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CBT vs DBT: What You Need to Know

Jan 2020 CBT vs DBT: What You Need to Know

CBT vs DBT, what’s the difference? These abbreviations are standard in addiction treatment but may be difficult to understand, especially for family members such as parents. They may not have much experience with substance use disorder, so they are not familiar with the terminology.

CBT and DBT are two treatments that you will likely see as you research different rehab facilities. It’s important to know what they are and how they are different.

What is CBT?

The Mayo Clinic defines cognitive behavioral therapy as a form of talk therapy that deals with inaccurate or negative thinking. It’s a tool seen in many kinds of treatment, including addiction. CBT is what many people think of as psychotherapy. For those with a substance use disorder, CBT can help reframe their mindset to push past denial and negative thinking and create a healthier thought pattern.

What is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of CBT. It works in a very similar way but geared more toward reactions than thought patterns. DBT is a conventional treatment for people with borderline personality disorder, a mental health condition.

Those with borderline personality disorder have intense reactions to things in their lives, like relationships and rejection. They may have self-image issues that affect their goals and value system. The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Study found that 47 percent of people suffering from a substance use disorder also have borderline personality disorder. They may use drugs or drink alcohol as a way to feel better.

CBT Therapy vs DBT Therapy

DBT is a form of CBT, but there are differences. For one thing, cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term process. There is a time limitation on this therapy, and it is typically goal-focused.

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a long-term process broken down into distinct sections: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT builds on the foundations of cognitive-behavioral therapy but goes beyond it.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Fits Into Addiction Recovery

One common thing about these two kinds of therapy is you may see them both as you look at different drug and alcohol treatment programs. People suffering from addiction often have negative thoughts that influence their recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps to identify and break them down to rebuild thought patterns. Without this process, the negative thoughts could continue and interfere with healing plus trigger a relapse every time something changes.

How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Fits Into Addiction Treatment

DBT is less common in addiction treatment because not everyone needs it. It is helpful for those with a dual diagnosis, though. Dual diagnosis means they have an underlying mental health condition that feeds the addiction like a borderline personality disorder or depression. Often those suffering from addiction fit into this category.

CBT works to change thought patterns, while DBT works on personality issues like self-image and destructive behaviors. DBT assumes that change and growth are necessary for the healing to begin.

How Do You Know What Treatment You Need?

It’s a tough call until you work with addiction professionals to create a care plan. The best approach may be to look for a program that offers both. Phoenix Rising in Palm, Springs, California, is such a program. They feature both CBT and DBT in their services along with dual diagnosis treatment, trauma-informed care, family therapy, group therapy, and psychotherapy for addiction.

Services at Phoenix Rising include:

CBT and DBT Recovery Center in Palm Springs, CA

This treatment facility sits on a four-acre ranch and offers some enticing amenities, as well. As a client, you will enjoy access to a gym and rec room plus time in the in-house pool and jacuzzi. There are standard treatments like CBT and DBT, as well as innovative approaches such as equine therapy.

If you have any questions about CBT vs DBT or if you think someone you love can benefit from this type of therapy, give us a call at (855) 232-8211 to learn more about Phoenix Rising.