Addiction Treatment

DBT vs CBT: Which Addiction Therapy is Right for You?

Written By:

Becky Babb

Man talking and waving hands trying to decide between dbt vs cbt

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is increasing in popularity because of its ability to help people live happier, more successful lives and no longer allowing negative thoughts to run the show. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is like CBT, but there are key differences. You should consider DBT vs CBT for certain mental illnesses. If you are interested in one of these therapies to manage your emotions and put an end to harmful thoughts, then give thought to the following in order to make the right choice for your needs.

The Difference Between DBT vs CBT for Addiction Treatment

A cognitive behavioral therapy program teaches you about the mental health challenges you’re seeking therapy for and practical methods of overcoming these issues. It focuses on how thoughts influence your feelings and behaviors. Because it’s based on the concept that thoughts influence feelings and behaviors, CBT involves learning how to identify unhelpful thoughts and change them into helpful thoughts. CBT is also goal-oriented. You will set goals for improving your life and implement the CBT techniques your therapist teaches you.

A dialectical behavior therapy program teaches you how to accept yourself and regulate your emotions. It has a greater focus on validation than CBT. You’ll also work on improving relationships in DBT, including maintaining a healthy relationship with your therapist. Some DBT practitioners incorporate group therapy sessions in treatment. Because dialectical behavior therapy is a type of CBT, you’ll learn some cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help manage your emotions and accept yourself. Dialectical behavior therapy also incorporates mindfulness techniques.

Focusing on Emotional and Social Aspects of Addiction

The focus of DBT vs CBT is slightly different. Think about what type of focus appeals more to you. If you want a focus on emotional and social aspects, then choose dialectical behavior therapy. CBT focuses on rationale, logic and the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. If you like the idea of changing your thoughts in order to positively change your life, then you may prefer cognitive behavioral therapy. Those who aren’t interested in a focus on relationships will also prefer CBT.

The Last Resort is a recovery center that offers cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. We combine holistic and practical methods to guide patients to recovery from any mental health problem they may be experiencing.

Which is Better for Mental Health, DBT vs CBT?

Another important factor to consider when choosing DBT vs CBT is what mental health disorder you have. Those who haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness will probably find cognitive behavioral therapy suitable for their needs. CBT can help you overcome challenges in your life. Mental health problems CBT has been helpful in treating include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • OCD

If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), we recommend DBT because it was created to treat BPD. Dialectical behavioral therapy is also helpful in treating self-harm, trauma, severe suicidal thoughts and addiction. It focuses on changing your behavioral patterns. DBT is geared at those who have strong emotional reactions, impulsive behavior, and overwhelming feelings. This therapy has been found effective in helping sexual trauma survivors too.

Making the Choice Between DBT vs CBT

Do both types of talk therapy appeal to you? You could start with DBT and then turn to CBT once you have reaped the benefits of dialectical behavioral therapy. Taking DBT first allows you to find acceptance and soothe intense emotions. It can prepare you for later when you use logic to ensure you’re thinking healthy thoughts and being able to detect when your thoughts are getting out of hand.

People who struggle with mental health issues or a lot of internal pain sometimes find that undergoing more than one type of therapy helps them regain control over their lives. Stay open to trying different therapies if one didn’t work for you or didn’t fully resolve the problems you want to solve.

Get Addiction Help With CBT and DBT at The Last Resort

Reach out for help if you are struggling with any type of mental health issue. It’s possible for everyone to manage emotions better and lead a healthier life. Contact us today to discuss your options in therapy.

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