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Treating Depression with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Updated on April 4, 2016

Nowadays, it is a piece of cake to find someone who deals with mental health problem, such as depression. With the ups and downs that life gives to us, it is easy to stress out and plunge into the valley of constant bad mood and sadness. Although it is normal to be in the lowest part of your life, it is not an excuse to linger in the depression phase for any longer. Depression will not simply affect your mood but somehow ruin your daily activities as well. Hence, getting a help to fight your depression is such a MUST!

In this case, people mostly consider taking any anti-depressant medicine to help them feel better. Without the doctor’s permission, it can ignite dependence. In the other hand, some may be reluctant to get some anti-depressant pills as it can affect the health of your other organs. If that is your case, then you should try the treatment plan for depression using CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

CBT is the abbreviation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or as we can say the best method and the effective treatment for your depression. The fundamental principle of CBT is that someone’s mood is frankly related to his or her patterns of thought. Having a negative and dysfunctional thinking can affect mood, behavior, sense of self, even physical state. Hence, CBT will try to help someone learn to understand the negative patterns of his thought, evaluate the validity, and change them with some healthy way of thinking. More than that, CBT will aim to support the patients to change the behavior patterns which derivate from the dysfunctional thinking. Having a negative thoughts as well as behavior will lead someone to depression and hold it almost impossible to flee its downward spiral. Therefore, CBT is needed to change the patterns of thought and behavior to make the escape from depression possible.


The Different Between CBT and the Other Therapies

Getting to know the differences between CBT with other therapies will ensure you to make treatment plan for depression using this method. Here are why you should make the treatment plan for depression with CBT:

- The therapy focuses on specific problems only. Therefore, whether it is in group or individual session, the problem with thinking as well as behaviors will be identified, prioritized, and addressed specifically.

- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy basically focuses on two exact roles. The first is cognitive restructuring which allows the therapist and patient to work together on reshaping the thinking patterns as well as behavioral activation. In this part, patient will learn how to overcome the obstacles and participate in pleasant activities. The next task CBT does is focusing on the direct present, which includes what and how someone thinks more than why someone thinks that way.

- CBT is more goals oriented than the other kind of therapies for depression. While working with the therapist, patients will be asked to set goals for every session and the longer-term goals as well. The longer-term ones may need several weeks or even months to achieve. While some other goals are targeted to be completed at the end of the therapy sessions.

- CBT uses educational approach. The therapists of CBT use structured learning experiences which teach the patient to monitor and write all the negative thoughts. This is aimed to identify how the negative ideas can affect the patient’s mood, behavior, and also physical condition. Beside, the therapists teach some useful coping skills, like problem solving and also scheduling pleasurable experiences.

- CBT demands the patients to take an active role during their learning session. In each session, they will get homework or assignments which will be graded or reviewed at the beginning of the next session.

- CBT has a time limit. The treatment plan for depression with CBT typically takes 14 to 16 weeks.

- The strategies used in CBT are varied from Socratic questioning, imagery, role playing, guided discovery to behavioral experiments

The Chance of Success

The chance of success from the treatment plan with CBT is higher for those with mild or moderate depression. By taking therapy session only, they can heal even without medication. However, for those with major depression, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will be more effective if it is combined with antidepressants intake.

CBT is also very perfect as mild depression treatment in adolescents. However, the chance of success from CBT is most likely found on the patient who is motivated, sees him or herself as someone who is able to control the episodes which happen around them, and has the capability for introspection. This therapy doesn’t suit those who have no commitment and persistency to tackle and improve their own health problem. Even if the chance is not ultimately zero, the process will be much more difficult and challenging for those patients.

The Standard Procedures for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you are going to the therapist who has been trained in CBT, you may find these standard procedures during your session.

- It begins with a check and test on the patient’s mood and also symptoms.

- After the results come out, the therapist together with the patient set the treatment plan for depression with CBT. It includes the agenda for each meeting.

- When the agenda has been set, the therapist and patient re-examine the previous session, hence they are able to bridge to the new one.

- Together the therapist and patient review the assignments and discuss the problems.

- Finished with the review, they go back to the issues in the agenda, which possibly will or won’t all be addressed.

- The therapist gives new homework for the patient.

- The therapist ends the session by summarizing the result of the meeting and the receiving feedback from the patient.


Doing CBT by Yourself

To achieve the best result of CBT, you should get the help from the trained therapist. However, some may prefer to handle their mental problems themselves. If that is the case, then you can do treatment by reading books and leaflets on self-help for depression. You can as well use and interactive CDs and check in websites which are developed for self-directed CBT.


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      CBT was a life-saver for me. I was diagnosed with depression after going through a 10 year health crisis. The therapist that I worked with taught me how to recognize and change the distorted thinking patterns I was experiencing. I was eventually able to go off of the anti-depressants I was using, and work solely from the CBT principles.


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