Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are two of the most effective psychological treatments. Both are evidence-based, which means they have scientifically proven to help people manage various life challenges. Let’s examine the distinctions between CBT and DBT, their applications and how they can be beneficial in various therapeutic contexts.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a structured, short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving – helping people recognize and reverse negative thinking or behavioral patterns.

A therapist who specializes in CBT will work with you to develop practical coping strategies and healthy emotional regulation. During each session, you and your clinician will  break down your problems into separate components, such as thoughts, feelings and actions.

CBT can be particularly effective in treating:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance abuse

What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Developed from the foundations of CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy incorporates additional elements like mindfulness, radical acceptance and distress tolerance. While DBT is well-known for its success in treating borderline personality disorder, therapists have adapted it for other complex mental health issues, including:

  • Suicidal ideation and self-harm
  • Eating disorders, specifically bulimia and binge eating
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

DBT focuses on providing patients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. It emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment – the relationship between your social environment, emotions and behaviors.

CBT vs. DBT: Who Benefits?

CBT can be valuable for people who are comfortable with introspection and can quickly apply the lessons they learn to real-life situations. It benefits those who require a structured guide to recognize and change problematic thoughts and behaviors.

In contrast, DBT is often more suitable for clients who experience intense emotions and need to learn skills that help them stabilize in a crisis. DBT may also benefit you if you have self-destructive or suicidal tendencies.

Accredited, Evidence-Based Treatment Tracks

CBT and DBT are potent therapies, each with distinct methodologies and focus areas. The choice depends on your specific needs and treatment goals.

As a CARF-accredited facility, Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat offers the gold standard of evidence-based therapies, recognizing that addressing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders requires a tailored approach. Our experienced medical professionals provide clinically sophisticated therapies and specialty services under one roof. Contact our highly trained admissions staff today.