The counselor welcomes the client and provides an overview of the session. In this session, the counselor supports the client’s experience and efficacy in making desired changes.

Give Reasons for Focusing on Cravings

The counselor gives the client Coping With Cravings and Urges (form 5A) and explains the importance of recognizing cravings:

Counselor (C): Cravings often are experienced when a person first tries to quit, but they may occur weeks, months, even years later. Cravings may feel uncomfortable, but they are common experiences. An urge to smoke doesn’t mean something’s wrong. Many people learn to expect cravings on occasion and how to cope with them.

Things that remind you of using marijuana can trigger urges or cravings. Physical symptoms include tightness in the stomach or feeling nervous throughout the body. Psychological symptoms include thoughts about how using marijuana or drugs feels, recollections of smoking marijuana, developing plans to get marijuana, or feeling that you need marijuana. Cravings and urges usually last only a few minutes or at most a few hours. Rather than increase until they become unbearable, they usually peak after a few minutes and then die down, like a wave. Urges become less frequent and less intense as you learn more methods for coping with them.

Identify Cues for Cravings

The counselor talks about triggers or cues:

C: It’s important to learn how to recognize triggers so you can reduce your exposure to them. Common triggers include

Exposure to marijuana or paraphernalia

Seeing other people using

Contact with people, places, times of day, and situations associated with using (such as people you used with, parties, bars, weekends)

Particular emotions (such as frustration, fatigue, feeling stressed), even positive emotions (elation, excitement, feelings of accomplishment)

Physical feelings (feeling sick, shaky, tense). Some triggers are hard to recognize. Self-monitoring can help you identify them.

The easiest way to cope with cravings and urges is to minimize their likelihood of occurring. You can reduce your exposure to triggers by getting rid of marijuana in the house, not going to parties or bars, and limiting contact with friends who use.