CBT and DBT are the two most common types of cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as psychotherapy or talk therapy). Both techniques are used to help people with mental health disorders, especially individuals struggling with self-destructive behavior.
However, the two are also different in a number of ways and during treatment, you’ll have to pick just one. This guide addresses the differences between the two techniques to help you determine the best option for your loved one.
What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBD)?
Developed in the 1960s by Dr Aaron T. Beck, CBT is a form of therapy that aims at restructuring and changing the way a person thinks and behaves. Patients get help here by learning how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence each other, the goal being to equip these patients with the skills to take control of their emotions.
For example, if a patient believes that people don’t like him or her (a thought), it might cause him or her to avoid certain social situations (behavior) resulting in loneliness (a feeling). A positive change in either the thought or behavior can lead to positive changes in all three factors.
Because CBT relies heavily on talk therapy between the patient and the therapist, there needs to be a good relationship between the two parties. The patient must trust the therapist, and the therapist too must be willing to work tirelessly to fully understand the patient and slowly help them change their thought patterns.
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed a little later in the 1970s by Marsha Linehan. While using CBT to treat patients, Marsha noticed several problems such as patients getting frustrated because they weren’t feeling validated. Some patients even felt that their emotions were being minimized. This often weakened her relationship with patients, thus compromising outcomes. So, she decided to create an approach that would add the missing links – acceptance and validation.
Adding acceptance and validation allows the therapist and client to maintain a thriving relationship throughout the therapy period because instead of focusing only on change, the new approach also takes into account feedback from the client at each stage of the process.
In the end, therefore, DBT doesn’t just teach patients how to control their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, It also teaches; mindfulness, distress tolerance, regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. A DBT schedule comprises four elements provided over a year or longer;
- Individual DTB therapy
- Group therapy
- Phone calls
- Weekly consultations
Choosing Between the Two Approaches
CBT and DBT are almost similar, the only difference being that DBT adds validation to therapy. This Validation component can be vital in helping patients understand and accept themselves regardless of the challenges or difficult experiences they’re facing.
Other than that, both therapies are very effective. Both are founded on a strong relationship between the patient and the therapist and both stress the need for long-term engagement. Above all, the end goal in both cases is to help patients learn how to manage painful emotions. So, whichever you choose, positive results are guaranteed.