What Are Examples of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises?

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 11, 2022.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat many types of psychiatric illnesses, including addiction. It recognizes the close relationships between behaviors, feelings and thoughts, encouraging people to adopt new ways of thinking and fresh outlooks. Through cognitive behavioral therapy group and individual activities, people can gain a clearer view of life and improve their response to situations.

5 Examples of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises

Here are five of the top examples of cognitive behavioral therapy exercises and how they work.

1. Identify Constructive and Unconstructive Worrying

Worrying can be helpful if it prepares you to deal with a situation or brings you closer to solving a problem. However, when worrying stokes anxiety and you can't control it, the feelings are not constructive. When you begin to worry, determine if it is constructive worry driving toward some sort of conclusion or unconstructive worry, which just induces stress. If it's the latter, concentrate on letting it go.

2. Try Successive Approximation

Breaking it into smaller steps can help you tackle potentially overwhelming goals, such as ending substance abuse. Instead of thinking about the next week, think about the next day or hour. You can also do a task similar to your goal to reassure yourself you can handle it. Act these scenarios out with a partner.

3. Use Mindfulness Meditation

Living in the present moment helps bring your focus back to what you can do and steer it away from unconstructive worrying. When you step back from needless obsessiveness, you can find peace that helps you solve problems. You can regulate emotions and manage pain associated with substance withdrawal.

4. Embrace Skills Training

You can perform skills training by yourself or in a group setting. It improves skills that may contribute to unhealthy habits. By role-playing, you can determine better ways to react to situations. Skills training may include:

  • Social skills.
  • Assertiveness training.
  • Communication training.

5. Attempt Relaxation Breathing Training

Anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heart rate and shortness of breath. Breathing exercises can help you reduce those physical symptoms and improve clear thinking. Feeling more comfortable can also decrease those symptoms of anxiety.

Get in Touch With Diamond House Detox Today

If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, explore our programs and contact Diamond House Detox to learn more about how cognitive behavioral therapy works in substance recovery.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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