Overview of Session 5: Skill Topic 3, Coping With Cravings and Urges To Use

Total Time: 1 hour

Delivery Method: CBT-focused individual therapy

Materials (all forms are at the end of this section):

Coping With Cravings and Urges (form 5A)

Urge Surfing (form 5B)

Daily Record of Urges To Use Marijuana (form 5C)

Goals for This Session:

• To enhance the client’s understanding about cravings and urges for marijuana use

• To identify specific triggers or cues for cravings (see Carroll 1998)

• To review and practice specific skills for addressing cravings

Session Outline:

1. Give reasons for focusing on cravings

• Provide basic information about the nature of cravings

— Cravings are experienced most often early in abstinence but can occur weeks, months, even years later

— Cravings may feel very uncomfortable but are a common experience

— An urge to smoke does not mean something is wrong

• Give client Coping With Cravings and Urges (form 5A)

2. Identify cues for cravings

• Give client examples of common cues

— Exposure to marijuana or paraphernalia

— Seeing other people using

— Contact with people, places, times of day, or situations associated with using

— Particular emotions and physical feelings

3. Discuss strategies for coping with triggers

• Getting involved in a distracting activity

• Talking it through

• Urge surfing (Urge Surfing, form 5B)

• Delaying decisions

• Using imagery

• Challenging and changing thoughts

• Using self-talk

4. Complete exercises

• Make a list of craving triggers

• Make a plan for managing craving

5. Assign between-session exercises

• Encourage client to review material on handouts before the next session

• Encourage client to practice urge surfing

• Complete Daily Record of Urges To Use Marijuana (form 5C)

6. Review and conclude session