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BRI Explains: Cognitive Behavioral Education

Also in the 13th Edition was further clarification of Cognitive Behavioral Education (aka "CBE"). Like the significance given neuroplasticity by advancing neuroplasticity on the cover of the 13th Edition as "The Definitive Guide to Self-Directed Neuroplastic Change," CBE, Cognitive Behavioral Education, too, was presented on the cover of the 13th Edition. The introduction and clarification of CBE was a watershed event that changed the entire educational structure of the Jude Thaddeus Program. A detailed explanation of CBE is presented in Chapter 3, What is Cognitive Behavioral Education, in the 13th Edition:

"Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE) is defined by a very specific method of nonjudgmental presentation techniques. The CBE presentation method is coupled with this curriculum which is founded upon the Freedom Model Law of Universal Motivation. The Freedom Model Law of Universal Motivation holds that each individual’s behavior is freely chosen, for themselves, by themselves, as a means to achieve happiness within themselves. Specifically then, no one is ever "out of control," or doing anything that they don’t want to do. Everyone does what they personally think is their best option for happiness at any given time. Thus, CBE® presenters do not coerce or control our guests into doing what we think they should do, as this is futile and does not lead to lasting or meaningful change. While an individual may attempt to do what others want them to do, they only do what they think will bring them the most happiness. Sometimes, of course, they may temporarily think that following someone else’s wants is their best option for happiness, but more times than not, they do what they want to do.

While this may sound like wordplay, we promise you it is not. We know that you are already doing what you want to do and that you will continue to do what you want to do. Our approach is designed to provide a method for you to expand your range of options or potential wants, clear out any thinking that clouds the subject, and honestly judge the utility or futility of your substance use choices (or other choices or behaviors that might have limited positive returns.) You can then deliberately make the choices that bring you the most happiness. In contrast, the recovery society has already decided that you should not use substances. They’ve labeled your behavior as either "dysfunctional" or "irrational," and have already decided what you should do: that is conform to their conception of what your behavior "should" be.

If you’ve spent several years going back and forth with problematic substance use, then the problem may be that you’re trying to conform to other people’s wants or standards of proper behavior. It’s time to ask yourself honestly, what do you want? Do you think it is possible that you can get more happiness from different choices and activities? When you can clearly answer these questions without the cloud of guilt in the way, then changing your habits and behaviors can be rapid. Also, because the CBE discipline does not allow the presenter to judge you or your choices and behaviors, there is no need to tell the presenter what you think they want to hear. There is no need for these types of useless mind games. We accept who you are and will make no attempts to coerce you in any direction.

The recovery society may seek to induce a desire to stop negative consequences of substance use through guilt-laden interventions and attempts to make people "hit rock bottom" through "tough love." Rarely does the recovery society offer people the opportunity to freely create, weigh, and pursue their own options; they just assume that they, the recovery professionals, know what’s best for you and that you should just do what they tell you to do.

CBE is dedicated to offering you the chance to openly exercise and follow your own judgment. We know that only you are capable of determining what will bring you the greatest level of happiness and that you’ll guide yourself there if given the chance. This curriculum provides information on how people can think for themselves more effectively through the power of self-analysis and self-directed change. This is accomplished through an educational experience which includes you gaining an understanding of five distinct universal life axioms that exist for all individuals regardless of background, experience or culture.

CBE Presenters provide individuals information on possible ways to utilize these five axioms to their benefit through the use of this textbook and the accompanying workbook exercises. By presenting axioms that are naturally beneficial and culturally universal, our presenters do not have to pretend to know what specific choices are best for you because the axioms are principles that you can apply yourself to aid you in any situation. No one knows what is best for you, except you. You get to choose what is best; the program simply lays out a series of exercises that will naturally help you create your own options for positive self-change, assuming, of course, that is what you desire.

Because we assume that you have enrolled in the St. Jude Program in search of more satisfying options that have a more positive return on your investment, we will guide you through the process of self-analysis and positive self-change. In other words, you will learn how to analyze your choices and make more satisfying and fulfilling choices out of the infinite options at your disposal. That is the beauty of freewill: is it an infinite internal resource for you to utilize at any moment. The life you want to lead is yours to create!

We know that you always have made, and always will make, the choices that you believe will bring you the greatest happiness. So, instead of pressuring you into submitting to our judgments, we simply offer you a method by which you can expand your range of options and evaluate them all, making new judgments and thus new choices that are deliberately formed to maximize both present and future levels of happiness. You are, at this moment, the culmination of your lifetime of voluntary choices, each motivated by your pursuit for personal happiness and your judgment of what will bring you that happiness. For some, this has brought about limited results, with very little satisfaction gained for the resources and energy invested. We will show you how you can gain more happiness, more efficiently, and with far less risk of unhappiness resulting from the choices you make. This is the goal of all CBE exercises. CBE provides a method of self-analysis that serves as a self-created guide to a more positive lifestyle, whatever you determine that lifestyle to be. CBE offers a path to self-discovery and self-creation. But CBE is not a learning experience that teaches or tells you what to think.

In Cognitive Behavioral Education the term "cognitive" refers to thoughts and beliefs, in this case, your thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts and beliefs are completely independent of all other beings; they are yours and yours alone. Hence, the reason that all CBE presenters are trained that they are not in control of you, and the reason so many of our guests are completely relieved and comfortable when they have their first class. Most prepare themselves for the "bait and switch routine." That is that even though many rehab programs and 12-step programs initially claim to be non-controlling, in point of fact these programs are actually based on coerced control and "brainwashing" techniques. But CBE® presenters understand what it means to be an individual, and we respect your natural autonomy. We know that the only thing that will cause you to change any behavior is your own belief that you have better options and your own choice to pursue those options.

Obviously a person’s thoughts and beliefs are the root of their feelings, choices and ultimately their resultant behaviors. We repeat that below, because it’s so important:

Your thoughts and beliefs produce feelings, choices and ultimately all of your chosen behaviors.

To make this point self-evident, we ask you to take a few minutes right now for the following CBE® exercise:

Try to do something, without thinking about doing it first.

Try this now, and then write down any behaviors or actions you are able to make happen without thinking about them first.

Obviously, it cannot be done.

The above exercise proves what should be obvious; that every single choice you have made in your lifetime has been created first with your thoughts, and then acted out by you through your behaviors. Obviously, this obliterates the disease and powerlessness theory of "addiction," which claims that you have no control. Every choice you made to use substances began with a thought you created to do so. Therefore, you cannot be powerless, as you have created, in your own mind, your current reality and lifestyle. The good news is that this fact is also true for your future; you get to decide what your life will look like from this point forward!

As we stated earlier, CBE does not allow us to judge your personal decisions as right, wrong, good, or bad. You decide; this is non-treatment; this is non-therapy; this is non-control; this is education only. If you judge that your choices bring you the amount and quality of happiness you desire, then you may not wish to change anything. If not, then [you] may want to explore, discover and create new options. You do not need to make your decision now. Perhaps you are unsure if you want to change or even how much you want to change in your life. As you proceed through the program, keep an open mind. We guarantee you will gain a new perspective and see a world of possibilities open up to you."

It is important to note that Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE) is not Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). To fully appreciate the differences between CBT and CBE, one first must understand CBT. For this understanding we turn to the experts at Mayo Clinic. According to the Mayo Clinic CBT website, CBT sessions are conducted by mental health counselor or psychotherapist in a structured way. Depending on the therapist and the patient, the relationship between the two may vary greatly, e.g. an authority figure vs. a subservient relationship, an adult vs. a child relationship, a parent vs. a child relationship, an expert vs. a neophyte relationship and so on.

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