addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the key forms of addiction therapy services when in addiction treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an incredibly effective and useful tool used to treat those with substance use disorder. Addiction often co-occurs with underlying mental health struggles, and if not treated, can result in a much longer recovery time or frequent relapse.

CBT helps to address the root cause of addiction for those with mental health disorders, and equips them with practical skills to manage cravings as well as healthier coping mechanisms and emotional regulation. By targeting both substance use disorder along with mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy provides an excellent framework for breaking the cycle of addiction and creating a foundation for long-term sobriety. 

What Principle Underlies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

According to APA (American Psychological Association), cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the following assumptions: 

  • Problematic patterns of thinking trigger many psychological issues
  • You can learn more constructive patterns of thinking and behaving
  • Using new coping skills, you can reduce the intensity of symptoms
  • If you cultivate new, healthy habits, you can improve daily functioning 

All you need is a short, time-limited course of cognitive behavioral therapy to access all of those benefits.

What to Expect from CBT

Everyone will have a different experience of cognitive behavioral therapy since people engage with CBT for such a wide variety of issues.

Fundamentally, your therapist helps you to isolate the patterns of thinking and behaving that cause problems in your life. The more proficient you become at identifying what triggers you into a self-defeating cycle of automatic behaviors triggering adverse outcomes, the more powerfully you can influence your response to those thoughts and behaviors.

As you practice CBT over time, you should find you can change destructive patterns of thinking, fully regulate your emotions, and alter your behaviors.

A therapist helps you in these three areas:

  • Identification: Your therapist guides you so you can isolate problematic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
  • Recognition: By interrupting those thoughts and actions, you can prevent negative outcomes
  • Management: Using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can benefit body and mind, while also reducing the incidence of self-defeating behaviors

CBT is delivered in both individual and group settings. Increasingly, you also find web-based cognitive behavioral therapy.

What to Expect from CBT Online

For those unable or unwilling to attend a treatment facility, online CBT allows remote access to the same counseling and therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy online will equip you with the same skillset you would acquire through face-to-face interactions with a counselor. Research suggests that web-based CBT could deliver superior outcomes to face-to-face CBT.

You will need an internet connection and access to a smart device or computer, allowing you to undertake virtual therapy sessions to combat addiction or a mental health condition.

CBT online is affordable, effective, and perhaps the most flexible approach to overcoming negative patterns of thinking and behaving.

Examples of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

The best cognitive behavioral therapists draw from an array of techniques, including: 

  • Reframing (cognitive restructuring) to help you view thoughts more positively and productively
  • Unraveling cognitive distortions
  • Calming techniques
  • Stress-reduction techniques
  • Relaxed breathing
  • Guided discovery
  • Exposure therapy
  • Thought record
  • Journaling
  • Role playing
  • Problem-solving

You will use the tools and techniques of CBT in a therapy context and in everyday life. If you feel cognitive behavioral therapy may be beneficial, how can you go about finding the right therapist?

Finding the Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment Center

If you’re looking for the best cognitive behavioral therapy in Los Angeles, you could start by consulting some online databases, for example:

If you intend to pay for therapy through health insurance, your provider may have a network of therapists they can recommend. 

With both addiction and mental health issues so prevalent in the U.S., you might find friends or family can suggest a suitable therapist near you.

Your healthcare provider might be able to refer you to a suitable psychotherapist. 

Finally, an online search should yield all the most reputable psychotherapists in Los Angeles.

Laguna Beach CBT at California Detox

At California Detox, we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as supervised medical detox. 

Our programs are designed for the treatment of alcohol use disorders, substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Whatever the scope and severity of your problem, you can engage with treatment at the right level of intensity. 

Psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction are a core component of all programming. Talk therapy is proven effective for helping you to control your emotions and behaviors more effectively. You will also learn how to respond to stress using healthy coping mechanisms. 

Here at our Laguna Beach treatment center, you’ll have access to these evidence-based therapies in addition to psychotherapy and holistic therapies: 

By the time you leave CBT California Detox, you will have addressed both the physical and psychological components of addiction or mental health issues. You will also have ongoing support, relapse prevention strategies, and a comprehensive aftercare plan in place. 

Recovery is a lifelong process. Cognitive behavioral therapy equips you with the skills to navigate life’s everyday stressors more smoothly. Take the first step on that journey by calling admissions today at (949) 694-8305.


When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy, everyone’s sessions will be different depending on their situation. However, some of the common techniques you may run into include:

  • Guided discovery
  • Exposure therapy
  • Thought record
  • Journaling and more

These are just a few examples of what you might be able to expect from a CBT session.

Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a specialized form of CBT designed to help individuals who have experienced traumatic events. It combines cognitive restructuring techniques with trauma-specific interventions to address the emotional and psychological effects of trauma, aiming to reduce distress and promote healing. TF-CBT typically involves psychoeducation, coping skills development, and processing of traumatic memories in a safe and supportive environment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises are structured activities and techniques that individuals engage in to challenge and change negative thought patterns, modify behaviors, and improve their emotional well-being. These exercises often include identifying and reframing irrational thoughts, setting and achieving behavioral goals, and practicing coping strategies to manage distressing situations.


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