CBT vs DBT: What’s the Difference?

The difference between CBT and DBT can make all the difference in the world, depending on your struggles and recovery needs. Though they possess similar traits, their approaches equip uniquely distinct tools. A deep dive into these individual treatments will clarify any uncertainties in determining which therapy is right for you.

Understanding the difference between CBT and DBT will bring clarity. If, for any reason, you have any questions that require additional attention, reach out to us today. Compassionate medical receptionists are standing by to answer any concerns, uncertainties, or reservations you may have.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

cbt and dbt for addiction treatmentCBT, the abbreviation for its medical term cognitive behavioral therapy, is a treatment that equips the patient with problem-solving tools to overcome addictive and traumatic behaviors.

A trained specialist targets your traumatic and addictive memory triggers by getting to know you, your experiences, and your traumatic memories. By getting to the source of these triggers, a doctor can develop a personalized approach to resolving your addiction or other related mental disorders.

The number one key to cognitive behavioral therapy is developing trust with your therapist. This bond is established by tried and true question-and-answer sessions that will determine the most effective recovery path for your individual needs. Open-ended honesty and transparency make CBT one of the most effective treatment options.

Letting someone into the inner circle of your deepest struggle can help you free your mind from your mental health struggles. With cognitive behavioral therapy sessions at Achieve Wellness and Recovery, the truth does set you free.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

DBT, or dialectical behavioral therapy, is an important treatment for understanding behavioral processes and triggers.  Thus, the primary focus of dialectical behavioral therapy is for your therapist to get to know the person behind the struggle. The main job of your compassionate specialist is to listen. That’s why honesty and complete transparency is of the utmost importance.

Despite the distinct difference between CBT and DBT treatment, the common principle of patient/physician transparency remains the same. Knowing your mental health history and your triggers is key to gaining the upper hand in your mental health. DBT provides separate tools from cognitive behavioral therapy to combat addictions or other mental health conditions. By fortifying your mind and understanding with the necessary knowledge, you can take the next step of attacking your struggles head-on.

The clear-cut difference between CBT and DBT can be seen in the goals each therapy sets out to accomplish. While CBT centers around specifically combatting your struggles head-on, DBT emphasizes the importance of the what and why. Once your physician identifies the triggers associated with your mental health struggle, you can proceed with the most effective individual recovery path.

What are the Similarities Between CBT and DBT Therapy?

the difference between CBT and DBTCBT and DBT therapy are similar in targeting the basis of your thoughts and behavioral mental triggers. Though they are meant to treat contrary mental disorders, the same common principles apply to each respective therapy.

The foundation of both therapies is based on opening up to your therapist. Therapeutic success in Dialectical behavioral therapy requires an open-ended means of communication. Sharing the full depth of your mental health history and traumatic experiences tied to your mental health struggle is key to a healthy mental balance.

These full-proof communication methods from a trained therapist make therapy one of the most personalized forms of treatment. Getting to know the triggers and traumatic foundations of your mental health struggles for CBT and DBT chart the course of your recovery plan. An addiction treatment specialist can guide you through the best treatment options for you and your circumstances.

What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is most effectively geared toward anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. Due to the subtle difference between CBT and DBT therapy and the few commonalities, patients easily make the mistake of thinking all conditions are cross-treatable. This isn’t necessarily the case. Cognitive behavioral therapy is meticulously engineered to alleviate, treat, or even prevent all stress-related mental disorders.

You can manage your anxiety and depression with the right tools from a trained medical professional. Speak to a medical receptionist now to find out how cognitive behavioral therapy can be your guide to a greater life.

How Does CBT Treat Addiction?

The pains of addiction often require teaching methods to help one recover, methods that reinforce confidence and encouragement. The cognitive behavioral therapy process in addiction cases does just that. CBT for addiction involves listening to your story, needs, and struggles. Through these elaborate question-and-answer sessions administered by a caring physician. That means you dictate and chart your recovery path based on your responses, concerns, and goals.

From there, your doctor will hone in on the source of your addictive triggers, struggles, and weaknesses. Doing so allows your doctor to reinforce your weaknesses with newfound mental strength you never thought possible. These strengths serve as the support beams to your sobriety. You can find new life by speaking to a licensed physician about your struggles.

What Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Treat?

There are various treatment options centered around specific mental conditions that DBT is foundationally engineered to target. The treatment focus is just another primary difference between CBT and DBT treatment. Unlike CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy is specifically designed to treat addiction-based disorders and personality disorders. But both therapies use the same principles to target your addictive triggers and tendencies to overcome your strongholds.

One of the first mistakes a substance or alcohol-dependent patient makes is not considering an addiction a mental disorder. This unfortunate misconstruing is often why addictive behaviors and struggles go unresolved. DBT can be one of the most effective long-term solutions to addiction by adhering to medical processes as administered by your physician.

How Does DBT Treat Addiction?

Dialectical behavioral therapy aims to help maintain a harmonious emotional and physical balance to prevent relapse. To take it further, these maintained balances can remove the desire to indulge your strongholds with newly-instilled mental tools.

Treatment is initiated by identifying natural behavioral patterns and thoughts directly linked to your addictive personality and triggers. Rather than altering these patterns, a trained physician helps instill a new mindset to coexist with your addictive behaviors. Doing so enables you to operate under a realistic mindset to fend off addictive tendencies persistently. That’s why it’s important to remember that recovery is a daily battle, not a one-stop shop quick fix.


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Receive Addiction Therapy at Achieve Wellness and Recovery

dbt and cbtAt Achieve Wellness and Recovery, your sobriety is in your hands when you put it in the safe hands of one of our compassionate specialists. W sets the standard for putting your recovery needs first.

Despite the distinct difference between CBT and DBT, the same common principle of listening to your needs applies. Our compassionate team of specialists will do just that. Achieve Wellness and Recovery accomplishes its name in your life simply by listening to you. Our physicians put you and your struggles first to get you the help you deserve.

Where other treatments may have failed, therapy can help here at our New Jersey rehab center. Don’t let another moment pass without receiving the help you need. You can change your life simply by reaching out to a recovery call center now. As burdening as addiction is, sobriety doesn’t have to be such a struggle. With both cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy methods it can even be an enjoyable and soothing experience as many people report.

You control your destiny at this moment. That first could be the first step of the rest of your life. Your new friends and unprecedented joys await you at one of our recovery centers. Reach out today to receive the treatment you deserve and need.


  1. Chand SP, Kuckel DP, Huecker MR. Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed January 1, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470241/
  2. Chapman AL. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2006;3(9):62-68.
  3. Petry NM, Zajac K, Ginley MK. Behavioral Addictions as Mental Disorders: To Be or Not To Be? Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2018;14:399-423. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032816-045120
Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Infinite RecoveryAscendant NY, The Heights Treatment, New Waters RecoveryGallus DetoxRecovery Unplugged,  Ocean RecoveryRefresh Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed December 1, 2022

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