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With so many different types of therapies, it can be confusing. The names rarely explain what stands out with one kind of therapy or where the focus of another type is. How can someone be sure about what type of therapy will work for their particular problem? During rehab, the two most often heard terms are CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). When it comes to CBT vs DBT, the two have some things in common. They also have some significant differences. Each has its place in any program, and each has been proven most effective with particular mental health issues.

CBT vs DBT: Based on the Same Principles

CBT and DBT are essentially part of talk therapy. However, CBT is based on the principle that our thoughts create feelings. These feelings, in turn, dictate our behavior. The purpose of CBT is to discover the erroneous beliefs we are having that are leading to unhealthy behavior. DBT is a subtype of CBT. DBT is also based on the same thoughts to emotions to the behavior model and works to help the individual change their behavior. This is where the two types of therapy start to take slightly different paths.

CBT vs DBT: How They Differ

CBT is an individual therapy. The therapist-patient relationship is much like that of student and teacher. The therapist helps the patient identify the disturbing thoughts. Then, the two work on ways to change those thoughts, thus reducing the stress involved. This process enables the individual to act differently. For example, a person feels that nobody will like him. This thought causes him to feel anxiety when meeting with other people, and he may either avoid such situations or use some drug or alcohol to tame the anxiety. CBT convinces the person that assuming nobody will like you is not a healthy way to think. Instead, you need to believe you are likable and that others will see this. This belief then reduces anxiety and allows you to go into the situation without needing a coping mechanism.

DBT combines both individual and group therapy. The patient-therapist relationship is more nurturing and on an equal basis. In this therapy, the focus isn’t on changing the thought as much as on improving the reaction. In DBT, the patient is to acknowledge the idea, understand it is real, and then determine a way to manage the emotion so that the reaction is appropriate. The focus is more on a relationship with society rather than the inward relationship of CBT. For example, you feel that someone is going to abandon you if they disagree, you accept that this is how you think because you have learned that you tend to over-react emotionally to such situations. So, you need to ask yourself how you can reduce your emotional reaction and get your thoughts across to the other person in a way that doesn’t damage the relationship.

CBT says your thoughts changing will change the pain. DBT says that the pain is there and it is real, but you can find a way to cope with it that is acceptable.

CBT vs DBT: Which Works Best

The individual therapies have both been proven effective but are better suited for different situations. DBT works better with borderline personality disorder. It is also useful for chronic suicidal thoughts and self-harming behavior. CBT is most useful for diseases such as depression and anxiety. The only way to know for sure which method is best for your particular circumstance is to work with a therapist who understands your personal history and needs.

Atlantic Recovery Center

At Atlantic Recovery Center, your therapist will get to know you well enough to be able to choose which of the two therapies will work best. These are the two most popular forms of treatment used in a rehab program. If you or your loved one needs help with an addiction, contact 1-866-824-5193 today. At Atlantic Recovery Center, you can defeat addiction.