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CBT and DBT: What’s the Difference?

CBT and DBT: What’s the Difference?

CBT and DBT are two forms of psychotherapy or talk therapy. CBT is a type of behavioral therapy that focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impacting each other. DBT was developed from CBT, however, has more focus on emotional and social aspects. Both approaches help clients become self-aware, reevaluate self-destructive behaviors, and form healthy habits through talk therapy.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

CBT helps people change the way they think and act. It is also a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify patterns in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, developing strategies for coping with difficulties or stressors. The focus is often on “here-and-now” activities as well as how past experiences may affect present emotional states.

This mental health therapy has been demonstrated to lead to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. CBT often yields improvements for those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. It is also done one-on-one with a therapist or can be in a group setting (CBGT).

The three main strategies of CBT are:

  1. Structuring treatment techniques: therapists select treatment methods that are based upon client goals and what will benefit them most.
  1. Treating emotional response: therapist help change the way clients think about and react to certain situations, which directly influence feelings.
  1. Rerouting cognition and rationale: clients are encouraged by therapists to alter their thought patterns by applying logic and reason. This helps redirect their responses to different situations.

DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)

DBT is a form of psychotherapy that concentrates on the emotional side. This therapy focuses on teaching clients effective skills for managing intense emotions. In turn, making it possible to focus more clearly on mental health issues such as self-harm or suicide attempts.

The goal of DBT is not just to help individuals cope with stress but to reduce the emotional extremes that often accompany mental health disorders. DBT provides a framework for teaching clients how to change their patterns of thinking, behaving, and reacting in extreme ways.

DBT follows three main stages of treatment:

  1. Control: this stage focuses on transitioning from feeling as if their behavior is getting out of control to regaining control of their thoughts and feelings.
  1. Emotions: following the clients getting control of their behavior, clients work towards fully experiencing and understanding emotions.
  1. Quality of Life: at this stage clients focus on developing a healthy lifestyle and improving their quality of living following the understanding of their emotions and using the tools taught to manage their emotions.

The Main Differences Between CBT and DBT

There are a few differences when it comes to CBT and DBT. CBT is cognitive-based and focuses on changing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT often involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist. DBT provides more focus on the emotional side of treatment. This is by helping clients identify patterns in their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts, and changing them for the better.

Furthermore, CBT takes a longer period of time, whereas DBT is much shorter. CBT sessions are planned and structured out in advance with set goals for each meeting by the therapist. Thus, allowing the therapist to evaluate progress following each session. For DBT, there’s no pre-set plan, instead, therapists use several different techniques during their sessions. These focus on clients identifying their own goals.

CBT focuses on changing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors but in DBT it’s more about accepting oneself as they are and not trying to change themselves into someone else.

Geting Help

Oftentimes, living with a mental health disorder can seem like you are alone and there is no way to cope with life. However, there are organizations like Harm Reduction Center (HARC) that are in your corner. The team at HARC knows that mental health issues impact your life in many ways.

We know that making the call is the hardest part, but our team is ready to help you reclaim your life and walk with you every step of the way. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental disorder, contact us today.