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CBT vs. DBT: Finding Recovery at Reconnect Recovery Center

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CBT vs DBT: Finding Recovery at Reconnect Recovery Center

Facing mental health challenges can feel overwhelming, leaving you searching for the most effective path to recovery. Two leading evidence-based therapies, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Vs Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), offer powerful tools for managing distress and improving well-being. 

At Reconnect Recovery Center, we understand the importance of personalized treatment. This article explores the unique strengths and distinctions between CBT and DBT, empowering you to make an informed decision about your recovery journey.

CBT: Challenging Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on the connection between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It teaches us to identify and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns that contribute to emotional distress and negative behaviors.

Key Features of CBT

  • Identifying cognitive distortions: CBT helps identify automatic thoughts that fuel anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. These distortions, like catastrophizing or black-and-white thinking, can lead to inaccurate interpretations of situations and negative emotions.
  • Developing coping skills: CBT provides practical tools for managing difficult emotions and situations. These skills include relaxation techniques, cognitive restructuring, and behavioral activation.
  • Problem-solving: CBT encourages actively addressing problems rather than avoiding them. It teaches effective communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills.
  • Techniques: Journaling, identifying cognitive distortions, challenging negative thoughts, developing coping mechanisms, practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Suitable for: Anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, OCD, PTSD, and other mental health conditions with significant cognitive distortions.

CBT is particularly effective for:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

DBT: Mastering Emotional Regulation And Relationships

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses on developing emotional regulation skills and improving interpersonal relationships. It recognizes the validity of strong emotions while providing tools to manage them effectively. DBT also emphasizes accepting oneself and others without judgment.

Key Features of DBT

  • Emotion regulation: DBT teaches mindfulness and distress tolerance skills to manage intense emotions. These skills help individuals navigate difficult situations without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: DBT emphasizes healthy communication and relationship-building skills. It teaches assertiveness, conflict resolution, and setting boundaries without sacrificing empathy or compassion.
  • Radical acceptance: DBT encourages accepting reality, both positive and negative, without judgment. This acceptance allows individuals to move forward without getting stuck in negative emotions.
  • Techniques: Mindfulness exercises, distress tolerance skills (e.g., radical acceptance, distraction), interpersonal effectiveness skills (e.g., assertive communication, boundary setting), emotional regulation skills (e.g., distress reduction, emotional identification).
  • Suitable for: Borderline personality disorder (BPD), self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and other mental health conditions with strong emotional dysregulation and relationship challenges.

DBT is particularly effective for:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Substance abuse and addiction

Which Therapy is Right for Me?” Get personalized insights based on your needs by calling our therapist at  866-321-1553.  

What’s The Difference Between DBT And CBT In Terms Of Duration

The key difference between CBT and DBT in terms of duration is their typical treatment lengths:


  • Generally shorter-term: CBT typically lasts for 6-12 months, with sessions occurring weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Emphasis on specific goals: CBT focuses on achieving specific goals related to managing symptoms of a particular disorder, such as reducing anxiety or depression.
  • Flexible duration: Depending on the individual’s progress and needs, the duration can be adjusted, sometimes extending to 18 months.


  • Longer-term: DBT typically lasts for 12-24 months, with sessions occurring weekly or even twice weekly.
  • Focus on skills development: DBT emphasizes learning and practicing skills for emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • Phased approach: DBT often follows a four-stage model, with each stage focusing on specific skills and requiring longer-term commitment for optimal results.

Additional points to consider:

  • Both CBT and DBT can be adapted to individual needs, and the duration may vary depending on the specific situation.
  • Some individuals may benefit from a combination of CBT and DBT.
  • The decision of which approach to use should be made in consultation with a qualified mental health professional who can assess your individual needs and goals.

DBT Vs CBT In Terms Of Cost On Reconnect Recovery Center


  • Typically less expensive: CBT is often shorter-term than DBT, so the overall cost may be lower.
  • Insurance coverage: Most insurance plans cover CBT to some extent, so your out-of-pocket costs may be minimal.
  • Variety of providers: CBT is offered by a wider range of therapists, including psychologists, social workers, and counselors, which can lead to more competitive pricing.


