DIAGNOSIS: Substance-Use Disorders

TREATMENT: Group Cognitive-behavior Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorders


  • Basic premise: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most widespread and effective psychological treatment used for alcohol use disorders (AUD). CBT is a time-limited intervention that targets cognitive, affective, and environmental risks for substance use. Group CBT for AUD provides training in coping skills to help an individual manage alcohol-related triggers, achieve and maintain abstinence or harm reduction. Specific CBT approaches include coping skills training and relapse prevention. Coping skills training is a structured group approach designed to foster acquisition of problem solving, interpersonal, relaxation, and coping skills to manage negative mood and urges to drink. Marlatt and Gordon’s model of relapse prevention (1985) focuses on strategies to identify situations that precipitate relapse by teaching cognitive and behavioral skills to reduce risk. Recently, mindfulness-based group practice in aftercare offered incremental training in awareness of environmental cues and internal phenomena that have previously triggered relapse.



Cognitive-behavioral coping skills therapy manual: A clinical research guide for therapist treating individuals with alcohol abuse and dependence (Kadden, et al., 1992)

Relapse prevention (Marlatt and Gordon, 1985)

Treating Alcohol Dependence: A Coping Skills Training Guide (2nd ed.) (Monti, et al., 2002)

Group therapy for substance use disorders: a motivational cognitive-behavioral approach (Sobell and Sobell, 2011)


Manual-guided cognitive-behavioral therapy training: a promising method for disseminating empirically supported substance abuse treatments to the practice community (Morgenstern, et al., 2001)

We don't train in vain: a dissemination trial of three strategies of training clinicians in cognitive-behavioral therapy (Sholomskas, 2005)


Group treatments for addiction (CEU Matrix, 2010; Daley and Douaihy, 2011)

Substance abuse treatment: Group therapy (SAMHSA, 2005/2015)

Patient's workbook for cognitive behavioral therapy sessions: Intensive treatment and rehabilitation program for residential treatment and rehabilitation centers for drug dependents (intrepret) (Department of Health: Republic of the Philippines, 2020)

Group cognitive behavioral therapy for addictive behaviors (Liese, 2017)

CBT worksheet packet: 2020 edition (Beck, 2020)

A cognitive-behavioral approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (Caroll, 1998)

A-CBT training services (The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies)

CBT training from beck institute (Beck Institute, 2023)

Resources for professionals and students: Helping health and mental health professionals provide better care to their clients (Beck Institute, 2023)



Allsop, S., Saunders, B., Phillips, M., & Carr, A. (1997). A trial of relapse prevention with severely dependent male problem drinkers. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 92(1), 61–73.

Bowen, S., Witkiewitz, K., Clifasefi, S. L., Grow, J., Chawla, N., Hsu, S. H., Carroll, H. A., Harrop, E., Collins, S. E., Lustyk, M. K., & Larimer, M. E. (2014). Relative efficacy of mindfulness-based relapse prevention, standard relapse prevention, and treatment as usual for substance use disorders: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(5), 547–556.

Burtscheidt, W., Wölwer, W., Schwarz, R., Strauss, W., & Gaebel, W. (2002). Out‐patient behaviour therapy in alcoholism: treatment outcome after 2 years. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106(3), 227-232.

Connors, G. J., & Walitzer, K. S. (2001). Reducing alcohol consumption among heavily drinking women: evaluating the contributions of life-skills training and booster sessions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(3), 447.

Duckert, F., Amundsen, A., & Johnsen, J. (1992). What happens to drinking after therapeutic intervention?. British Journal of Addiction, 87(10), 1457–1467.

Rohsenow, D. J., Monti, P. M., Rubonis, A. V., Gulliver, S. B., Colby, S. M., Binkoff, J. A., & Abrams, D. B. (2001). Cue exposure with coping skills training and communication skills training for alcohol dependence: 6- and 12-month outcomes. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 96(8), 1161–1174.

Sobell, L. C., Sobell, M. B., & Agrawal, S. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral motivational intervention in a group versus individual format for substance use disorders. Psychology of addictive behaviors: journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 23(4), 672–683.