Cognitive therapy for depression


Cognitive therapy is comprised of several different types of interventions designed to do different things to help a person overcome depression. The word “cognitive” refers to cognitions or perceptions, evaluations or expectations. These will influence behavior and finding the realistic and positive cognitions will help a person overcome depression caused by unrealistic and negative perceptions.

The study or approach is nothing new and can trace back to Freud’s writings in Mourning and Melancholia. He proposed that melancholia or depression was a response to imaginary or perceived loss. He also suggested that self-critical parts of the ego contributed to depression. The split with Freud happens at the source. A cognitive therapist will suggest that the perceptions and behaviors leading to depression come from faulty social learning or a lack of experience that would better inform the development of behavior. Freud might say the depression was caused by internal needs like need for affection or acceptance or from unresolved childhood needs. External versus internal source of maladaptive behavior.

Cognitive therapy seems to be most effective for depression and other conditions. It may include supportive counseling which will ease the pain of depression and hopelessness. Cognitive therapy will also strive to recognize and change pessimistic ideas, unrealistic expectations, and overly critical self-evaluations. Problem solving therapy will also confront those areas of a person’s life where stress and hopelessness are being fostered.

Cognitive therapy attempts to recognize the source of maladaptive behavior so often behavioral therapies will be intertwined with the approach. Thought process and behavior are almost inseparable and any attempt to study, change or eliminate an apparent depression should include cognitive therapy.

Source: PsychologyInfo, WebMD


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