Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse

Patients who present with substance abuse problems are a highly heterogeneous group in terms of co-morbid problems, the range of substances used, personal resources, pre-morbid functioning, and readiness for change. Nonetheless, these patients often have important factors in common, such as difficulties in managing cravings and urges, faulty beliefs that perpetuate their abuse of substances, mood instability, and fluctuations between feeling “in control” of their problems and feeling hopeless and desperate. This workshop presents evidence-based, cognitive behavioral methods for helping substance-abusing patients improve their motivation to change, identify and moderate their drug-use-related beliefs, manage their cravings more effectively, improve their mood states via self-help methods, and utilize a range of adaptive skills (e.g., responding to unhelpful cognitions, honest communication).

This experiential workshop covers the essentials of cognitive behavior therapy for mental health professionals who treat substance abuse disorders. Under the direction of Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., and led by Cory F. Newman, Ph.D. and Amy Wenzel, Ph.D., participants will learn how to:

  • Conceptualize clients’ dysfunctional substance use via the cognitive model;
  • Identify, evaluate, and moderate patients' dysfunctional substance-use-related beliefs (including "permission-giving" beliefs);
  • Integrate cognitive-behavioral principles with 12-step ideas and values;
  • Combine confrontational methods with a collaborative, congenial spirit;
  • Apply a range of cognitive-behavioral techniques to help patients choose not to use substances, even when they experience cravings or otherwise wish to self-medicate;
  • Address co-morbid problems such as mood disorders and anxiety disorders;
  • Conduct CBT for substance abuse in a group format.

Techniques for treating substance abuse will be illustrated through video, roleplays and worksheets. The workshop features a special question and answer and role-play session with Dr. Aaron Beck. Participants are encouraged to prepare or have in mind cases for discussion or role-play.

[This training is geared towards certification in CBT through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and includes 18 CE/CME credits]

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Recommended Reading


Applicant Prerequisite:

Doctorate or master's degree (or equivalent degree for practioners outside of the U.S.) in a mental health, medical, or related field. Core 1 Workshop recommended.

Workshop Duration:

3 Days, Mon-Wed: 8:45am - 4:00pm

Workshop Location:

Beck Institute | Directions


Cory Newman, Ph.D.

Amy Wenzel, Ph.D.




18 credits

Workshop Curriculum:

Days 1 & 2: CBT for Substance Abuse

  • The CBT model as applied to substance abuse treatment: Structure, goals, and relationship to 12-step, stages of change, and motivational interviewing
  • Targets for intervention as per the model
  • The therapeutic relationship
  • Confronting denial
  • Specific techniques
  • Participant role-plays
  • Managing co-morbidity and crises

Day 3: CBT for Substance Abuse: Group Format

  • Overview of  group therapy with a focus on factors related to group cohesiveness and process
  • Cognitive therapy addictions groups with extended demonstration
  • Specific cognitive therapy addictions groups techniques
  • Small group role plays
  • Special issues

Trainees receive a letter verifying participation in this program.


IAHB Overall Objectives»

Accreditation information»

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships»

Refund, cancellation, and transfer policy»


Travel and hotel information

There are two hotels within walking distance of the Beck Institute. The Hilton City Avenue is directly across the street, and the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West is three walkable blocks away. The Crowne Plaza also offers a shuttle to Beck Institute trainees that will take you to and from our office each morning and afternoon. When you register for a workshop, you will be provided with information to book your room at the “Beck Institute Rate”.


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Upcoming Dates

Space is limited. Your payment, due upon acceptance, guarantees your space.

  • May 23–May 25 2016 Apply