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Cognitive Behavior Theory for Military Veteran

Cognitive behavior theory (CBT) is based on the idea that an individual is able to alter their behavior by interfering with their thought patterns. Perception-altering techniques are widely used in therapy, however, “CBT refers to the inclusion of thoughts and beliefs in the determination of clients’ problems and their alleviation” (Turner, 2017). Jake Levy, a 31-year-old Caucasian male veteran, suffers from substance abuse as a result of exposure to a high-stress environment from his time in the military.

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  • Jake is locked into a continuous cycle of trying to alleviate his PTSD condition by using psychoactive substances.
  • His negative thoughts directly influence his reality, which, in turn, makes him behave a certain way (substance abuse).
  • They would be “do you feel helpless in the face of the memory of your military experience?” and “I hope you understand that substance use will not solve your problem. Are you willing to change your perceptions and subsequently, change your behavior?”.
  • The goals for this treatment would be: to cure Jake’s substance abuse by utilizing the techniques that will help him to acquire a fresh perspective. Another goal is to establish a stable healthy thought patterns that prevent relapse.
  • The treatment plan consists of therapy sessions, in which Mr. Levy’s traumatic experiences and negative thoughts will be addressed, evaluated, and transformed into healthier perspectives. A continuing care includes phone calls during which his progress will be discussed.
  • The main outcome to measure would not necessarily be a complete rejection from substance use, but the evidence of healthier thought patterns appearing. This is directly related to CBT, as CBT targets specifically negative thought patterns and transforms them.
  • The theory is highly versatile and can be applied to a great number of problems and conditions, as the human perception of the phenomenon is the main factor through which the world is perceived. Among the theory’s limitations, its complete avoidance of the individual’s emotional aspect can be named.
  • CBT is a potent theory that is used widely. However, in the particular case of Jake Levy, it looks especially promising – as it was “efficacious in treating posttraumatic stress disorder” (Gonzales-Prendes, 2012, p. 30). Its efficacy probably lies in its high adaptivity: the client is given a set of techniques based on their own cognitions and beliefs with which they can effectively transform them.


González-Prendes, Antonio A & Resko, Stella M. (2012) Cognitive Behavioral Theory. Sage Publications.

Ringell, S. & Brandell, J. Trauma: Contemporary directions in theory, practice, and research. Sage Publications.

Turner, F. J. (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.

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