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BRI Explains: Cognitive Behavioral Learning

The development of Cognitive Behavioral learning (CBE) was another watershed event. CBE is not the same and is not similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is conducted by a therapist; thus, the therapist is responsible for the outcome of the therapy. CBE presents recipients of CBE with what cognitive behavior is and then the recipients are free to do with the education whatever he or she chooses. Once recipients become aware that all their behaviors result from their own thoughts, then they are more likely to consciously choose behaviors that bring about the greatest amount of personal happiness. While the creation of CBE was, indeed, a momentous breakthrough, a full understanding would not be achieved for another five years, in the 14th Edition. And, although Baldwin researchers did not fully comprehend all the implications of CBE, their cursory understanding of it had set them on the path to a full understanding. In the meantime, all JTP instructors were required to participate in a yearlong re-training program to become Certified CBE Presenters. JTP instructors no longer instructed; they became CBE Option Presenters. Now then and for the sake of accuracy and clarity, it is best to refer to the actual text of the 12th Edition:

"The Jude Thaddeus Program is an educational process to help people learn to overcome substance use problems. The Jude Thaddeus Program teaches people that the key to changing their lives lies in taking responsibility for their choices regarding drinking and/or drugging. The program then educates them on how to live a life filled with the rewards of their success.

The Jude Thaddeus Program (JTP) is based on the Freedom Model philosophy which holds that all people always move in the direction of what they believe will bring them the greatest level of happiness. The Freedom Model is also based on the universal principles described herein as the Five Universal Axioms.

The approach laid out here is straightforward. Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE) teaches how to make better choices and find success and satisfaction using the proprietary Option Presentation method that has worked for thousands of other people with similar problems.

You will learn the meaning and value of self-directed Neuroplasticity, the science of how the mind changes the brain, and how you can put this scientific discipline to work in your life.

The program is educational and based on an entirely different approach from the ones used by the more common counseling, therapeutic, or new age holistic programs. These other methods do not allow individuals the rights of choice, accountability and power. CBESM lets each person use those qualities which empower him or her to accept personal responsibility for all past, present and future behavior, to exercise choice based on internal strength, rather than perceived weakness, and to delight in the rediscovery of his or her power. The idea that you can easily change your substance usage habits, which is contrary to the premise of all other treatment programs, is just one of the ways the JTP helps people find a happy, productive life.

Conventional treatment programs teach that abuse of substances is caused by other life factors, usually circumstantial negative factors such as past traumas, a bad marriage, anxiety, mental illness, depression or job related pressures etc., or by genetic or biological factors, all of which are out of the substance users’ control. The JTP dispels the myths about genetic and biological causes and then separates two unrelated topics: substance use and negative life experiences. This separation allows you to deal with each independent of the other. The JTP differs from all other programs in that it is based on choice, personal responsibility and freedom from fear. Specifically, it does not maintain that sobriety can only be achieved when a certain moral living code is achieved, or a certain spiritual belief is accepted or happiness is attained.

The JTP separates and addresses substance use options from other life behaviors and choices. You will learn how to achieve success in both the "sobriety/moderation choice event" and as a separate topic altogether in the "continual process called living." Once you have learned how to separate substance use issues from life quality issues, and you make the final decision as to which substance usage option best fits your goals, needs and values, you will immediately become ready to tackle the most fulfilling aspects of this program. You will learn how to attain and then keep joy, peace, love, purpose and empowerment alive every day of your new living experience. The life change choices you make will continue to evolve and expand and produce greater joy and fulfillment with time and practice. If you build your new life on the time tested methods contained in this program they will bring about personal changes for the remainder of your life."

For a presentation of the entire 12th Edition text, please click here.

It turns out that the 12th Edition was actually a hodgepodge of disconnected ideas that, nevertheless, gave St. Jude Retreats’ guests a more complete understanding of their personal choices and behaviors, but fell short of providing a cohesive explanation for the individual components of their thoughts and resulting behaviors: e.g. the actual cause of excessive drug and/or alcohol use. The 13th Edition was an attempt to explain the interrelationships among these seemingly disparate ideas: the Freedom Model, CBE, and mind vs. brain debate, and neuroplasticity.

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