In Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania, Family Resources, Personal Resources

Psychotherapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment for mental and substance use disorders. One of the most common types of psychotherapy methods is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Also referred to as talk therapy, CBT focuses on discussing your problems to help change your thinking. For people who feel like negative thoughts are always in the way or impeding their recovery from addiction, CBT can be extremely helpful. However, CBT is often confused with another form of therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Many people compare DBT vs CBT and often struggle to decide which one is right for them. If you’re wondering the same thing, our drug rehab Pennsylvania can help.


What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychological treatment that’s effective in treating a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. CBT focuses on identifying the person’s unhelpful or destructive thoughts and learning patterns of behavior and teaching them how to find better ways of coping with their symptoms and condition. CBT is also called talk therapy because clients receiving this treatment are asked to speak about their problems so they can reframe their thoughts. During CBT, therapists may implement certain techniques to help patients:


  • Recognize their distorted thinking and realistically reevaluate their thoughts
  • Gain a better understanding of their behavior and motivation of others
  • Develop problem-solving skills to manage challenging situations
  • Develop a greater sense of confidence in their own abilities


Cognitive behavioral therapy also encourages clients to face their fears, use role-playing to prepare for difficult situations and interactions with others, and learn how to calm themselves. CBT therapists may also assign “homework” or exercises outside of sessions that patients can work on outside of treatment.


What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

DBT or dialectical behavior therapy is a modified version of CBT. The goals of DBT are to teach people how to enjoy and live in the moment, manage stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their interpersonal relationships. DBT was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder but was eventually adapted to treat other mental health conditions and substance use disorders. DBT may be held in individual settings, group settings, or over the phone. Especially due to the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth services and online treatment programs are important now more than ever.


One key aspect of dialectical behavior therapy is developing mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you focus on the present and live in the moment. This encourages you to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses. Mindfulness and self-awareness go hand in hand and are both vital in addiction recovery. Mindfulness helps you slow down the moment and focus on implementing healthy coping skills during stressful situations. Our thoughts usually determine our actions, so for a person who wants to stay sober long-term, learning how to manage negative thoughts can help them avoid engaging in impulsive and self-destructive behaviors like drug abuse.


What Is the Difference Between CBT and DBT?

With such similar names, it’s no wonder people are always comparing DBT vs CBT. But how are they different, and which one is more beneficial to your situation? The difference between DBT and CBT is that DBT focuses on regulating emotions to improve responses through validation, while CBT focuses on how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected. For instance, if you think people don’t like you, then you may avoid socializing and feel lonely. In the long run, this can impact your relationships and prevent you from starting any new ones. However, CBT teaches you the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as how to use them to your advantage.


On the other hand, while DBT is based on CBT, it focuses more on emotional regulation and social aspects. DBT was developed to help people who experience severe or unstable emotions and engage in harmful behaviors. This form of therapy also heavily focuses on validation and relationships. DBT teaches you that your experiences are real and that you must accept yourself no matter the situation. DBT is tailored to help people acknowledge pain or rejection and yet still feel “okay” enough to choose a healthy response rather than an impulsive one.


Despite their differences, dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy also share certain elements. Because DBT was developed from CBT, they tend to overlap in certain areas. For instance, CBT and DBT are similar because they both focus on the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The ultimate goal of both methods is to help clients identify problematic thoughts and behaviors and how to properly manage stressful or hurtful situations. Both methods also encourage clients to take responsibility for their actions through validation.


Whether it’s CBT or DBT therapy that you’re in, many patients who were treated at our inpatient rehab in Pennsylvania benefited greatly from these treatment methods. In addition to CBT and DBT, we also offer a variety of other special programs and therapies that work in conjunction with our drug treatment to prepare patients for long-term sobriety. Call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 to speak to a team member.



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