Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Versus Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can both be beneficial forms of therapy for those engaging in them. CBT versus DBT benefits depends on a few things. For one, it depends upon what exactly is going on in the lives of those seeking these forms of help.

Which one is best suited for an individual is based upon what kind of challenges they are going through. Talk therapy is a beneficial resource for anyone who is facing day-to-day life struggles. Thus, understanding the different forms and what the major forms of therapy entail can help someone make the best-informed decision.

What is Talk Therapy?

Thinking about therapy, traditionally one may visualize a person in a room with a therapist. They are discussing life’s struggles and the therapist guides them through to finding a solution to these issues. This is what would be considered talk therapy. It is a beneficial form of therapy for anyone who is facing emotional struggles or even just going through a hard time in life. 

Benefits of Talk Therapy

The benefits of talk therapy are far-reaching. Being able to change negative thinking into positive is the main one. Understanding the benefits of CBT versus DBT and what each one entails can be the best way to know which would best help in any given situation.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that has been proven to be beneficial when treating depression and anxiety disorders. It has also been proven to be effective for treating alcohol and drug addiction, eating disorders and other mental health conditions.

There have been copious amounts of research on the benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy on a range of different mental health and behavioral conditions. The basis of CBT is that it works to change the negative ways of thinking into more positive and productive ways of thinking. When the ways of thinking change, the behaviors can change. 


Dialectical behavioral therapy is a therapy that is based off of CBT but also includes practicing mindfulness. It is suited for those who experience intense emotions, and it focuses on the acceptance of behaviors and reality of an individual’s life. Then it works to change the behaviors leading to negative impacts on their life. 


Rational emotional behavior therapy incorporates the identification of negative thought patterns and beliefs in order to help change behavior patterns that cause negative results in a person’s life. It is also derived from CBT, and is beneficial in changing thought patterns that lead to unhealthy behaviors.

Who Does CBT or DBT Work Best For?

Though similar, CBT versus DBT differences are vital to deciding what is best for an individual to participate in. While DBT is derived from CBT, it is best suited for those with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, self-harm, and substance use disorders. CBT is more goal-oriented and works to change negative thought patterns into positive ones with the goal of changing behaviors.

CBT versus DBT is best suited for those struggling with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and phobias. All of these conditions generally have certain behaviors associated with them, so CBT tends to work with the end goal of changing those behaviors.

How Do They Work?  

The model used for each of these forms of therapy are what makes them beneficial. CBT versus DBT models can be helpful to those struggling with trauma, or behavioral and mental health conditions.


In cognitive-behavioral therapy, the components used include identifying negative thoughts, practicing new skills, setting goals, problem solvings, and monitoring self for negative thoughts and behaviors. 


CBT versus DBT differences include the different components of each form of therapy. Whereas CBT works to change thought patterns, DBT focuses on acceptance and then letting someone change behavior.

The 6 elements that make up DBT include:

  • Acceptance and change: Accepting what is and implementing positive changes
  • Behavioral: Analyzing problematic behaviors and working to change them
  • Cognitive: Working to change detrimental thought patterns
  • Skill sets: New skills and enjoyable activities
  • Collaboration: Working as a team
  • Support: Recognize and use positive qualities to help others

What is REBT?

Rational emotional behavioral therapy is another form of CBT that aims to help an individual to challenge the negative thought patterns in order to avoid the negative thoughts and emotions. The goal is to challenge these ways of thinking in order to prevent them from occurring, which in turn could prevent negative behaviors and consequences. When used correctly, it can be effective for those who use it. 

Begin Healing

CBT and DBT both have therapeutic value. The best way to know what will work well is to undergo an official assessment with a professional. If you are struggling, we can help. Our team of professionals can help guide you through the beginning stages of finding the right form of help.

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