Treatments for Anxiety and Depression:
Cognitive Therapy

Only one person has the power to put you down...
that person is you!

Cognitive therapy has been proven to be very successful when compared to other treatments for depression.

Almost all of us have dark thoughts when our mood is low. With depression, though, these thoughts can be extremely negative. Those thoughts take over and distort our whole view of reality. Cognitive therapy teaches us to correct those distorted thoughts.

There is a FABULOUS book by Dr. David Burns called "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy". It is a self-help guide on the most important aspects of cognitive therapy. I’ll try my best to explain these aspects below...

What is Cognitive Therapy?

Cognitive therapy is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety and depression. It was first developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.

The principle underlying cognitive therapy is that "thoughts influence moods." What this means is that your emotions result from the way you look at things.

When you are depressed, you tend to filter the good things that have happened to you and focus exclusively on the bad things. Your depression is never based on accurate perceptions of reality, it is ALWAYS based on intense negative thinking.

Cognitive therapy aims to make you aware of the distortions in your thinking. Once you identify those distortions, you can learn to correct them.

How Does Cognitive Therapy Work?

If you are depressed you may find it hard to recognize the irrational thinking patterns that are making you depressed.

When you are depressed, you can not think clear. Your thoughts become very harmful.

The more depressed you are, the more twisted your thinking becomes. The more twisted your thinking becomes the more chaotic your emotions are.

How do you identify those negatives thoughts? By paying attention to your “self-talk” (the way you talk to yourself)

These are examples of distorted self-talk:

• I am such an idiot, I do EVERYTHING wrong!

• I am such a bad person, I don’t deserve to be happy…

• I am a loser, I haven’t done anything good in my life!

Once you identify those negative thoughts, you are asked to question them and replace them with a more realistic version.

So, going back to the first example, are you absolutely sure that you do EVERYTHING wrong? Is it 100% true that EVERYTHING you do is wrong? EVERYTHING???

Maybe, this could be a more realistic approach:

• This didn’t come the way I planned, but that doesn’t mean that I do everything wrong. Last time I planned something similar it was not bad at all…

Do you see the difference?

It is also helpful to break the problems into parts. You can approach every part of the problem separately and study what distortion you may be using. In this way, problems seem less overwhelming and more manageable.

The Effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy

The evidence is consistent that cognitive therapy is an excellent treatment for anxiety and depression.

It has also been proven that cognitive therapy is very effective in preventing relapses of depression.

Remember, only you have the power to truly heal your life! Enjoying a better and more fulfilling existence is in your hands…

Now that you have reviewed what cognitive therapy is all about, you are ready to explore what are the most common distortions in our thinking. Please see cognitive therapy (part II) to get hands on with your work!

Do not worry…. These are pretty sound skills that anybody can practice.

Don't forget to grab your copy of Dr. Burns book: "Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy"

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