Tuesday Therapy Notes: CBT v. DBT

Welcome to the second post in Tuesday Therapy Notes, a new weekly series that examines some of the issues surrounding therapy. This week, I want to look at and differentiate two common types of therapy: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT).

CBT is a term that applies to a broad collection of therapy techniques. It primarily examines thoughts and feelings associated with certain issues. While there are different approaches to CBT, the core of CBT is identifying negative feelings and emotions and working to challenge them and re-frame them in a therapeutic way.

CBT is often used with mindfulness practice. This is the core of my therapy regime. During my therapy sessions, my therapist and I talk about points of conflict in my life that might be triggering my depression or anxiety, then talk about ways that I can be mindful during those moments and re-frame them to avoid the downward spiral my demons like to cause.

DBT is closely related to CBT. The big difference is that it focuses on acceptance of negative feelings and emotions rather than trying to re-frame them. This can help patients be more accepting of particularly painful issues. It was originally developed to address suicidal patients and patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but has since expanded. However, most patients receiving DBT have BPD as their primary diagnosis, although they can of course have secondary diagnosis that must be addressed.

DBT is particularly helpful for individuals with suicidal ideation or self-harm issues. Over time, it has shown success at decreasing these negative behavioral patterns. While the patient might still have those intrusive thoughts of harm and suicide, with DBT it has been shown that they might be less likely to act on them.

Understanding your own diagnosis and understanding what practices your potential therapist uses is important when looking for a therapist. As I said, I respond well to CBT, and when I am looking for a new therapist, I often do so by looking for one who specializes in CBT.

And if you don’t know how to find a therapist, I would highly recommend Psychology Today, which has a great tool to find therapists in your area. As I have said before, every mental illness is different because you are not a textbook, but a unique person. So not every therapist will be the right fit, and it is important to find the one who is, so that you can begin your journey to recovery. As such, I hope this article has helped. And as always, thanks for reading.

Additional Source. NAMI – Psychotherapy

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