Evidenced Based Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving. The goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to change patterns of thinking and behavior that contribute to the manifestations of personal difficulties, substance use, and the perpetuation of unproductive cognitions and feelings. At Durango Recovery Center, individuals learn real-time skills to recognize and restructure thoughts, identify and healthfully work with emotion, and address and solve problems in positive and productive ways. Cognitive approaches offer clients powerful ways to interface with the world and choose healthy behaviors and reactions over destructive patterns from the past. 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is especially useful in addiction treatment and can help clients:

  • Improve self-awareness and monitoring
  • Identify and reduce underlying reasons for substance use
  • Practice awareness and relaxation techniques for anxiety
  • Restructure thinking and emotional patterns and reactions
  • And work to prevent future relapse

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style that focuses on helping clients cultivate intrinsic motivation toward desired behavior change.

Motivational Interviewing recognizes that while clients need to make changes in their lives, each enters counseling at a different level of readiness and ability to commit to and effect change; therefore, this style of counseling takes a more focused, directive, and goal-oriented approach toward client-motivation, while also remaining non-judgmental, non-confrontational, and non-adversarial. 


Central purposes of Motivational Interviewing include:

  • Increasing client’s awareness of problem behaviors and rippling effects 
  • The examination and resolution of ambivalence 
  • Looking forward and envisioning the future 
  • Cultivating client motivation and plans to achieve personal visions 

 Durango Recovery Center counselors experienced in the spirit of Motivational Interviewing communicate compassion, acceptance, partnership, and respect.


Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present, sometimes combined with breathing techniques, Interoception or “feeling” and identifying with body sensations, and meditation. When a person practices mindfulness, they carefully observe thoughts, feelings, sensations, distractions, etc. while actively working to not judge any of this information as good or bad, working to let observations and distractions go, and sometimes working to focus on breath work or centeredness in the moment. 

Mindfulness means living in present moment awareness and awakening to one’s current experience and accepting it as it is, rather than futilely dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. By refraining from judgment of ourselves, our emotions or pains, distractions in our environment, or unnecessarily dwelling on past experiences or future anticipations or worry, mindfulness and awareness practice help to free a person from unnecessary struggle and pain. 

A healthy mindfulness practice improves individual tolerance for adversity and helps a person feel more calm, capable, and accepting in the moment, and therefore, better equipped to handle future challenges. Mindfulness skills are essential to living in and achieving recovery.  

Contingency Management

Contingency Management refers to the application of contingency (or operant conditioning), which utilizes stimulus control and positive reinforcement to change behavior. Contingency Management includes techniques such as choice, behavior or thought shaping, taking time-outs, making contracts between the therapist and individual, and token economy principles. Studies conducted in both methadone programs and psychosocial counseling treatment programs demonstrate that incentive-based interventions are highly effective in increasing treatment retention and promoting abstinence from drugs. 

Family Program

We know that addiction affects not just the individual participating in treatment, but the entire family system. Research shows that involving family members in their loved one’s treatment is vital to relapse prevention and the overall recovery process. At Durango Recovery Center, we offer family education and coaching, as well as family therapy sessions, and encourage our residents to address important family and relationship issues prior to discharge from treatment.  For those who are unable to travel, we are able to facilitate skype and/or phone sessions as needed. 

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is the term used to describe a person’s experience with mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either disorder—substance use or mental illness—can develop first. People experiencing a mental health condition may turn to alcohol or other drugs as a form of self-medication to improve mental health symptoms. However, alcohol and other drugs may worsen the symptoms of mental illness. Durango Recovery Center provides psychiatric care for clients needing diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a process group that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to empower individuals struggling with addiction to take charge of their own recovery and teaches how to change self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions, and instead, work toward long-term satisfactions and quality of life.  

An acronym for Self-Management and Recovery Training, SMART Recovery, is an evidence based alternative to the traditional 12-Step model, which omits several components of the traditional model, that are sometimes problematic for certain participants. Instead, clients are welcomed to incorporate their spiritual perspectives and beliefs where they are helpful for the individual, and are shown alternative ways to navigate and beat addiction in the company and support of an active recovery community. At Durango Recovery Center, a trained counselor leads the group in respectful crosstalk to help clients identify irrational beliefs and explore new ways of coping. SMART Recovery uses a 4-Point Program to help participants overcome many types of addiction. Goals include: 

  1. Build motivation to abstain
  2. Learn to cope with urges
  3. Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Lifestyle balance

SMART Recovery is recognized for addiction recovery by many top health and medical associations including the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among others.

Transtheoretical Model of Change

The core of the transtheoretical model, sometimes called “Stages of Change,” breaks down the complex process of behavior change into five distinct stages, acknowledges that change takes time, and helps clients to conceptualize where they stand along this continuum of change, when treatment planning and setting goals for behavior change. The stages as applied to addiction, are as follows:

  • Precontemplation, “not ready” Stage (Expected Duration – 6 months)
  • Contemplation, “getting ready” Stage (Expected Duration – 6 months)
  • Preparation, “ready” Stage (Expected Duration – 6 months)     
  • Action Stage (Expected Duration – at least 1 month)      
  • Maintenance Stage (Expected Duration – Indefinite): 

Even after a resident has left our center, the work required to abstain from destructive substances is far from over; in fact, the act of living in recovery, is an everyday choice, commitment, and lifestyle. And it is a sensitive journey. One stressful situation or emotionally taxing event could be enough to potentially influence an addict to relapse. At Durango Recovery Center, we teach our clients techniques that help recovering individuals recognize and respond to triggers, including reaching out for help, without relapsing back into substance misuse. 

Group Counseling

Group counseling is a highly effective form of therapeutic treatment. The small and intimate nature of a group (typically no more than eight members), provides a safe and supportive space for people to explore a range of issues as they interact with others. Receiving feedback from peers, learning that others are dealing with similar issues, and learning that a person and community really can help other people, are only a few of the benefits of group counseling. Although many new group members express uncertainty about disclosing and discussing their problems with others, group cohesion and comfort among participants increases over each session. Some groups are referred to as “general therapy groups” and address a range of interpersonal issues. Other groups are more focused on specific challenges, such as addiction and co-occurring problems like anxiety, depression, stress, or men’s issues. 

At Durango Recovery Center, highly skilled and experienced counselors, licensed and certified in the State of Colorado, facilitate group counseling to provide a safe space for the peer milieu to develop, which becomes a miniaturized and productive representation of the client’s social group. In this close and personal environment, the group counseling process leads to growth, healing, and knowledge of tools to use when repairing the self and interpersonal relationships. Each week, evidence based methodologies including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and the like, are used to discuss trauma and addiction issues, the process of recovery and change, interpersonal relationships, and more.