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What is the Difference Between CBT and DBT?

What is the Difference Between CBT and DBT - What is the Difference Between CBT and DBT?

Mental health issues can be severely debilitating and can impact every aspect of our lives. That is why seeking help from a professional therapist is a crucial step in managing a mental health condition. In therapy clinicians use different approaches and techniques to help clients cope with their issues. Two of the most commonly used therapies are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In this blog post we discuss the differences between these two therapies.

What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a goal-oriented approach that addresses negative thinking patterns and behaviors to alleviate mental health issues. This form of therapy helps clients identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that impact their well-being. CBT focuses on developing coping skills that help clients manage their symptoms in the present and prevent future relapses. Typically, CBT is a brief therapy lasting between 5 to 20 sessions.

What is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of CBT that emphasizes mindfulness, acceptance, and emotional regulation. The primary goal of DBT is to help individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve their relationships with others. DBT uses various techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, skills training, and problem-solving to help clients manage their emotions better.

The Differences Between CBT and DBT

While both CBT and DBT are similar in structure, they have a stark difference in their approach to therapy. CBT focuses on the client’s thoughts and behaviors, while DBT emphasizes the client’s emotions. Moreover, DBT is a more intensive form of therapy than CBT, with a more significant focus on developing emotional regulation skills to manage overwhelming emotions.

Which One is Right for You?

Deciding which form of therapy to pursue depends on your mental health needs and condition. CBT may be more suitable for individuals who struggle with negative thought patterns that lead to anxiety or depression. On the other hand, DBT may be more beneficial for individuals with borderline personality disorder or other mental health conditions that cause intense emotional reactions.

The Benefits of CBT and DBT

Both CBT and DBT bring many benefits to clients who engage in their respective forms of therapy. CBT enables clients to identify and change harmful thought patterns that impact their mental health. It has been clinically proven to be effective in treating mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DBT, on the other hand, helps clients learn to regulate their emotions, leading to better relationships with others and improved social functioning.

Choosing a form of therapy that is right for you can seem daunting. Understanding the differences between CBT and DBT is a great place to start. Regardless of the form of therapy you choose, remember that seeking help for mental health issues can be a life-changing decision that leads to lasting improvements in your quality of life. Take the first step and reach out to a mental health professional, and together, you can develop a personalized approach that is tailored to your unique needs.

If you have any questions or would like to explore further, please book a free, no-charge online appointment with either myself, Josh Zettel, BA (Hons), MA, RP (Qualifying) CCC, or another Kitchener psychotherapist at CARESPACE. We are happy to listen and are here to help!

Josh Zettel, BA (Hons), MA, RP (Qualifying) CCC

Josh Zettel, BA (Hons), MA, RP (Qualifying) CCC

Psychotherapist, Clinic Director
Life can be hard at times. Do you feel like you could use some extra support to manage the moments that life can bring? Josh is available to provide a space that offers trust, psychological safety, and evidence-based strategies to help you manage your mental health. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, burnout, career stress, grief, having difficulties with self-regulation, self-esteem, life transitions, and relationships; Josh is here for you. With a BA Honours in Psychology and Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MA in Counselling with a Specialization in Sport and Health Psychology from Adler University in Chicago, Josh brings his strong theoretical background from the fields of counselling and sport psychology to help you understand how the brain and body works, how you can improve self-awareness, and how to develop tools to move forward towards healthier habits both mentally and physically. Josh is a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CSPA) and has earned certificates in Narrative Therapy and as a HeartMath® Certified Practitioner. He incorporates narrative strategies into his counselling approach along with HeartMath techniques and biofeedback technology for client’s looking for support with stress, anxiety, and self-regulation.

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