New Jersey Cognitive Behavioral Addiction Therapy


When it comes to addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most successful options for treatment. It’s also useful as the linchpin for treating the underlying disorders that are so often associated with addiction, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, ocd, panic disorder, and other severe mental illnesses. According to the National Library of Medicine, there are numerous peer-reviewed studies that support the hypothesis that cognitive behavioral therapy is useful in treating these conditions. The library cites McHugh, Hearon, and Otto as a representative paper of the many on the subject.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are several key principles regarding cognitive behavioral therapy. Chief among these is the idea that self-destructive thinking, along with other negative thought processes, are at the core of the patient’s psychological problems. These negative thought patterns lead to negative behavior that eventually becomes destructive. Unchecked, these thoughts and behaviors can lead to catastrophe. The aim of cognitive behavioral therapy is to change behavioral patterns and teach coping mechanisms, reinforce good behavior and thoughts, problem-solving and self-awareness. Additional cognitive behavioral therapy techniques may include journaling, role-playing, engaging in relaxation strategies, homework assignments and using mental distractions over a period of time.

Patients must not only learn that their thoughts and behaviors are destructive, but they also must learn why they are destructive. The self-awareness bit comes in when the therapist teaches the patient critical thinking. Let’s create a hypothetical patient named Joe. An example of this process might be: Joe thinks everything is his fault, but the therapist gives Joe examples of good things Joe has done in the past and evidence that the bad things weren’t Joe’s fault. Joe must evaluate the truth of what he’s being told and modify his thinking and world view to accept the truth and not be self-destructive.

The History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy came about in the 1960s. The man who thought it up was Aaron Beck, and he noticed many of his patients expressed views and opinions about both themselves and the world that were not true. CBT also has roots in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), the brainchild of psychologist Albert Ellis. In assessing these patients, he coined the term “cognitive distortion” and hit upon the idea that depression and other similar conditions weren’t disorders of mood but rather were disorders of cognition. He published several papers up until his definitive work on the subject that was published in 1979: “Cognitive Therapy for Depression.” Since that time, Beck’s work has been the starting point for many other mental-health professionals and scholars as they developed their own treatment plans for their patients.

Treatable Conditions

Aside from the aforementioned depression, anxiety, and addiction disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy is useful in also treating bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder among others. It’s so useful, in fact, that physicians often turn to it to treat physical ailments that are rough on people’s psyches, such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other chronic conditions. In particular, it’s a strong ally in treating chronic pain of various sorts.

The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The No. 1 benefit is that patients can learn to be almost like their own therapists. Because they’ve learned critical thinking skills as part of the therapy, along with coping mechanisms for controlling the erroneous beliefs at the center of their disorders, they can both assess their situation honestly and devise strategies on dealing with any problems. Of course, they’ll need professional support in many situations, which is why a skilled and compassionate therapist is such as asset for these folks.

Butler, Chapman, Forman, & Beck, 2006; Cuijpers, Sijbrandij, et al., 2013, showed that cognitive behavioral therapy was at least as effective as medication in the acute stages of several mental illnesses and much better at preventing relapse over the long term that medication alone. What’s more, this form of therapy does not have any risks or side effects associated with it, which is why it remains the treatment of choice for tackling OCD by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and specialist centers such as the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma (CADAT).

The State of Mental Health in New Jersey

The latest collection of data in the state is from 2021. In New Jersey, one in eight people has a mental-health condition. That’s more than a million people. More than 40% of all people in New Jersey reported symptoms of depression or anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One in five people in New Jersey couldn’t get counseling or therapy. A great number of the folks who couldn’t get mental-health help didn’t get it because of the cost.

The numbers regarding children are particularly sobering. A third of people from 12 to 17 years of age suffer from anxiety disorders. Another third suffer from either mood disorders or behavioral disorders. On top of that, one in six children in New Jersey suffer from depression, and in some cases, those children suffer from multiple mental-health conditions. Almost 40,000 people in New Jersey live somewhere without primary access to mental healthcare. Insurance companies are nine times more likely to force patients out of their covered networks than they are regarding physical healthcare. About one in 12 people in New Jersey don’t even have access to the meager offerings of insurance companies for their healthcare needs.

Why Mental Healthcare is Crucial

Some mental illnesses are merely annoying, but some, such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, not only make a normal life impossible without treatment but might also be life-threatening. Even if we don’t count the possible lethality, untreated mental illness causes almost $200 billion worth of lost wages, not to mention productivity, in the country every year. For people younger than 45, mental illnesses are the No. 3 cause of hospitalizations.

People who suffer from untreated mental illness live, on the average, 25 fewer years than those without such illnesses. The tragedy is that many of these illnesses are fully treatable. Nine in 10 children who complete suicide had an untreated mental illness. More than a third dropped out of high school if they weren’t treated. Being aware of Mental Healthcare, promoting psychological knowledge to improve lives is one of the aims the American Psychological Association.