  • Potentially more expensive: DBT is a longer-term and more specialized therapy, so the cost per session may be higher.
  • Insurance coverage: DBT is becoming increasingly covered by insurance plans, but it’s important to check your specific plan to determine your coverage.
  • Limited availability: DBT requires specialized training and certification, so the number of therapists offering it may be smaller, potentially impacting cost.

Here are some additional factors that can affect the cost of therapy at Reconnect Recovery Center:

  • Individual therapist rates: Each therapist sets their own fees.
  • Group vs. individual therapy: Group therapy is generally less expensive than individual therapy.
  • Location: Therapy costs can vary depending on the location of the center.

Difference Between CBT And DBT In Terms Of Insurance Coverage 

Insurance Coverage for CBT

  • Generally good: CBT is a widely recognized and covered therapy, with most insurance plans offering some level of coverage.
  • Coverage varies: The extent of coverage depends on your specific plan and the therapist’s in-network status. You may have copays, coinsurance, or deductibles to pay.
  • Out-of-network coverage: Out-of-network coverage for CBT may be limited or require prior authorization.

Insurance Coverage for DBT

  • Increasingly covered: DBT is gaining recognition by insurance companies, and coverage is expanding.
  • Coverage not as widespread as CBT: You might encounter more challenges finding in-network DBT therapists compared to CBT.
  • Factors affecting coverage: The severity of your condition, your diagnosis, and the specific DBT program offered can influence coverage.

We’re here to support you on your path to healing and wholeness. Call us today at  866-321-1553.  

Choosing The Right Therapy: Your Needs Matter

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. The best therapy for you depends on your individual needs and challenges. Here’s a comparison to help you understand which approach might be more suitable:





Identifying and challenging unhelpful thinking patterns

Developing emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills


Cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, skill development

Emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, relationships

Suitable for

Anxiety, depression, phobias, OCD, PTSD

BPD, self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, substance abuse


Collaborative, goal-oriented, active

Accepting, non-judgmental, validating

Which One Is Best| CBT Or DBT? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which therapy is “better,” as both CBT and DBT have their own strengths and are best suited for different situations. The ideal approach for you depends on your specific needs and challenges.

Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:


  • Ideal for: Anxiety, depression, phobias, OCD, PTSD, and other mental health conditions with significant cognitive distortions.
  • Strengths: Helps you identify and challenge negative thinking patterns, develop coping skills, and solve problems in a structured way.
  • Focus: Cognitive restructuring and behavior change.
  • Duration: Typically shorter-term, around 6-12 months.


  • Ideal for: Borderline personality disorder (BPD), self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and other mental health conditions with strong emotional dysregulation and relationship challenges.
  • Strengths: Helps you develop emotional regulation skills, improve relationships, cope with distress, and practice mindfulness.
  • Focus: Emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • Duration: Typically longer-term, around 12-24 months with a phased approach.

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Your personal preferences: Do you prefer a more structured and goal-oriented approach like CBT, or a more accepting and skills-based approach like DBT?
  • Your severity of symptoms: If your symptoms are severe or complex, DBT might be more appropriate.
  • Your therapist’s expertise: Make sure your therapist is qualified and experienced in the type of therapy you’re interested in.
  • Your timeline and budget: CBT is typically shorter-term and potentially less expensive than DBT.

Ultimately, the best way to determine which therapy is right for you is to talk to a qualified mental health professional. They can assess your individual needs and recommend the most effective approach for your recovery journey.

Reconnect Recovery Center: Personalized Care For Your Recovery

At Reconnect Recovery Center, we understand the unique journey of each individual. Our team of experienced therapists provides comprehensive assessments to identify your specific needs and tailor a treatment plan that combines the most effective elements of CBT, DBT, and other evidence-based therapies.

Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, or other mental health challenges, we offer a safe and supportive environment where you can learn the skills and tools necessary for lasting recovery.

Ready to take the first step? Contact Reconnect Recovery Center today at  866-321-1553 for a free consultation.


If you or someone you love struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Your recovery is possible. Call The Recovery Center today to learn about our inpatient programs located at facilities across the country. Our caring representatives can answer your questions about addiction and the rehab process, and calling is free and confidential.

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Medical Disclaimer
The Reconnect Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.