Psychotherapy treatment provides crucial benefits to many people suffering from a variety of mental health disorders, including addiction. Two common approaches to psychotherapy treatment are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Having more than one treatment approach to addiction and counseling, allows therapists to create treatment plans suited to the specific needs of their clients. Let’s look at the differences between CBT vs. DBT therapy.
What Is CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a term used to encompass various forms of “talk” therapy. Therapists put the focus on getting clients to discuss their issues. The idea is to help them change the way they think. It’s about taking negative, destructive thoughts and reframing them positively to improve mood and outlook.
The cornerstone of CBT is that the way we think and act influences how we feel. A quality cognitive-behavioral therapy program helps people understand how to regain control of how they think, which helps stop negativity from driving their actions and reasoning.
Therapists guide the process by engaging clients in various activities meant to provide them with clarity around unhealthy patterns in relationships. The goal is to help them see how their conscious or unconscious thought processes lead to self-destructive behavior. Once clients understand where the traps lie in their psyche, they’re better equipped to avoid them and find fresh ways of approaching problems.
What Is DBT?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) developed as a way of helping therapists treat clients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. We’ve since learned that it also provides positive benefits for those suffering from other mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s also helpful to clients also battling symptoms of a substance use disorder.
Clients taking part in a dialectical behavior therapy program receive encouragement in changing how they behave. It’s helpful to those who experience extreme emotional reactions and give in to impulsive behaviors, typically in response to the pain of being rejected. Those who experience thoughts of self-harm also tend to benefit from DBT.
How Do CBT and DBT Differ?
There are some differences between CBT vs. DBT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy puts more focus on getting patients to express themselves and refocus their thoughts rationally. It’s most beneficial to those dealing with disorders like depression and anxiety. CBT helps them get a better grasp of how to approach their feelings from a more rational viewpoint and see things more logically.
Dialectical behavior therapy puts a bigger emphasis on helping clients learn different techniques to regulate emotions. It involves getting them to understand the impact of their actions and learn to deal with pain and other feelings that typically drive them to destructive acts.
Some other differences between CBT vs. DBT include:
- Most CBT sessions occur for about an hour weekly between a therapist and client, while DBT sessions are a few hours a week
- CBT is a general term for many therapies, including DBT
- DBT focuses on helping clients manage stress, learn effective communication techniques, and how to focus on reality
- DBT sessions may be conducted in a group setting
Why Choose CBT vs. DBT?
The choice of CBT vs. DBT depends on a client’s diagnosis and the severity of their mental health symptoms. It’s best to receive a full evaluation from a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist. There are even situations when CBT and DBT are used in conjunction.
A professional should help identify the best treatment option most suited to helping clients in their recovery. This may mean considering therapies outside of CBT vs. DBT. Talk to a licensed therapist today to find the right therapy techniques for your situation.