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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

In drug rehab, there are several types of therapies used to help people overcome this health challenge. Two of the most popular therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These talk therapies have a long history in the drug rehab field and have evidence of successful results. Hence, the term evidence-based therapies. However, what are their differences, you may wonder. Let’s take a closer look at CBT vs DBT.


CBT vs DBT is not so much opposing strategies or therapies as they are complementary. Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, each one focuses a bit differently on emotional issues that may be driving substance abuse.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy zeros in on how your thoughts influence your feelings and actions. It’s a cycle that continues until its broken. The therapy strategy helps you change your thoughts, which, in turn, improves your emotions and behavior. Therefore, you break the cycle of negative reactions.

For example, a person may think that people are untrustworthy (due to past trauma). Consequently, they feel anxious or suspicious in new relationships, which leads them to action—which is isolation. 

In dialectical behavioral therapy, the focus is somewhat different. Instead of looking at the inner thoughts and attempting to change those, DBT focuses on the emotions and behavior and offers strategies to change the behavior or deal with overwhelming emotions. This therapy has helped people with borderline personality as well as many other conditions, such as substance abuse.

When looking at DBT vs CBT, it’s essential to realize that the therapist helps you recognize the problem behavior while at the same time ensuring you accept yourself during dialectical behavioral therapy. Then they teach you mindfulness techniques and strategies so that when situations arise, you feel equipped with the tools you need to overcome strong emotions. It also shows you how to put up boundaries in relationships, if this is a problem for you.

When determining the treatment for DBT vs CBT, it’s very similar in that you will talk with a therapist who will guide you through the healing journey.

Seek Treatment Today

At Renaissance Recovery, our compassionate, experienced professionals offer therapy solutions to substance use disorders and help you understand different treatment options, such as CBT vs DBT. We work with a wide range of drug addiction issues, including heroin, alcohol, meth, cocaine, painkillers, and more.

Through our rehab center, we help you find your way along the healing journey to sobriety. A therapist will assess your situation to learn the differences between CBT vs DBT and decide which will suit you best. As you move forward in therapy, you will begin to see the progress you’re making and become more confident.

Start Your Path to Sobriety at Renaissance Recovery

Depending on the nature of your case, you can get treatment from one or more of the following programs:

Don’t let addiction steal the joy from your life. Now that you know the difference between CBT vs DBT, you can seek whichever treatment is best for you. To learn more about dialectical behavioral therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy in Orange County, contact us at [Direct]. We’ll get you on the right path for healing.866.330.9449

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

“They truly cared for me and the other people that I served with! From this group, I have made 8 new brothers and friends for life! We have continued on, after the program, to take care of each other”

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Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country