Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a favorite treatment at our practice. CBT is great for individuals with depression and anxiety. Research shows that it helps two thirds of the people who use it.
The premise is simple: our thoughts influence our feelings which influence our actions. If we have negative, unrealistic thoughts we tend to feel depressed and/or anxious and then behave in a way that reinforces our negative thoughts.
Here is an example: Matt applies for a job and doesn’t get it. His negative thought is: No one is ever going to hire me. He feels depressed and his action is he quits looking for a job.
Alternatively, he could have a more realistic, positive thought about the situation. Matt could think I know there were a lot of people who applied for the job, maybe I just wasn’t the right fit. This thought produces the feeling of disappointment (but not depression) and his action is he continues his job search.
CBT believes that If we can identify our negative thoughts and learn to think more realistically we can improve our depression and anxiety.
This is a simple, in a nutshell explanation of CBT. There is of course, a lot more that goes into it. Entire books have been written on the subject. A favorite of mine is Feeling Good: The new mood therapy by Dr. David Burns. He writes books about CBT for anyone to read (not just therapists).
Here is a link to a video on YouTube of a Tedx talk that he gave that gives a good explanation of CBT (spoiler alert: you may cry at the end).
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.