Is Breaking Limiting Beliefs Important to Change Criminal Behavior?

How important are beliefs when it comes to behavior change, and the REBT, CBT, change process?

Some people might wonder why I present this on a regular basis. Criminal Justice and Addictions is my specialty. “There will be no long-term criminal behavior changes unless we help offenders change core, permission-granting CTC beliefs first.

One day in staffing a counselor asked, “how do you change a belief?” The supervisor told him, “Well, that’s Stan’s area of expertise. Check with him.”

After taking my NAADAC approved CEU class, an Illinois CDAC with 30 years of experience told me, “Stan, I was always taught you can’t change a core belief. You not only showed me that you can, but you taught me that you must, as soon as possible.”

I hope that answers the why I post this series question.

Counselors and therapists should have a few ‘go to’ tools to help clients to change limiting, permission-granting core beliefs about criminal thinking and conduct, CTC, involving alcohol and other drugs, AOD.

Intrinsic motivation to change is important for criminals and addicts. Discipline is also important. These are powerful feelings and emotions that lead to behavior.

Motivation is the first step in the yougottawanna process. Motivation needs to be followed by discipline. Discipline can help clients to stay on course, one day at a time. Every day, all day.

Now comes the belief part. Probably a majority of people in recovery start out with limiting beliefs about their identity, values, and capability to change.

We can help offenders and clients to break these limiting beliefs. How? That’s what Belief Eye Movement Therapy, BEMT is all about.

You can learn how and get 34 NAADAC approved CEU at:

CBT map image is from Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict.

Is VAK Important to Build Trust and Rapport?#VAK #AttendingSkills #OARS #BeLikeThem  

You think you are meeting the client where he/she is at. But are you?

Visual, auditory and kinesthetic (feelings) are the three preferred learning and communication styles cited by Ready to Test. This is the preparation text for Certified Substance Abuse Counselors.

Why not be like the people you want to work with? How many people who are kinesthetic are you losing using your visual and auditory vocabulary?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Dov’e il bagno will get you to the toilet before it’s too late. Once clients recidivate, overdose or go back to prison, it’s too late.

This is a serious business. People die when we fail.

So, to create rapport quicker, to take them where they need to go, be like the person you are speaking with.

There are several ways to determine their preferred style.
1. You could observe eye-movement patterns. See VARK, sensory acuity.
2. There are tests you can give where participants will answer a series of questions, total up response scores, and finally determine their preferred style.
3. You could ask them if they have a preference.

What’s the point? Meet the clients where they are at. Speak their language for starters.

Do whatever you can to detemine their preferred communication and learning style.

People use drugs because they want to feel different. Feel is a kinesthetic word. Euphoric recall screams kinesthetic.

Do you insist on using your visual and auditory vocabulary with kinesthetic clients?

I gave drug court clients a learning style test. They scored 77% kinesthetic. This happened in all the groups tested. Meet them where they are at.

Take the test for yourself. It is in my Criminal Justice and Addictions Counseling class on Udemy.

Why not do your best to use kinesthetic words and phrases with kinesthetic people? That part of the process is on you.

The CBT map image is from Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict.

There is more on VAK styles in the book. You can learn more and get 34 CEU at

What Does Independence Day Mean to America?

Happy 4th of July America!
“Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a significant holiday in the United States that commemorates the country’s declaration of independence from Great Britain. It is a federal holiday celebrated annually on July 4th.”*

“The history of Independence Day dates back to July 4, 1776, when
the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson.”*

“This declaration proclaimed the thirteen American colonies as a new nation, separate from the British Empire, and asserted the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”*

What does Independence Day mean to addicts?

Choosing to live sober is asserting the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from and, without alcohol or other drugs, or perhaps, criminal thinking and conduct.

What gets in the way?

“In the context of addiction, permission-granting beliefs can refer to cognitive distortions or rationalizations that individuals use to justify or permit their substance use. For example, someone with addiction may use beliefs like “I deserve this drink” or “I can handle it this time” to rationalize their behavior.”*

Why not focus on eliciting and changing the permission-granting beliefs that lead to substance use disorders, and criminal thinking and conduct? Declare Independence!

Belief Eye Movement Therapy can help people achieve independence from AOD/CTC. Please message me to learn more.
Happy Fourth of July America!
*OpenAI, ChatGPT

CBT Map image is from Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict.