Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression is a type of talk therapy that aims to identify negative thoughts and feelings and learn effective ways to overcome them. To help change mood and behavioral response. Cognitive behavioral therapy is useful in treating mild or moderate depression, and can help treat severe depression when combined with drug therapy. [1]

This article discusses the characteristics, steps, and indications of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, as well as its effectiveness in treating depression.

Characteristics of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression

The use of cognitive-behavioral therapy in addition to pharmacological treatment is beneficial in achieving better results that last for a long time, and CBT patients have the following advantages: [1] [2] [3]

  • The short duration of treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for depression range from 12 to 20 sessions only, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition; So it does not take long, unlike traditional talk-based psychotherapy, which can take years.
  • Define treatment goals by focusing on the current thinking and feeling of the depressed patient and how to change it without addressing the past or personality traits.
  • Treatment depends on the cooperation between the patient and the therapist, who both record the tasks required, the goals of the treatment, and the achievements that have been achieved.
  • The ability of the individual to apply the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression on their own after learning them; To help him face life’s challenges.
  • Giving home tasks as part of CBT for depression, such as recording thoughts, scheduling activities to achieve, and trying to resist negative thoughts when they occur.

Cognitive behavioral therapy steps for depression

Techniques for depression aim to identify life situations that cause or contribute to depressive moods, identify distorted or unhealthy thought patterns that affect an individual’s behaviors and reactions, and then attempt to overcome and correct them. [3]

CBT uses:

Cognitive Strategies

Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression depends on overcoming the thinking of depressed patients, which revolves around a negative view of themselves, the surrounding environment, and the future, and this appears in the form of unhealthy thought patterns, including: [2] [3]

  • Binary thinking (all or nothing): where a person views things and things as either black or white and there is no middle ground.
  • Exclusion of positives: where the individual excludes positive feelings and achievements and does not take them into account.
  • Focus on the negative: the tendency to focus on and exaggerate the negative aspects of things without taking into account the positive aspects; Which leads to not seeing the facts.
  • Exaggeration or neglect: This pattern is characterized by an exaggerated reaction, whether excessive attention or neglect.
  • Negative reactions: The negative thoughts and reactions dominate thinking always.
  • Personalization: taking things personally and believing that every action is directed at him.
  • Overgeneralization: analyzing the event and drawing many conclusions from it that are often incorrect.

behavioral strategies

Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression involves adopting methods that contribute to changing unhealthy thinking patterns and negative behaviors and replacing them with positive behaviors that bring happiness. A person learns to confront his fears and acquire social skills, through: [2]

  • Learn strategies to help overcome negative behaviors, such as replacing social isolation or dropping out of work or school with positive activities that bring a sense of pleasure or accomplishment, such as participating in a family gathering or attending a party.
  • Motivating depressed patients to perform simple tasks, such as reading or making bed, to help them begin their daily activities.
  • The patient records how enjoyable he or she feels when doing any activity by rating it on a scale from 1 to 10; To help him perceive a sense of accomplishment and joy and to track his progress; Which enhances his desire to accomplish more.
  • Learn skills to help improve sleep and get rid of .
  • Giving specific activities that improve social skills.

Indications for use of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression contributes to the treatment of all degrees of depression, even severe, and is recommended for patients with depression, especially the following cases: [2]

How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy in depression?

Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression often works well in combination with medication, and it is less likely to return within a year compared to people who only receive medication. [1]

It’s best to repeat CBT if depression returns, when the person feels unwell or when they are facing difficult challenges. [1]

It should be noted that it is forbidden to stop the prescribed drug treatment without consulting a doctor, even while receiving cognitive behavioral therapy with a psychologist. [1]