Behavioral Therapy: DBT and CBT and How They Help Fight Addiction

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBD) is a short-term behavioral psychotherapy used as a hands-on approach to re-teach patients problem-solving as well as changing the patterns of behavior and thinking that lead to a patient’s difficulties. It can be used to treat a wide variety of issues from problems sleeping, to relationship issues, to drug and alcohol abuse. CBT is designed to change the patient’s attitudes and actions by focusing on thoughts, images and beliefs and how they relate to the way the patient behaves towards emotional problems.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be thought of as a combination of both psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy teaches the importance of personalized meaning of how thinking patterns develop as a child. Behavioral therapy pays attention to the relationship between our problems, our behaviors and thoughts. Most psychotherapists who practice CBT personalize and customize to the specific needs of each patient.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Treatment (DBT) provides patients with new skills to decrease conflict in their personal relationships, and works to give new tools for managing painful emotions. DBT is focused on providing these new skills in 4 distinct key areas:

  1. Mindfulness focus: Increasing the person’s perception and acceptance in their current mood.
  2. Distress Tolerance: Increasing the patient’s ability to tolerate negative emotion, rather than running from it or avoiding it, in an attempt to escape. This need to escape is what can often lead to addiction, so learning new skills in this area is key to recovery.
  3. Regulation: Learning how to regulate the emotion or emotions that are causings problems, and the management of these. What are your triggers? How are you going to recognize them in the future, and when you do, how are you going to keep yourself in check?
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: Using techniques to speak more assertive, maintaining self respect and build on strengthening relationships.

What is the difference between CBT and DBT?

CBT is one of the most commonly administered forms of psychotherapy used today. It focuses on how people’s thoughts form and how they can change the way they think and feel. It’s usually utilized over a short period of time.

DBT is a form of CBT that focuses on building specific foundations of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. DBT focuses more on the psychosocial aspects of how someone interacts with others in different emotional environments and relationships. The theory is that some people can act more intensely within certain emotional interactions in romantic relationships, as well as relationships with friends and family, than they would otherwise. When emotions are heated during an argument, how can this person learn to manage them rather than leaning on old, destructive patterns?

Both CPD and DBT incorporate the exploring of people’s history and past to find out why they may act in certain ways, and learning the impact that it has on the present. Neither method’s main focus is completely on the past, but it is a very important part of the success of both treatments.

How does CBT and DBT help fight addiction?

It is a common scenario for people who fall into addiction to have come to this low point in their lives through patterns of dangerous and negative thinking. This way of thinking can often lead to people seeking treatment for depression and passing off their behavior as normal.

CBT’s main focus is to change those overall negative thought patterns that can affect a person’s well-being. It’s encourages the individual to focus on the present, as well setting the goals for future improvements. They work to change those thought patterns that lead to the addiction.

DBT’s main focus is to reject an individual’s mindset that their current situation is unchangeable. The patient is guided through therapeutic exploration, changes in behavior, looking at past examples and how to find better and more fulfilling behavior. It explores how the patient interacts with others and how to change catalysts in those relationships and environments. At its fundamental core, DBT is a more advanced version of CBT, and dives deeper into the concepts how interactions with environment and relationships affect addiction.

About Cliffside Malibu

Cliffside Malibu engages individuals in a life free of chemical dependency, negative thought patterns and behaviors and facilitates a renewed passion for a thriving life. We pride ourselves in guiding our patients through their past to help them see how old behaviors or patterns have affected their present, and in turn, this gives them a healthy framework for the future. Our clinical framework embodies the Transtheoretical Model, which identifies behavior change on a continuum otherwise known as the Stages of Change. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage. After carefully accessing each individual, they are matched with one of the five stages: Pre Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency and/or mental health issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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