CBT for Depression: Identify and Change Negative Thought Patterns and Behaviors to Change Your Life
No two people are alike. Therefore, no two people with depression are alike. Some people feel emptiness. Others are irritable and cranky. For many, physical symptoms are more obvious. They may be less energetic or experience poor concentration.
Amidst these and other symptoms, we must remember that depression is a serious and increasingly common problem. As a result, treatment options are always being developed and tweaked. One of the most enduring and successful choices is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.
What is CBT?
You may expect therapy to always explore childhood issues and root causes. Not so with CBT. The focus of CBT is:
- Challenging distorted views
- Changing behavior patterns
- Solutions, solutions, solutions
It’s not that your history is ignored. Far from it. Your past is important. But it’s not as important as creating more happiness now. Research has shown CBT to help patients learn to control their behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Also, you will focus on concrete, individual goals. This is a particularly effective treatment if you’re suffering from depression. Thanks to CBT for depression, you will learn the difference between reality and your perception of reality.
Depression presents with pessimistic thinking patterns. You may not fully see them at first. The thoughts arrive before the impact becomes obvious. Therefore, CBT for depression focuses on:
- Identifying the negative thoughts
- Creating new, more positive thinking patterns
How CBT for Depression Can Identify and Change Negative Thought Patterns and Behaviors
1. You will keep a journal
You’ll use an old-fashioned pen and notebook, too! It’s very helpful to track patterns and keep a record of them. This journal will be your personal reference book. Eventually, it will be the document of your progress.
2. You will learn how thinking can lead you to a dark place
In the midst of depression, causes and cures blur and vanish. But learning how to understand your thinking patterns is a game changer. You have as many as 50,000 thoughts per day. CBT guides and inspires you to seek maximum control of those thoughts.
3. Your beliefs will be examined and challenged
“I can’t do this because that will happen.” We all know some version of this “belief.” It will become deeper and deeper ingrained in you the more you accept it. Your brain will accept something like “I’m too old” as fact. Hence, it’s your task to recast that fake belief. In fact, you could replace it with something like: “I keep getting wiser with age.”
4. Creating new habits will be a major focus
As mentioned above, it’s never about reliving your past. The key to a new perspective is creating new habits. This is where the concept of solutions comes front and center. Each new habit is a small victory. When these victories add up, the impact is anything but small.
5. Negative thought patterns will be traced to the source
If you can understand the problem, it automatically becomes easier to face. When you identify the source of a problem, solutions become real. CBT empowers you with this knowledge. In the process, it takes away the power of those negative thoughts.
Is CBT a good option for you or someone you love?
As described above, CBT has plenty to offer. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with depression, this type of therapy should be strongly considered. It begins with contacting a qualified professional. A therapist with solid CBT experience can outline a plan and answer your questions. If you’d like to learn more about trying CBT for depression contact us today for a free consultation!