We know the decision to abstain from substances is only the beginning of the change process. Clients need tools to help them maintain abstinence in both the short and long term. The skills learned in the cognitive-behavioral groups focus on building awareness (i.e., relapse triggers, relapse justifications, cognitive distortions etc.) and enhancing client’s repertoire of coping strategies. There are over 50 skill sets learned in these groups, including many skills related to continually cultivating motivation as well as dealing with underlying problems such as depression or anxiety.
In this group, clients learn and practice effective communication skills as a way to improve the overall quality of their relationships and satisfaction within them. Clients learn strategies for the most effective communication and then practice these skills in real-world conversations with others. Clients learn the skills that increase their chance of being understood, resolve conflict and getting their needs met.
Weekends and unstructured time are typically challenging periods for clients, especially early in the process of making significant life changes. Weekend planning teaches clients how to plan safe and fulfilling weekends. Clients also work towards achieving balance between relaxing and staying structured during periods of free time. In addition, they focus on adding in rewarding activities into unstructured time (to combat boredom and loneliness) and problem-solve around potential weekend challenges (e.g., social events, time alone).
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an established evidence based treatment which is useful in helping people change their relationship with substances and others destructive behaviors. The skills that are taught help with regulating thoughts, emotions, and relationships. In the DBT groups, clients learn mindfulness skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotion regulation skills (i.e., how to recognize and shift how you feel without engaging in harmful behaviors) and distress tolerance (how to bear pain effectively without making already difficult situations worse). Clients have a myriad of opportunities to practice these skills in the outside world and then consult about their experiences in the groups to solidify learning.
At CMC, we know that an essential ingredient to maintaining change over the long haul is having a life you want to protect and respect. To that end, the Moving Forward group is focused on helping clients build a sense of contentment and engagement in their lives. Clients learn the art of goal setting (e.g., how to set goals that maximize the likelihood of achievement). Clients develop practical goals in areas such as work, school, nutrition, exercise and building social supports. For example, clients work on resumes and do job interview role-plays. They also work on ways to have fun sober and expand their lives beyond treatment.