Personal & Professional Theories◄►12-step program


Let’s get personal!

I think that the 12-step facilitation of treatment relates closely to my own personal theory of life. More specifically, the 12-step facilitation of treatment is all about taking responsibility for your own actions and the acknowledgement of a higher being that has power. Spirituality is an intricate part of my life. I feel like it is because of something higher than me that I am able to do most of the things that I do. However, I also believe that I have to be responsible for myself, my actions, and in a sense my own recovery, or next steps in life. This became even clearer to me, after attending an AA meeting, I could see the spirituality and responsibility that was a shared commodity amongst the meeting members.

However, two of the steps that I find I needed to integrate in my life more are #8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.” and #9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” I could definitely integrate this into my personal life and I think that I should. There have been individuals that I have harmed and have not made total amends with that have passed away. So today, I am living with regrets and a little bit of guilt because I didn’t say, “I apologize for….” more often.

Okay! Back to professional!

I see myself as a CBT counselor. Therefore, when examining the 12-steps, there are a number of steps that coincide with or have some element of CBT. The 12-step program focuses on the here and now just like CBT. Likewise, CBT focuses on the identification of behavior that the client wants to change and individuals in the 12-step program are asked to do the same. Similarly, individual in the 12-step programs are asked to be mindful and take personal inventory which could be mirrored to thought logs and mood logs in CBT. Finally, the 12-step treatment focuses a lot on a higher spiritual being and while CBT does not have this element, it does have the element of mindfulness and meditation that is encouraged for the client.

I am not sure if there is much that can be utilized for treatment in the 12-step treatment because it is already heavily CBT based. However, I will say that some of these elements in the 12-step treatment could be used in other instances. For example, the first step speaks about being powerless over the addiction. The word addiction could be replaced with something such as depression, anxiety, panic, etc. The reason for my logic is because most individuals present to counseling for depression, anxiety, or panic because it has interfered with daily functioning. Therefore, to some extent all clients may be powerless to something even if only temporary.

Until next time! ~Ayzha


One thought on “Personal & Professional Theories◄►12-step program

  1. Ayzha,

    I found your blog refreshing about integrating CBT with 12-step. You discussed techniques such as logs to create awareness for the client. In my response I was analyzing them rather than seeing the similarities of CBT and 12-step. Your examples helped me see that.

    I agree with you about how some aspects of 12-step principles can also be used with clients suffering from depression, anxiety, and panic. The first step of admitting that there is a problem resulting in interference with daily functioning. I think that first step is difficult for anyone because it means acknowledging that you are not in control. But taking responsibility of your actions means you can work on other steps such as # 8, 9, and 10. Facing the people you hurt and making amends is not a sign of weakness but rather having the courage to face them. I see 12-step a bit differently now after reading your perspective. Thank you!


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