Social Learning in Addiction Treatment

Social Learning in Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment involves the use of techniques and resources to help an individual in recovery.  There is one theory of addiction treatment centered around a theory called social learning.  This theory states that we learn and are influenced by how others behave.  This learning takes place primarily in childhood but can also occur as we get older.

Social learning in addiction treatment uses the approach of exposing individuals to positive behaviors and experiences during treatment.  With this exposure to positive outcomes, it is hoped that the adult in recovery will model these behaviors.

There are several therapies associated with social learning theory including Behavioral Family Counseling (BFC) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  BFC helps family members resolve conflicts, provide support to the addict, and teaches how to give positive reward for abstinence.  Research has found that family support during treatment increases the likelihood of prolonged periods of abstinence.  BFC will also teach interpersonal skills for the addict and their family members including effective communication skills.  During treatment, the family must learn new ways of coping and incorporate strategies that will not only help the addict but also improve overall family functioning.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT helps to improve the addict’s skills in recovery.  There are stressors and challenges that arise during recovery and CBT can provide the self-confidence in dealing with life.  An addict can learn relapse-prevention strategies and find the courage to cope even in difficult situations.  CBT operates as a way to recognize and change faulty thought processes that can keep an addict stuck in negative behavioral patterns.

Social learning and addiction treatment is quite educational.  Addicts can learn how to improve social connections and to reduce risk factors that can lead to relapse.  Addicts have learned through their social interactions about addiction.  As many mental health professionals state, any behavior learned can be unlearned.

Through sharing experiences about the dangers of substance abuse, the addict can begin to think about how negative behaviors can be changed.  Even though social learning is only one way to explain the development and maintenance of addiction, it can provide a way in which to think about treatment.  New behaviors will need to be learned to ensure that an addict has the necessary tools and resources to make informed and positive choices.  The addict can begin to think about their social environments in relation to their addiction, learn how to change, and begin to understand how addiction has destroyed their lives.

At Hired Power, we can help by creating a program of recovery specific to your needs for making positive life choices.  Call today: your future depends on it (800) 910-9299.