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How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Can Help You Quit Smoking

CBT: An Effective Smoking Cessation Tool

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an incredibly effective therapeutic tool that helps people deal with a variety of emotional health and behavior issues… including smoking.

Quitting smoking can be a scary thought, especially if you use smoking as a way to battle stress or cope with difficult situations. Self-defeating thoughts are also common amongst smokers who feel like they could never quit, or that the damage is already done.

But, what if you could learn how to handle stress without cigarettes and beat those negative thoughts? Hint: You can — and that's where cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) comes in.

What is CBT & how does it work?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is based on the premise that our thoughts become our reactions and responses to the world around us. CBT takes a solutions-minded approach to treatment, meaning it teaches you new coping skills, how to solve problems, and more. In a way, CBT is like learning how to be your own therapist.

Why is this sort of approach so helpful when it comes to changing our behavior? Simply put, we aren't always aware of the connection between our thoughts/emotions and behaviors. Unlike other forms of therapy, CBT focuses on your present challenges and their solutions (like how to quit smoking), not on things that have happened in the past.

If you're interested in learning more about CBT, I highly recommend this post from our blog archives: Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Learn the Skills to Unpack Emotional Baggage .

How CBT can help you quit smoking

Before we dive into the specifics, I need to provide a disclaimer: You probably won't be able to quit smoking using CBT alone. It's best combined with nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medication. When these two therapies are combined, success is much more likely.

As you work with a therapist trained in CBT techniques, you'll:

  • Learn how to increase your confidence so that quitting smoking feels like a realistic goal you can tackle.
  • Discover new, effective ways to cope with stress and the desire to smoke.
  • Identify the triggers that cause you to smoke. You'll also brainstorm ways to avoid those triggers and train your brain to respond differently.
  • Explore any doubts you have about quitting. If the people around you smoke, for example, you might be ambivalent about quitting.

Your therapist will also give you “homework assignments” to complete in between sessions. These assignments are a great way to practice what you're learning, even if you “mess up” and have a cigarette. (You'll also learn how to not judge yourself so harshly, because quitting smoking is hard , and no one is perfect.)

Are you ready to quit smoking?

If you're ready to quit smoking, congratulations! It's a tough decision and the road ahead won't be easy, which is why so many people enlist the help of a professional.

If you'd like to learn more about using CBT to quit smoking, I welcome you to get in touch with Foundations Counseling today . Quitting cold turkey and completely on your own is incredibly difficult, but a counselor with experience in treating addiction can teach you invaluable skills that lead to lifelong changes.