Eddie Bowz, LMFT, MA, Director of Behavioral Health

Meet Eddie Bowz

About seven years ago I was the first therapist certified to use BioCorRx 36 module program which addresses the key psychosocial triggers and obstacles to gaining and maintaining recovery. From that point I worked with many of their clients that received their naltrexone implant so it was medication- assisted treat.

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I provided the therapeutic side of that treatment post implant and eventually I became the Director of Behavioral Health for BioCorRx and my responsibilities increased to communication with other organizations about the efficacy and purpose of our modular CBT program. I’ve also just completed the first 20 modules of BioCorRx UnCraveRx app and these 20 modules address key issues connected to weight loss and weight management concerns, and it’s a very exciting development and these new modules will be added to the app at some point in the near future.

Addiction Treatment Evolution

The evolution of the combination of medicine and psychotherapy has been a game changer. Medication-assisted treatment has been around for some time, but it has evolved so much over the years that it is now a highly focused field and that combined with therapeutic programs designed to work alongside the medication has made this a revolutionary moment in time in the world of addiction and recovery.

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The fields of psychology and science have coordinated themselves into a position that is far better situated than ever before to serve someone desiring recovery and/or hoping to maintain sobriety.

Importance of Counseling and Peer Support in Addiction Recovery

Counseling and peer support are vital during medication-assisted treatment, especially in the first four to six months of recovery. While the medication is at work inside the client’s body, cravings are gone or reduced, but life issues are still very much present. Coping skills deficiencies also still persist, so it’s crucial to take advantage of the time that the medication is in the client system to work on improving life skills and coping skills and this would be done with a therapist and peer support specialist.

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This time period that I’m referring to is perhaps the first time in years or decades where a client is not craving or using. They are clear, focused, and present to do the psychosocial work that has been missing from their lives for a long time. During this stage, they can attend therapy and communicate with their peer support specialists, focusing strictly on changing faulty thinking and mistaken beliefs and improving their coping skills. Without the medication, the client has to focus on two massive undertakings simultaneously — fighting cravings and the temptations to use while also working therapeutically on their management of faulty thinking, uncontrollable emotions and poor life choices. With the aid of medication, focusing on psychotherapy and having peer support guidance can become the sole focus. The intent is by the time the medication sloughs out of a client’s system, they have new coping skills in place and will have a much greater chance of not falling back on their old maladaptive behavior patterns that will most likely lead to relapse and this portion of recovery springs from therapeutic intervention and peer support guidance. It is crucial to client success and to the goals of recovery.

Finding the Right Addiction Recovery Therapist

Finding a therapist who has a background in addiction and recovery is very important. In fact, it’s a must in most cases and the reason for this is the nuanced two-pronged approach to recovery that needs to take place.

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In early recovery, the client is going through two things concurrently. The client is fighting cravings and temptations to use while also trying to focus on and follow through on the instructions of the therapist in real life applications, and this is very difficult. So a therapist must be sensitive to this and knowledgeable about how to counsel a client through this dual challenge.

What is CBT?

CBT is an acronym for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it was first developed in the 1960s by the psychiatrist Aaron Beck. CBT has continued to evolve from the ‘60s and is presently the most researched and tested modality of therapy. There is strong empirical evidence that supports CBT’s approach, techniques, its usefulness, and its helpfulness. This is one of the reasons that insurance companies are extremely supportive of therapists that utilize CBT.

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CBT’s approach is to address and reframe negative internal monologues that have developed in our thinking process. This negative monologue or faulty thinking becomes our beliefs about ourselves and life and therefore dictates the choices we make. This therapeutic focus on thinking refers to the cognitive part of cognitive behavioral therapy, and once these negative thoughts and beliefs are reframed for the positive, the client can then begin to make healthy choices, resulting in more successful behavior. And this focus on behavior is the behavioral portion of cognitive behavioral therapy.

CBT Techniques

CBT utilizes to name a few: cognitive restructuring, or reframing faulty thinking, guided discovery, exposure therapy, journaling, and thoughts records, activity scheduling, and behavior activation, behavioral experiments, relaxation, and stress reduction, and role playing, and these are just a few highlights.

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There are many more, and these techniques are all designed to attack faulty thinking in order to reframe it into something healthier and more positives that the client can ultimately make healthier choices in life.

How does CBT differ from other forms of psychotherapy?

CBT tends to be short-term treatments that focuses on teaching clients specific skills.  It focuses on a problem, examines the clients cognitions or thoughts about that problem. It then looks at the emotions those thoughts elicit, and the negative behavior that results. The concept is to improve faulty thinking so that emotions, choices, and behavior can improve.

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CBT also focuses on the present or what we refer to as the here and now. It endeavors to correct how current issues are affecting the client. It does not tend to address the clients distant past or childhood struggles as other modalities might do. It’s designed to focus on what is right in front of the client today and examine how that is affecting the client’s life negatively.

How is it that CBT can be applied to different types of addictive disorders? i.e., weight loss and substance use disorder?

For many people, weight issues and food addictions stem from similar faulty thinking problems found in substance use disorders. Clients from both arenas tend to experience faulty thinking, resulting in mistaken beliefs about themselves and life in general. Because of this, both of these sets of clients make poor and unhealthy choices.

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They both tend to have poor coping skills, which lead to relying on their substance of choice, which might be drugs, alcohol, or food. Both struggle to self soothe on their own. Both tend to have used their substance of choice for so long that they’ve lost faith in their ability to self soothe. They’ve come to believe that they can only feel better or cope by using their substance for the temporary fix it gives them. Now, CBT focuses on the faulty thinking in order to reframe it into a more positive thought process and then addresses improved coping skills. The application of these new coping skills is made easier because of the improved thinking and the improved belief systems. Once the faulty thinking is reframed and new coping skills are in place, both sets of clients, those who struggle with food and those who struggle with substances, are able to control their emotions in healthier ways and therefore make better life choices which results in improved behavior and the cessation of food and/or substance abuse.