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Treating depression through CBT

Introduction

The basic thing about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to recognize and change dysfunctional ways of thinking that are responsible for depressive emotions and this phenomenon is called cognitive restructuring. It is equally important for the sufferer to be active and to do those things that he likes, and this is called behavioral activation. CBT is very efficient therapy in dealing with a variety of psychological problems. Studies have shown that this type of therapy can help in resolving depression. This therapy uses different methods to help the patient. One of those methods is challenging negative thoughts.

Challenging negative thoughts

A person has automatic negative thoughts that are disturbing him or her in everyday life. These thoughts must be recognized and eliminated or replaced with other positive thoughts. Negative automatic thoughts can be very different; for example, if a person has to talk in front of an audience, he or she could think that he or she is going to make a mistake or say something stupid. These kinds of thoughts can elevate the level of anxiety and only make things worse. The person needs to remember what thoughts are disturbing her and in what kind of situations. That can help the sufferer to discover something new about him or herself. When this part of the therapy is completed, then the other method is used and it is called challenging core beliefs.

Challenging core beliefs

These beliefs are those that a person created during the childhood and accepted them as facts. They can be very banal and untrue, but despite that the sufferer still sticks to them. For example, a person who had a bad breakup can use it to confirm existing core belief “nobody can love me” that she constructed when she was a child because her parents were criticizing her all the time. This is a big step and these beliefs should be replaced with more supportive beliefs that have a positive connotation.

Behavioral activation

Depressive people usually find any activity to be very hard and that is because of the lack of motivation. They also tend to be alone and isolated from others. CBT offers a method that can change this and help them to be more active. Of course, this should be done step by step, starting from easier tasks. Being more active will help them to sleep better.

Behavioral experiments

This method is used to check whether a person has really changed her beliefs or not. Patients sometimes say that, they have changed the way of thinking just to please the therapist. That is why cognitive behavioral therapists use behavioral experiments.

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