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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and How Can it Help Depression?

Depression and other mood disorders don’t just make you feel bad, they can also make you think more negatively.

Eventually, all those negative thoughts wind up making you feel even worse. It’s like a vicious cycle.

Changing those negative thoughts can be a key tipping point to improving your mood.

In order to stop negative thoughts, many suggest cognitive behavioral therapy. But what is it, exactly?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common and best-studied forms of psychotherapy. It’s actually a combination of two therapeutic approaches: cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.

What we think, how we feel, and how we behave is all closely connected. They can all have an influence on our well-being.

This is the basis of how cognitive behavioral therapy works to ease your depression symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works to help patients identify and change thought patterns that are having a negative influence on behavior and emotions.

It focuses on changing all those negative thoughts that are contributing to and worsening depression, anxiety, and other difficulties.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

Essentially, you work with a therapist to identify specific negative thought patterns and behavioral responses to challenging or stressful situations.

Once identified, treatment involves developing more balanced and constructive ways to respond to stressors. The hope is that these new responses will help minimize — or eliminate — the current patterns of thinking or distorted perceptions that lead to depression.

You might keep a journal as part of treatment. It will provide a place to record life events and your reactions. this can help you and your therapist keep track of your reactions and thought patterns, so that they can be broken down.

While other forms of therapies might require several years, cognitive behavioral therapy is much more short term. It often only requires 10 to 20 sessions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy also differs from other psychotherapies because it is a problem-oriented strategy. In other words, it focuses on current problems and finding solutions to those problems.

This treatment can be used to treat anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, addiction, and is particularly useful for treating depression.

However, it’s only effective if the patient actively takes part, and also works on their problems between sessions. It requires commitment and initiative.

This can prove challenging if someone is dealing with severe depression or other disorders, which could make it difficult to stay motivated. Because of this, patients are often prescribed medication first to quickly relieve symptoms. From there, cognitive behavioral therapy can prove useful for many.

Kat Sweet

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