Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are types of mental health treatments that can also be used to treat drug or alcohol addiction. While both therapies are evidence-based methods, that include individual and group therapy led by a licensed treatment specialist, there are some differences between CBT and DBT.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, however, they encompass different techniques.
Let’s take a closer look at CBT vs DBT, and the benefits they provide for clients who are recovering from addiction or mental health disorders.
CBT suggests that there is a connection between thoughts and behaviors. More specifically, how you think, believe, or feel about yourself determines what behavior you will engage in. Ultimately, thoughts create feelings, feelings create behavior, and behavior reinforces thoughts.
Unfortunately, with mental health disorders, it’s often negative thoughts that are running the show. Negative thoughts often lead to destructive behaviors such as substance abuse.
One of the main differences between CBT compared to DBT is that cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you focus on the present moment.
When working with your therapist, they may not be concerned about the past. In CBT treatment, they are more focused on the present, and what is impacting your mental health. This is the case because other therapies focus on past experiences or trauma, compared to the present.
Once negative thought patterns are identified, your therapist will work with you to reframe and reprogram your thinking. By turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts, you can find yourself on the road to recovery.
The main benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy include:
- Being more aware of your thoughts and emotions
- Being more mindful, present, and in the moment during difficult situations
- Assisting with transitioning to the next level of recovery
- Working together one-on-one with a therapist during sessions
- Learning how to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
While sitting under the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy focuses on helping people with extreme emotional reactions.
If you struggle to manage your emotions or productively handle stressful situations, DBT can be extremely helpful.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is beneficial for clients who have borderline personality disorder. Clients with borderline personality disorder are aided by dialectical behavior therapy in coping with difficult emotions or dealing with stressful situations.
Part of the DBT therapy model includes acceptance. A person must learn to first accept themselves, their situation, and the people around them in order to truly start a path to recovery.
The five skill groups of DBT:
- Distress tolerance
- Emotion regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
- Finding balance
By accepting your feelings, you are also recognizing that they are valid and real. This will help when it comes to learning techniques to help change them. Validation is also a very important part of DBT. Validation, especially from your DBT therapist, surrounding your feelings will help you establish and foster a trusting relationship, which is key.
Whereas CBT focuses more on identifying and managing thoughts. While DBT is more focused on developing skills that lead to more productive behaviors and controlling emotions in intense situations.
It is vital for someone to learn to accept what is in front of them and can control their emotions/feelings. Once that is accomplished, then they can handle conflict, stress, or other problems that arise more effectively. In addition to managing emotions, managing relationships is also important with DBT.
In DBT, mindfulness techniques are utilized. These play a big role in learning how to live with the pain and emotions you are feeling, rather than fighting them and trying to change them.
The benefits of dialectical behavioral therapy include:
- Reducing the risk of suicide or self-harm when a person faces anxiety
- Instilling emotions and behaviors that promote a productive life
- Learning how to navigate changing moods
- Sustaining healthy relationships and managing conflict
- Developing a greater sense of self-love and self-respect
DBT is an effective therapy method for people with:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
- Impulsive behaviors
While there are some differences between CBT vs DBT, these two mental health treatments offered in New Jersey are often used together to provide a more comprehensive treatment program.
When you enter an addiction treatment center, a treatment specialist will assess your condition to identify your addiction and any mental disorders you may have.
From there, a therapist will meet with you to go over your treatment options and develop a plan that is right for you. This could be comprehensive and include support groups, talk therapy, and other types of therapy.
Everyone and every mental health or substance illness is different. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider or a mental health professional to determine what the best treatment program will be for you.
In some cases, you may undergo a combination of both cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy as a result of a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when you have an addiction problem in addition to a mental health disorder.
It’s important to use CBT and/or DBT to treat both diagnoses, rather than just one or the other. The goal of each is to promote long-term recovery and prevent a relapse.
Last Updated on April 19, 2022