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CBT Vs. DBT: Therapies to Treat Multiple Disorders

Before discussing CBT vs. DBT, it’s good to know what each acronym describes. CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy, or a type of psychotherapy used to treat a variety of disorders, including those involving mental health and addiction. In contrast, DBT refers to dialectical behavioral therapy, a category of CBT. While both are forms of talk therapy that pairs a client with a counselor in one-on-one sessions, the two are vastly different. Your care provider team will help you decide whether DBT vs. CBT is right for you or your loved one.

CBT Vs. DBT: Therapies Defined

DBT is a form of therapy used to treat individuals suffering from severe or multiple disorders. These clients are typically high risk and difficult to treat. They may suffer from multiple disorders simultaneously, including:

Clients in need of DBT may have reached the point where they suffer suicidal thoughts or psychosis. In other words, they’re among the most difficult clients to treat. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, conversely, is a common form of treatment for both mental health and substance use disorders. Often prescribed as part of a general treatment plan to treat disorders ranging from mild to severe, this form of therapy is more widely used. CBT seeks to find and identify negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with more positive options. When considering CBT vs. DBT, a care provider team will take into account what sort of disorder or disorders exist, their severity, and the client’s previous medical and psychological history.

How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy puts a client in a room with a therapist in a one-on-one situation. The two develop a trust and rapport, and they work together to identify negative patterns of thinking and divert them into more positive thoughts. Clients who benefit from CBT often suffer from cognitive distortions. In other words, their thinking tends to be in stark black and white with no shades of gray. An incident that would be annoying to someone else may be devastating to someone who suffers cognitive distortions. Examples include:

  •  If someone ignores me, it must be because I’m worthless
  •  A bad day means things will never get better
  •  Because something bad happened, life isn’t even worth living

CBT is beneficial for clients who think in such negative terms because it helps them identify these thoughts and turn them around. Instead of telling themselves they’re worthless, a client realizes that if someone ignores them, it must be because that person is having a bad day. As a result, when choosing CBT vs. DBT, CBT is effective at treating depression, substance use disorder, anxiety, and more.

How Does DBT Work?

Dialectical behavioral therapy is often called change and acceptance therapy. It works by helping clients accept and identify dangerous thinking and behavior and replace them with healthier alternatives. For instance, someone who receives DBT may be homeless, suicidal, and suffering from substance use disorder all at once. DBT treats the most serious or life-threatening conditions first, then focuses on changing the rest. DBT has four parts:

  • One-on-one counseling
  • Group skills training
  • Crisis intervention
  • Consultation groups for providers

In other words, even the therapist practicing DBT must meet with peers in a group to discuss patient care and stay motivated. Clients who require DBT are among the most difficult to treat because their disorders affect their moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Treatment may be stressful for both the client and the provider. Ultimately, however, DBT can help alleviate suicidal thoughts and teach clients to cope with anger without being self-destructive. The results are shorter hospital stays and improved ability to function in society. A care team considering CBT vs. DBT will typically choose DBT for clients who are in greater distress.

CBT Vs. DBT at Recovery Ranch

DBT vs. CBT at Recovery Ranch in Tennessee is useful for treating clients with multiple disorders. If you’re struggling and need help, contact us today at 1.844.876.7680, and we’ll get you in for an initial assessment. Recovery Ranch provides the highest level of care to individuals who suffer from substance use and other disorders. We’ll help you find your way back to a brighter future. Contact us today.

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