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teen learning about DBT vs CBT

Two primary forms of behavioral therapy are beneficial in treating men and women with a mental health disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). While both programs are beneficial, there are differences between DBT vs. CBT. DBT is a concentrated form of CBT that focuses on self-harming or suicidal tendencies in teens and adults. Dialectical behavior therapy can significantly improve your teen’s mental health and reduce the risk of harmful behaviors.

At Imagine Seattle, we support teens between 12 and 17 years of age struggling with severe depression or other serious mental health disorders in our dialectical behavior therapy in Washington. To create a more effective treatment program, our team bases each program on our patient’s individual needs and the severity of their symptoms. Teens will participate in various therapies in group and private settings to develop new skills to maintain a healthy state of mind. Call 888.346.0473 today or fill out our online form for more information about the differences between DBT vs. CBT.


What is CBT? Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychological treatment that reduces the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Therapists guide patients in recognizing their negative thoughts and how they are controlling their behaviors. They teach patients how to cope with their feelings in healthy ways instead of relying on prescription medications or turning to drugs and alcohol for relief.

What is DBT? Dialectical behavior therapy is a subset of cognitive-behavioral therapy originally developed to treat patients with borderline personality disorders. Therapists discovered that DBT helps treat other severe mental health disorders that lead to self-harming or suicidal tendencies. DBT is beneficial in helping teens who have formed a co-occurring disorder of addiction and other mental health illnesses.

At Imagine Seattle, we understand the difference between CBT and DBT and will make sure you and your teen do as well before starting their treatment program. We believe in transparency when treating your child and will keep you up to date on their progress or changes in their therapy.

The Differences Between Dialectical Behavior Therapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

While dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, each program can benefit patients in different ways. DBT focuses more on acceptance and change, and CBT focuses on how thoughts and emotions influence behaviors.

Some other differences between dialectical behavior therapy vs. cognitive-behavioral therapy include:

  • DBT helps regulate extreme emotions and promotes behavioral changes.
  • CBT helps clients identify troubling thoughts and how to replace them with more positive thoughts and behaviors.
  • DBT focuses on core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • CBT focuses on self-recognition, reevaluation, perspective, problem-solving skills, and building confidence.
  • DBT is best for treating borderline personality disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addiction.
  • CBT is best for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, seasonal affective disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.
  • DBT is a more intense form of therapy and requires a longer commitment than CBT.
  • DBT is for severe mental health disorders, while CBT focuses on more mild symptoms.

Let Imagine Seattle Help You Understand the Difference Between CBT vs. DBT

At Imagine Seattle, we provide compassionate and effective treatment programs for teens aged 12-17 who are struggling with depression, addiction, or other mental health disorders. We offer a wide range of behavioral therapies to give teens the best chance at recovery while continuing with their development and education.

Our treatment programs include:

  • Family therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Crisis intervention
  • Teen relationship counseling

Learn more about dialectical behavior therapy vs. cognitive behavioral therapy and how they can help your teen at Imagine Seattle when you call 888.346.0473 or fill out our online form today.