Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

What’s the Difference Between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Two of the most common options for therapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). While they both sound very similar, they actually have some distinct differences.


First of all, let’s talk about cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy, in which the therapist helps you target and address specific issues, such as anxiety and addiction. By identifying unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, your therapist can help you find strategies for coping with these irrational thoughts and help you get more control over your behavior. Compared to dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy tends to be more logic-focused and encourages clients to use critical thinking to create healthy ways of thinking and behaving. 


Cognitive behavioral therapy is a catch-all phrase for therapies that share common characteristics. Dialectical behavior therapy falls under the umbrella of CBT, but has a greater emphasis on emotional and social aspects. 


Dialectical behavior therapy skills are thought to have the capability of helping those who wish to improve their ability to regulate emotions, tolerate distress, be mindful, present in the given moment, communicate and interact effectively with others. It highlights how two opposing views can still reflect a wise mind.


DBT is a therapy that is designed to focus on 4 therapeutic skill areas, 1. Mindfulness, 2. Distress tolerance 3. Emotional Regulation and 4. Interpersonal effectiveness 


Dialectical behavior therapy is typically used for individuals that are experiencing intense emotional responses to people, situations, and events. It is successfully used for treatment of borderline personality disorder, PTSD, anxiety, depression, bi-polar and even eating disorders. It can significantly reduce instances of self-harming behaviors.


So, which is better? The best way to figure which type of therapy is right for you is to talk to a therapist. If you are in need of a therapist around Grand Rapids, MI, contact Holistic Therapeutic Services, PLLC. We can help you on your path to healing.