(CBT) is based on the assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, the goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of reacting. Many of the CBT principles adopt stoicism: the emotional indifference, especially admirable patience and endurance shown in the face of adversity. The therapist’s goal is to conduct treatment sessions in a way that promotes the persons self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth while teaching him or her to unlearn problematic behavior and replace it with more helpful behavior.
No one would dispute the fact that addictive behavior is problematic; however, unlearning it is an impossible task since addiction is not a learned response! My experience has taught me that the root cause of addiction is the emotional trauma caused by family dysfunction. This emotional trauma directly relates to the addicted persons self-esteem, and for all intent and purposes can be defined as a self-esteem issue. Self-esteem is defined as having self-respect and confidence in your own merit as an individual person. So, how does one obtain a greater sense of self worth or a high level of self-esteem? Is it a commodity that can be purchased, a fruit that can be plucked from a tree, or a behavior that can be learned? Well, the proponents of (CBT) would have you believe that it can be learned, but I beg to differ with that hypothesis. Self-esteem can not be learned, purchased, or discovered through external modification or stimuli. You see, possessing confidence and merit as a person is a product of self-love, and that comes from within. However, self-respect and self-love must be propagated by the fuel of liberation! Liberation is defined as achieving freedom from traditional socially imposed constraints. In regard to addiction, these socially imposed constraints are directly related to family dysfunction. Ironically, (CBT) principles are based on stoicism which promotes the passive approach of patience and endurance in the face of adversity. In my opinion, this approach is not only fundamentally amiss but is also dangerous, and the very reason why many develop an addiction to anti depressants! How can the addicted person gain his or her self-respect by taking a stoic and passive approach by disconnecting from the dysfunctional patterns that caused the addiction in the first place?
Addiction counselors who employ (CBT) generally combine it with the support of a 12-step group program. This is not only counterproductive, but it also exacerbates the before-mentioned misguided stoic approach. The (CBT) model also outlines depression as a fundamental of psychological dysfunction, whereby describing it as hopelessness and a feeling of being powerless to change a situation. Ironically, the 12-step program promotes self-incrimination and powerlessness. Bombarding group members with shame and guilt, this program instills the inferior beliefs of personal shortcomings and defects of character. In my opinion, this is not only counterproductive, but it is also dangerous.
In summary, the primary purpose of (CBT) is to teach addicted people to modify their problematic behavior by unlearning and replacing it more helpful behavior, which is supposed to lead to an increase in self-esteem. But, taking a stoic approach to a problem that requires liberation and empowerment is absolutely absurd and hypocritical as well. The very concept of (CBT) undermines and contradicts the psychotherapy community’s basic understanding of self-esteem. I wonder if the proponents of (CBT) deal with their own emotional issues by taking a stoic approach and sweeping them under the rug! Last time I checked, disconnecting from a problem, ignoring it, and sweeping it under the rug does not liberate you from it and nor does it promote self-respect! The pile under the rug keeps growing until one falls flat on their face!!
The Addiction Freedom Coach