An Easy To Understand, Breif Explanation Of CBT And DBT

You don't need to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. In fact, anyone who wants to better themselves can benefit from attending a few sessions with an individual counselor. A wide range of approaches and formats exist to help you become more confident, seek the life you want, and be satisfied in your own skin. This mini-guide will help you to understand the styles at a basic level.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT is one of the most commonly used therapy strategies in North America today. It has practical applications for anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and personality disorders. As a technique, it focuses on the connection between how people think and how they behave as a result of that thinking. 

Example 1

John is having constant negative thoughts about his weight. He feels anxious at the thought of going out in public where others could potentially judge him for it. This has led him to isolate himself from the world, and he has become depressed. CBT would focus on removing or remodelling the negative thought process to free the person from their undesirable behaviors.

Example 2

Jane Doe has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). She has an irrational fear of germs. Because of this, she feels that she must wash her hands hundreds of times a day, losing time and harming her skin through the repeated washing ritual. CBT would be used here to modify the irrational fear, so that the person can tolerate the feelings associated with germs without repeated washing.

These may be extreme examples, but CBT can be used in everyday situations, too. Most people have negative thought patterns, fears, and anxieties at some point in their lives, be it about meeting someone and falling in love, scoring a great job, or making enough money to survive. By learning to better deal with those feelings, you can be better prepared to find solutions to any obstacles that arise.

DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)

Dialectical behavioral therapy was created by a woman named Marsha Linehan, and is all about mindfulness and being in the now. Rather than focusing on changing the thinking, it focuses on modifying the behaviors first. Sites like will often have more information about this.

Many people who engage in DBT are taught new coping skills to help them respond appropriately to stress and anxiety-inducing situations. This has a secondary side effect of changing thought patterns, but thought patterns are not the main focus in this approach.

DBT is designed with the understanding that most people who require it are doing the best they can with what they have—but not everyone has the skills they need to regulate their lives from an early age.

It is often used to treat patients who are experiencing bad habits like smoking and addiction, but also has an important role in the treatment of personality disorders.

Example 1

John Doe experiences intense bouts of anger at work. He becomes frustrated by mounting problems at home and inadequacies in the workplace. Because he doesn't deal with his anger appropriately, he has angry outbursts that are jeopardizing his job.

DBT can be useful in this situation because it can teach John Doe to calm himself appropriately when overwhelmed. It can also give him the skills needed to deal with each issue effectively and quickly, preventing him from being overwhelmed in the first place.

Example 2

Jane Doe has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from childhood abuse. While it affects her life in many ways, one of the worst issues is that she experiences crushing anxiety attacks when in social situations with men. When Jane Doe is around men, she begins to experience memories and flashbacks from her childhood that lead to further emotional upset.

DBT can be useful here because it can give Jane the tools she needs to ground herself when she becomes upset. Through breathing exercises and slow exposure to trusted men in her life, Jane can learn that her past doesn't need to equal her future. DBT can also help her to learn how to discern rational reality from her past experiences. 

If You Are Considering Counseling or Therapy

No single therapy strategy is right for every person. People are unique, and so are the situations that bring them into a counselor or therapist's office. While the above two styles have resulted in success for many patients, you may need an approach different than this to achieve your goals. Make an appointment for a consult with a counselor today to discuss your options.