Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression

Cognition means your thoughts and behavior implies your actions or approach that manifest from your mind. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic technique that focuses on manipulating your thinking process to improve your behavior and actions. 

CBT has been applied to manage different types of psychological challenges, of which depression is also an example. 

Here we shall explain how CBT proves useful in the treatment of depression. 

How CBT works for depression 

Two techniques of CBT are applied for managing depression. 

They are: 

1. Cognitive restructuring

Here, doctors help patients to understand the problems and identify their thoughts accurately. There is a verbal and written communication between the therapist and the patient through which he/she becomes aware of his/her mind.

The therapist asks several questions about the situation the individual is facing, the thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings.

Some examples asked for depression affected patients during cognitive behavioral therapy are: 

  • What is the situation that you are experiencing?
  • What do you think then? What images do you see?
  • What are the negative emotions that you experience?
  • What can you sense in your body?
  • What do you feel like doing then?
  • What physical sensations do you feel from your thoughts and actions?

The patient is allowed to talk and express every aspect related to his/her depression in detail. The doctor might formulate a chart or give a worksheet where the patient needs to pen down the answers to the questions or the quiz.

The ultimate goal of this step is to let out negative emotions by stimulating the mind and then overcoming those dark thoughts by altering behavior and action. 

2. Behavioral activation

This is the next step of CBT for solving depression. People who are depressed tend to forget the normal course of life. For example, they do not do things that they love; they either eat too much or too less, get addicted to alcohol, tend to isolate socially, close themselves at home, etc.

Behavioral activation helps the patient to engage in various activities that help him to think well and act better. 

Sessions are conducted where they are given guidance on 

  • How to control the mind
  • How to change thoughts and actions
  • How to improve his/her life. 

Patients attend counseling; they exercise and indulge in joyful activities and are also given a worksheet to keep a tab of their improvement.

How effective is cognitive behavioral therapy for depression?

It is one of the most effective alternative treatment options for depression and other symptoms associated like anxiety, anger, grief, etc. CBT is capable of managing mild to moderate depression while in severe depression cases, antidepressants are combined with cognitive and behavioral therapy. 

What are the advantages of cognitive and behavioral therapy for depression? 

Cognitive and behavioral therapy is a painless technique, and no medicines are involved. Its approach is completely educational and goal-oriented, which helps patients discover themselves as better and cultivate a positive attitude towards life. 

Furthermore, different strategies incorporated in the techniques boost mental faculties, self-confidence, self-esteem, and physical energy of patients suffering from depression.

What are the disadvantages of cognitive and behavioral therapy for depression

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is not a quick remedy for depression. The therapy can last from 6 weeks to 6 months or more.
  • Confronting your emotions, tough situations, and past memories might make you more depressed and anxious during the initial phase. 

The bottom line for cognitive and behavioral therapy for depression

Cognitive and behavioral therapy certainly helps to control your thoughts better; thus, it can reduce your depression. However, make sure you are visiting a certified and skilled professional for the best results.