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How is CBT Used in Depression Treatment?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is one of the most effective tools in depression treatment. At it’s core, CBT assumes that a person’s mood is directly related to their patterns of thought. With this belief, it makes sense that negative or dysfunctional thinking would lead to a negative mood, sense of self, or behavior; in other words, depression. The goal of CBT is therefore to help a person recognise these negative thoughts and learn to assess their validity and replace them with healthier ways of thinking. CBT also aims to address behaviors that can result from negative thoughts or cause negative thoughts. These negative thoughts and behaviors can not only cause depression but result from depression and are therefore the core focus of CBT in depression treatment.


Why is CBT different than other forms of treatment for Depression? When you are depressed, it is often hard to find the motivation to engage in treatment, as well as believe that it can work. CBT is hands on and directive, initially taking some of the weight off of the person suffering with depression and allowing the therapist to help work through that burden. A CBT therapist will work with you to find the source of your depression (negative thoughts) and then begin to treat it. The first goal of CBT in depression treatment is to identify the negative thoughts and behaviors that cause the depression. It focuses on the immediate issues, how and what a person thinks. The therapist will assist with this by walking through your thoughts in a thought log. The therapist and client will then identify goals to change these negative thoughts and behaviors, and work together towards meeting them. Both therapist and client are actively involved in the entire process and sessions are very structured, often giving work to continue the therapeutic process at home.


CBT is goal driven and in depression treatment that can help put a light at the end of the dark tunnel that is depression. Each session will have its short term goals, allowing a client to see immediate progress, as well as long term goals that will be addressed continuously throughout the treatment process. The process is structured and allows clients to take an active role in their treatment, in fact it is expected that they will be active. The goal is to see results and make changes, leading to a decrease in depression and an increase in life enjoyment. It has been proven effective and there are a number of therapists that can help you start this process. If you would like more information on how CBT works in depression treatment, or in treatment in general, please contact us today.

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