Available Services in New Jersey

Despite the bleak numbers in New Jersey, there is some hope. For folks with the most serious mental illnesses, there exist mental-health services that are publicly funded. In some cases, even folks who don’t have the most serious mental illnesses can receive free counseling, so it’s a good idea to ask about it. Even if folks don’t qualify for full public funding, there are other programs available that include scaled fees, some coverage under Medicare or Medicaid, and other services. If someone isn’t sure about what’s available, then that person should simply ask.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Role in New Jersey Mental Health

As with anywhere else, cognitive behavioral therapy is one tool in the toolbox of the mental-health professional. In much the same way as every carpenter has a hammer, every therapist has cognitive behavioral therapy in some fashion or another. Even if a practitioner doesn’t use it wholesale, the discipline is broad enough that many schools of mental-health treatment owe something to cognitive behavioral therapy.

This is especially true when it comes to treating addiction. Even addicts know that they shouldn’t be abusing drugs. The trick is in convincing them to look at why they’re taking the drugs. A lot of it has to do with harmful thinking and behavior. It may lead to leaving the real-world and creating their own reality. In many cases, there are triggers that lead to the thoughts and/or behavior. Being able to look at the thoughts and behaviors with both a clear understanding of them and why they’re harmful is the key to successful treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy.

It’s a two-pronged approach, too, because it addresses the underlying conditions that might be contributing to the addiction. Patients learn not only how to control their harmful thoughts and behaviors but also to manage their negative emotions that arise from grief, fear of failure or relapse, dealing with the unfair stigma of mental illness, social anxiety, and chronic pain.

As with any treatment, it’s not a panacea. The most successful treatments go together to help patients. Patients, for example, might need medication in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy. Many will also benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, especially with addiction. Going back to the previous metaphor, even though every carpenter needs a hammer, there are also many other tools in the toolbox even if the carpenter uses them only rarely. Responsible and ethical CBT therapists and mental-health professionals will use what’s best for their patients even if a particular treatment almost never comes up.

Places in New Jersey to Get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Garden State Treatment Center focuses on a treatment plan for each patient that will help provide lifelong recovery. Its focus is on effective treatment for addiction, so in addition to the mental-health treatments, the center provides physical treatments like detox and lessening withdrawal symptoms as well.

The Center for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides not only treatment for individuals and groups, including families, but also consulting services and training for other mental-healthcare providers. Their treatment options are extensive and include treatment for disruptive behavior, autism, tic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive and compulsive disorders, and all of these in relation to certain physical ailments.

The North Jersey Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides comprehensive psychotherapy for adolescents and adults but not younger children. Still, it offers treatment for all of the major groups of mental illnesses and is focused on treatment-life balance. They provide video sessions if people can’t get to the office, which is useful for young adolescents who don’t drive and whose parent or parents work.

The Positive Reset Mental Health Clinic provides not only cognitive behavioral therapy but also other types of therapy. On its website, there is a button to request a consultation, presumably about an evaluation before beginning treatment. Like the Garden State Treatment Center, it handles addiction as well. The clinic also provides transcranial magnetic stimulation in cases where it is warranted.

The Garden State Treatment Center provides patient testimonials on its website. The reviews are glowing and mention that both the program and staff are excellent and that the staff cares deeply for the patients.

How to Access Services in New Jersey

Referrals are a good way for people to find the right kind of mental healthcare they need. Referrals can be from other patients or from a medical doctor. Most of the organizations that provide mental healthcare have a referral option on their websites. The Positive Reset Mental Health Clinic, for example, has a page for each type of referral, and those who refer select a category on a dropdown list.

Aside from treatment centers, there are also mental-health professionals who provide treatment in their private practices. There are both advantages and disadvantages to private practice and treatment centers. Chief among the advantages with a treatment center concerns treatment of addiction, which generally requires a team of folks to implement properly. For cognitive behavioral therapy, either method could be right for you, so it’s a good idea to ask your doctor. Doctors will write referrals to the person or center that they think will be best for their patients. They’ll likely spend most of the first session asking questions and getting to know their patient and their thought processes so treatment can be customized for them.

The Future of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The practice has been around for 60 years and is an invaluable treatment option when it comes to mental illness. Researchers, however, aren’t resting on the practice’s laurels. Instead, they are striving to forge new pathways in treatment. For example, one such study indicates at least a significant level of correlation between cognitive behavioral therapy and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in patients who suffer from depression and maladaptive behavior. Additionally, forms of cbt techniques has been shown to be effective to different degrees, depending on the patients’ situations, in dealing with the chronic fatigue that occurs in some patients who have had COVID-19.


Mental-health professionals and Cognitive Behavioral Therapists rely on cognitive behavioral therapy because it works. As part of a comprehensive treatment program, it will give therapists the opportunity to give their patients the right tools to combat mental-health conditions with general psychiatry and psychology services. As well as to improve self-help ability for the rest of their lives. It’s the kernel at the center of the mental-health treatment programs in New Jersey, and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. If you need help, then seek out a practitioner or a clinic that provides cognitive behavioral therapy. It could save your life.


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Published on: 2019-05-13
Updated on: 2024-02-28