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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Improving Coping Skills

A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP, Kaushik Misra, Ph.D., Amy K. Epner, Ph.D., and Galen Morgan Cooper, Ph.D.

Sometimes life is stressful. Upsetting things happen and create distress. Recovering people seem to have more than their fair share of distress. In order to recover, they will need to learn to cope with these distressing situations. Topics that commonly arise in addictions treatment are relationship problems; shame; guilt; self-centeredness; grandiosity; loneliness and isolation; low self-esteem; stress; parenting problems; employment problems; and the need to be in control when control is not possible. Unless people improve their ability to cope with these distressing circumstances, the risk of relapse remains high. This is because addictive behavior often serves as a person's only coping response. Therefore, recovery needs to focus on developing new coping skills so people do not need to rely on their addiction. Some coping strategies include:

 

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