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Cognitive-Behavioral Psychologist

Depression

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) , a widespread treatment for depressive symptoms, involves several essential features: identifying and correcting inaccurate thoughts associated with depressed feelings (cognitive restructuring), helping patients to engage more often in enjoyable activities (behavioral activation), and enhancing problem-solving skills.

The first of these components, cognitive restructuring, involves collaboration between the patient and the therapist to identify and modify habitual errors in thinking that are associated with depression. Depressed patients often experience distorted thoughts about themselves (e.g. I am stupid), their environment (e.g. My life is terrible) and their future (e.g. There is no sense in going forward, nothing will work out for me). Information from the patient's current experience, past history, and future prospects is used to counter these distorted thoughts. In addition to self-critical thoughts, patients with depression typically cut back on activities that have the potential to be enjoyable to them, because they anticipate that such activities will not be worth their effort. Unfortunately this usually results in a vicious cycle, wherein depressed mood leads to less activity, which in turn results in further depressed mood, etc.

The second component of CBT, behavioral activation, seeks to remedy this downward spiral by negotiating gradual increases in potentially rewarding activities with the patient. When patients are depressed, problems in daily living often seem insurmountable. In the final process, the CBT therapist provides instruction and guidance in specific strategies for solving problems (e.g. breaking problems down into small steps).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a scientifically well-established and effective treatment for depression. Over 75% of patients show significant improvements.

 

 

 

 


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