Cognitive therapy for depression is one of the most effective ways to combat this mood disorder. Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy developed by psychiatrist Aaron T Beck in the 1960s.
It is widely used today for resolving mood disorders in conjunction with medications or when patients do not respond to medication.
What is cognitive therapy for depression?
The way that depression is thought to work is like this: certain false self-belief influence moods and hence behaviors.
So it is negative thoughts that lead to a bad mood, a person’s sense of self, their physical state and their behavior.
It works on the belief that distortions of thought processes and beliefs are what give rise to depression and not unconscious forces (the Freudian theory).
The aim of cognitive therapy is to change negative self-belief and replace that with positive self-belief and mainly to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Cognitive therapy for depression is an option for those who have tried pharmacological interventions but found them to be unsuccessful.
How cognitive therapy for depression works
According to Aaron Beck, depressed people are depressed because they have acquired a negative aspect of the world in their childhood and/or adolescence. It could have been early life incidents such as a bereavement (such as the loss of a parent or other important person), bullying, abuse, harsh criticism from an authority figure such as a teacher or parent, rejection by peers, negative parental attitude that could lead to depression later in life.
So events that resemble those past traumas even slightly are likely to trigger negativity in the person and that they are likely to view the world, themselves and their future in a negative way. For instance, a person who has depressive tendencies may blame themselves for everything that happens. “I am not good enough” or “I will never be good enough” is the refrain.
So cognitive therapy for depression works to change this dysfunctional thinking and change it to positive thinking. The therapist will try and reorient the depressed person’s thought processes to more positive and realistic ones. The “problems” as perceived by the individual are disassembled into smaller parts so that they appear less overwhelming and the person is then equipped with the tools to overcome them.