When discussing the best evidence-based practices to treat substance use disorders, two therapies consistently top the list. Those two therapies are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Both have been repeatedly shown to help people with a variety of mental illnesses. But what’s the difference between DBT and CBT? This article will answer that question and help you determine whether a dialectical behavior treatment program is right for you.
If you need help managing a substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Serenity Grove by calling 844.904.3485. You can start CBT and DBT and get on the road to better mental and physical health.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy was the first of these two therapies. Developed by psychologist Aaron Beck in the 1960s, CBT was originally used to treat depression.
Beck believed that you could change people’s behaviors by closely examining their thought processes and working with them to change maladaptive thought patterns.
In CBT, there are a few key steps to changing behavior, including:
- Understanding a client’s challenging thoughts and behaviors
- Teaching clients to reframe their thoughts in a healthier, more productive way
- Providing clients skills for reframing, leading to healthier behaviors and cognition
This is a simple description of a very thoroughly researched and manualized treatment, but it shows the key elements of any CBT program. The way people think influences how they feel, which in turn influences how they act.
If a therapist can help somebody change their thought patterns, it can have a domino effect on their emotions and behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy evolved from the framework of CBT. DBT was developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan, who was looking for a better way to treat people with borderline personality disorder. Prior to DBT, borderline personality disorder had no effective treatments and was generally treated with CBT, though usually ineffectively.
Linehan added two core components to CBT to enhance the therapy for people with borderline personality disorder: mindfulness and acceptance.
Instead of focusing on changing every maladaptive thought, Linehan thought people could benefit from learning to accept what they couldn’t change. She figured that they could alter them in real-time if they paid close enough attention to their emotional reactions.
Her treatment worked and became the first effective treatment for borderline personality disorder. Since then, DBT has proven itself to be highly effective at treating all manner of mental health disorders, including:
- Substance use disorders
Researchers continue to study whether DBT could be used to treat other disorders, and the full scope of DBT’s effectiveness has yet to be revealed.
DBT and CBT
With a choice between CBT and DBT, which should you pick? Simply put, both treatments are highly effective for helping people with substance use disorders and a variety of mental illnesses.
There is no definitive answer as to which is the superior therapy, and different people will respond differently to each kind of treatment. If possible, you should try each therapy and see which one resonates with you. That trust and comfort make for the best indicators of successful treatment.
Start Treatment Today at Serenity Grove
At Serenity Grove, we strive to bring the best evidence-based therapies to anyone struggling with a substance use disorder. Our therapists are trained in both CBT and DBT, and they can help you make the right treatment choice for your situation.
In addition, we have several other forms of therapy that can help you break free from your addiction and start living a healthier and more productive life. When you’re ready to start treatment, reach out to the experts at Serenity Grove by calling 844.904.3485.