Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are two distinct therapeutic approaches, each with its own focus and techniques. While they share some similarities, they differ in their overall goals and the specific strategies used.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used and evidence-based therapeutic approach that focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It aims to identify and modify unhelpful or distorted thinking patterns and beliefs to improve emotional well-being and promote positive behavioral changes. CBT typically features the following:
- Thought Patterns: CBT emphasizes identifying and challenging negative or irrational thoughts and beliefs that contribute to distressing emotions and maladaptive behaviors.
- Problem-Solving: CBT emphasizes developing practical strategies and skills to address specific problems or challenges. It focuses on developing effective coping mechanisms and problem-solving techniques.
- Present-Focused: CBT typically focuses on the present moment and how current thoughts and behaviors impact emotions and functioning. It may also explore past experiences that contribute to current difficulties but with less emphasis on deep-rooted or historical issues.
- Brief and Time-Limited: CBT is often structured and goal-oriented, with a focus on achieving specific therapeutic objectives within a defined timeframe, usually ranging from a few sessions to several months.
What is DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a therapeutic approach initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) but has since been adapted for other conditions characterized by emotional dysregulation. DBT combines elements of cognitive-behavioral techniques with acceptance-based strategies. DBT typically includes the following features:
- Emotion Regulation: DBT places significant emphasis on teaching individuals skills to manage intense emotions and improve emotional regulation. It helps individuals develop techniques to tolerate distress and reduce emotional reactivity.
- Mindfulness: DBT incorporates mindfulness practices to help individuals stay grounded in the present moment, observe their experiences without judgment, and cultivate awareness and acceptance.
- Dialectics: DBT embraces dialectics, which involves finding a balance between seemingly contradictory perspectives or ideas. It emphasizes the synthesis of acceptance and change as complementary elements in therapy.
- Comprehensive Approach: DBT typically includes individual therapy, group skills training, phone coaching, and therapist consultation meetings. It offers a comprehensive and collaborative treatment approach.
DBT is often a longer-term therapy, with treatment typically lasting several months or more, depending on the individual’s needs.
While CBT and DBT have distinct emphases and techniques, they both aim to alleviate distress, improve coping skills, and promote positive changes. The choice between CBT and DBT depends on the individual’s specific needs, symptoms, and preferences, as determined by a mental health professional.
CBT and DBT online therapy
Fortunately CBT and DBT therapy can be conducted online through teletherapy or virtual therapy platforms. Online therapy offers the convenience and accessibility of receiving therapy services remotely, allowing you to engage in therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home or any location with an internet connection.
CBT and DBT lend themselves well to online therapy because they primarily focus on the individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, making them adaptable to virtual sessions.