How To Decide Between CBT And DBT For Mental Health Therapy

If you’re looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you might be wondering what the difference is, and which is best for you. Both types of psychotherapy have magnificent benefits, and are widely applied to a number of mental illnesses. In short, CBT primarily helps a patient frame thoughts differently in order to use logic to inform emotion. DBT, while derived in part from CBT, is a more specific type of talk therapy that focuses on helping those with intense emotional regulation issues to control their emotions in order to live a healthier, more peaceful life. 

While both CBT and DBT are beneficial forms of therapy, understanding their differences can help you figure out which one is best for you. 

CBT Treatment

CBT is utilized in all types of therapy, including both individual and online group therapy, and focuses primarily on the following: 

  • Emotional Response: CBT is founded on the idea that the way we think directly affects our feelings and reactions. Therefore, if we can change the way we think, we can learn to react in ways that help us feel better and more in control of our emotions. 
  • Short-Term Resolution: CBT is most often used for short-term patients looking to practice strategies that help improve their daily life. If CBT is not working when they branch out on their own, most patients will then pursue additional therapy types in order to process trauma or other concerns keeping them from better mental health. 
  • Logic-Based Processing: CBT helps the patient practice using logic to inform their reactions, instead of emotions. 

DBT Treatment

Even though DBT is a form of CBT, it is more focused on helping people who struggle to acknowledge the suffering they’re feeling, and to help them choose better behaviors rather than letting intense emotional drive them to impulsive, painful, or destructive choices. For this form of therapy, the emphasis is less on the internal dialogue and more on controlling outside triggers and how to respond to triggers with healthy coping skills. 

Which One Is Better? 

Neither CBT or DBT are better or worse forms of treatment. In reality, all types of mental health conditions respond differently to different types of treatment. Some techniques work better than others for specific patients, and some work great in conjunction with each other. However, there are some historical uses for these types of therapy and studies which show the following: 

  • CBT is most effective for: depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, stress, and insomnia. 
  • DBT is most often used for: BPD, suicidal ideation, and sexual trauma survivors.

How To Know If CBT or DBT Are Best For You

If you’re trying to decide between these two powerful types of therapy, the best thing you can do is talk to a licensed mental health professional to get their input! Reach out today to schedule a consultation with one of Grouport’s trained intake coordinators who will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and end goals in order to recommend the best type of therapy for you. 


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