Distinguishing Between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Dialectical Behavior Therapy


CBT and DBT are two different types of therapeutic methods used in counseling and psychology. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, while DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Both therapies are used to guide and assist clients with various issues, but they have some key differences.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular therapeutic method used to treat a range of mental illnesses and conditions, such as depression, addiction, anxiety, and phobias. It focuses on studying the thoughts and feelings of the client to understand their behavioral patterns. The goal of CBT is to help the client identify and change maladaptive behavior. It is a short-term and effective treatment method that increases the individual’s awareness of destructive behavior and teaches them ways to deal with it. CBT consists of several types of therapies, including Multimodal Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Key Takeaways

  • CBT focuses on identifying and changing maladaptive behavior
  • DBT is a modification and improvement of CBT, with a focus on psychosocial aspects
  • DBT is mainly used for Borderline Personality Disorder, Eating Disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was founded by psychologist Marsha Linehan and was initially used to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. It has since expanded to treat other mental illnesses, such as eating disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). DBT is considered a modification and improvement of CBT, with its foundation lying in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This therapy focuses on the psychosocial aspects, helping individuals cope with emotional swings and extreme emotions that arise in various situations. DBT consists of two components: individual sessions and group sessions. It includes four main sets of skills: reality acceptance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and mindfulness.

What is the difference between CBT and DBT?

The main differences between CBT and DBT are their foundations, focus, and usage. While the foundation of DBT lies in CBT, it is a modification and improvement of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT primarily focuses on identifying and changing maladaptive behavior, whereas DBT focuses on acceptance of features that cannot be changed and can be more challenging in certain situations. CBT is used for a variety of mental conditions, while DBT is mostly used for Borderline Personality Disorder, Eating Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a few other disorders.

Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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