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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for many types of dysfunctional behaviors, including depression. At its core, the assumption is made that a person’s mood results directly from their thoughts and related behavior and those patterns can be consciously changed. Negative thinking creates negative mood or depression. When patterns of thought and subsequent behavior is changed, mood also changes and depression will dissipate.
The focus of CBT sets it apart uniquely from other types of therapies. It incorporated two important tasks. One, cognitive restructuring which will change thinking patterns by identifying the negative thoughts, stopping them and replacing with positive thoughts. Two, behavioral activation which teaches a person to overcome obstacles to enjoying pleasurable activities. CBT focuses on the now and seeks to change it immediately. CBT is not focused on why the patterns are there or what triggered them.
CBT also tends to be goal oriented with therapists and their patients assessing their immediate and long term needs. What do they hope to achieve in that session and what the goal is long term, weeks or months out.
Many therapists structure their time as a learning experience. They ask their clients to write down feelings, behaviors and perceptions. They hope to identify patterns and get to the point where their patient can easily identify and react to change the pattern. Therapist will guide the behavior with coping skills and activities resulting in a positive experience. Treatment usually lasts 14-16 weeks.
Anyone with mild or moderate depression can benefit from CBT. You need not be on medication for it to be effective.
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