The Benefits of DBT and CBT

Regular therapy in groups and individually is the core of addiction treatment. Groups provide peer feedback and a listening ear from those who are experiencing many of the same emotions and feelings. One-on-one sessions allow for deeper, more focused work using a variety of scientifically proven methods. Despite the varied approaches, the goal is always the same: To get to the root cause of the substance abuse, help the patient overcome their addiction and give them the tools to achieve a life of hope, peace and promise.

Many programs use popular treatment methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to help inspire self-awareness, set goals and bring about positive change.


CBT is not actually a distinct therapeutic technique. Instead, it is a more general term for a group of therapies that share some similarities. A form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do, CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors. That means we can change the way we think in order to feel or act better even if the situation itself doesn’t change.

CBT is…

  • Fast working. CBT is actually considered among the most rapid in terms of results seen. This is due in part to the fact that it is highly instructive and makes use of practical homework assignments.
  • Not open-ended. An individual may have just 16 sessions before completing CBT treatment.
  • The therapist and the patient work together to determine what the patient wants out of life and then they work together to achieve those goals. The therapist’s role is to listen, teach and encourage, while the clients roles is to express concerns, learn and implement that learning.
  • Not stoic. Those undergoing CBT aren’t told how they should feel. Instead they are encouraged to work to calmly accept the negative situations, so they are in a better position to use their resources to resolve problems instead of being upset by them.
  • Encourages questioning. CBT centers around a therapist being able to understand a patient’s concerns, that’s why they often ask questions. Patients are encouraged to question themselves, too, in order to determine if their thinking is accurate or if distorted ideas are negatively affecting life and self-esteem.

You won’t be told what to do in a CBT session. Instead, therapists teach patients how to do. Individuals are shown how to think and behave in ways that will help them reach their self-stated goals. Based on the scientifically supported assumption that most emotional
and behavioral reactions are learned, CBT’s objective is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of
reacting. This educational emphasis leads to long-term results.

The ABCs of DBT

Another popular approach is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT addresses more complex, difficult to treat mental health issues. It continues to evolve and has been adapted to help people with everything from substance dependence and binge eating to depression, mood disorders and anxiety.

This evidence-based therapy has been proven successful in effectively reducing treatment drop-out, depression, suicidal ideation, hopelessness, anger, hostility and illicit substance use. At its core, DBT combines the basic strategies of behavior therapy with mindfulness practices and works with patients to replace rigid, black-and-white thinking. The focus is on validation and acceptance of where the patient is right now in the process while at the same time facilitating change.

Eboni Webb shares information with Recovery Unscripted on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

Dr. Eboni Webb had a chance to sit down with Recovery Unscripted. Webb is an internationally renowned trainer in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She explains the role that mindfulness plays in overall mental health and how therapists can help make DBT more accessible to everyone.

DBT can…

  • enhance behavioral capabilities
  • improve motivation to change
  • structure the treatment environment in a way that supports the patient’s capabilities
  • enhance a therapist’s motivation to treat patients effectively

DBT is about movement between acceptance and change, to help patients move forward despite negative events or feelings. This treatment method also focuses on keeping track of the ultimate goal of helping the patient move from a life mired in addiction to a life worth living as quickly and efficiently as possible. Therapists emphasize learning and refining new skills in changing behavioral, emotional and thought patterns associated with misery and distress. DBT teaches skills to decrease interpersonal chaos, impulsiveness, confusion about self and relationship difficulties by practicing mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction and a co-occurring disorder, call us today. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can provide information on treatment programs, help with insurance and answer questions about the treatment process.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.