Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a therapy used to treat depression and related mental health disorders. It may be used alone or alongside medications such as antidepressants. It differs from many other treatments in that it addresses your current feelings and mindset rather than analysing the causes of your depression and other symptoms. In this sense, it is a more immediate form of therapy. CBT can aid you in understanding and sorting out problems you are having by separating them into smaller, more manageable parts. In this way, you can address each problem individually and you can also see how they are connected. As such, CBT brings clarity to issues you may have.
Who Can Benefit From CBT?Because CBT focuses on your immediate feelings and actions, it can help an enormous range of mental health conditions. It has shown effectiveness in:
- Eating Disorders
- Phobia disorders
- Stress-related disorders
- Panic attacks
How Exactly Does CBT Work?CBT separates problems into smaller parts, which can then help you to address each part on its own. CBT initially identifies a situation that you are experiencing and looks at the thoughts and feelings that follow. You are then able to examine the actions you take to deal with the situation. The way that you think about and cope with an event can have emotional and physical consequences, leading to anxiety and depression, as well as other detrimental symptoms. These, in turn, affect the actions you may decide to take when addressing the problem. CBT takes the stance that there are useful ways of handling problems and harmful ways of handling your problems. The goal is to integrate more positive and productive ways of dealing with problems as they arise in your life.
A CBT Session: What To ExpectA CBT session often occurs individually but it can occur in group format. In one-on-one CBT therapy, you will likely meet with a therapist on a weekly or biweekly basis for half an hour to an hour. Most therapists will assess how effective the therapy is after the initial few sessions and together you can decide if CBT is helping your depression and related symptoms and whether or not you wish to continue. A CBT therapist will still likely want to discuss past events that have occurred in your life, although therapy is indeed focused on the current moment.
During a session, you will work with your CBT therapist to chop your problems into smaller separate parts. Often during depression or other mental health conditions, a person can feel overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, and all of their worries and problems may mesh into one scenario. When a person is too overwhelmed, it can seem impossible and exhausting to even begin to cope. The idea in CBT is that by breaking problems down to more simple, clear issues, you can address each problem one-by-one and can also identify any common threads.
After A CBT SessionSome CBT therapists may ask you to do 'homework' and keep a small book where you note various issues as they arise; this can help you to better identify problems as they come up, rather than have them ignored, only to cause issues later on. Your therapist will help you to find ways to alter those behaviours that are harmful. You may also have behavioural homework where you apply learned changes to various areas in your life. In a sense, a CBT therapist is one who challenges you to identify and assess those parts of your life that are not working and then encourages you to change them.
There are many types of therapy and counselling that you may wish to explore in your search for effective depression treatment. Speak with your doctor about CBT and ask friends and family if they have any recommendations. You should also check to be sure a CBT therapist has taken a certified course and has appropriate credentials. By using CBT to address the parts of your life that are not working well, you can hopefully treat and manage your depression.