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Cognitive & Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CBT) (DBT)

Two of the most highly-sought after forms of treatment for people suffering from substance abuse disorder are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectic behavior therapy (DBT). These two treatment approaches work to support and strengthen each other’s effectiveness. In fact, DBT came about to specifically augment areas that CBT may prove to be lacking. The effectiveness of CBT and DBT in helping people suffering from addiction is supported by numerous studies, which is why they included as part of Ranch Creek Recovery’s drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.


What Are Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy that centers on teaching the client how to change negative thought patterns to more positive ones in order to effect a positive change in behavior. People suffering from substance abuse disorder who go through this kind of therapy essentially learn how their thoughts, feelings, and behavior are strongly connected and how they affect each other. For instance, if a person believes that nobody likes him (thoughts), the belief can cause him to feel sad and anxious (feelings), which can, later on, lead to drug addiction to help him forget his feelings of isolation or to help him feel accepted by certain groups (behavior).

Dialectical behavior therapy, on the other hand, springs from CBT. Unlike CBT that focuses on thoughts and behavior, DBT emphasizes the social and emotional aspects of daily life. This kind of therapy acknowledges the fact that there are people whose emotions escalate much faster than what others would consider “normal”, which is why DBT provides clients with essential skills that will help them know and accept who they are as well as how to handle their emotions and modify their behavior when needed.


What to Expect from Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Sessions?

Cognitive behavior therapy sessions are highly structured and last for about thirty minutes to an hour. During the first few minutes of the therapy, our drug and alcohol rehab specialists share the agenda or the focus of the session for the day. If the patient needs to discuss a pressing issue during that session, they are encouraged to do so at this time.

During the CBT session, the therapist encourages the patient to talk about specific problems the patient is currently facing and what he thinks and feels about them. The therapist will then help the patient to identify thought patterns that are actually exacerbating the problem. Thereafter, the therapist will focus on helping the patient to transform these negative thought patterns into helpful thoughts.

Homework is also part of a CBT treatment. The patient is expected to accomplish exercises off-session every week.

Dialectical behavior therapy sessions, on the other hand, are divided into the following components:

  1. skills training wherein patients are taught essential behavioral skills in a group format;
  2. individual therapy session that is meant to help the client solve his problem and to give him an avenue to implement and apply what he has learned from the skills training session; and in the case of outpatient treatment,
  3. phone coaching where patients can call the therapist whenever they encounter a difficult situation that they cannot handle on their own and needed help outside the therapy schedule.


It is important to note that CBT and DBT sessions are similar in the sense that both methods are focused on helping the client address specific issues and concerns and in assisting them to develop essential skills that will help them solve their difficulties in the future.

While there are quite a few differences between CBT and DBT, one of the most notable would be the higher frequency of sessions for DBT compared to CBT. DBT therapists are always available even outside formal therapy hours because one of the goals of treatment is to eliminate serious emotional distress and impulsiveness among patients, which means help should always be available to them during times of pressing troubles.

If your loved one is suffering from addiction or other mental health issues, it is important to remember that immediately seeking professional help from Ranch Creek Recovery’s drug and alcohol rehab center will help him greatly. CBT, DBT, and other treatment approaches which are included in the treatment program will undoubtedly start your loved one’s recovery journey and help the healing process.

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