How Effective Is Cognitive Therapy?
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Can you really think your way out of depression? Jillian Ball from the University of South Wales Black Dog Institute seems to think so. From the perspective of Cognitive Therapy, the root of depression is based on the effects of negative thinking. Negative thinking leads to negative behavior. For example, if a person thinks ‘Nobody likes me’, than the person will start to avoid people and develop relationships with other people, which is negative behavior.
What is Cognitive Therapy?
Many therapists believe that positive thinking can cure depression, which leads to the theory of cognitive therapy. For over twenty years therapists and psychologist have researched and concluded that cognitive therapy is the most effective way to eliminate depression (Ball, 2015). Cognitive therapy focuses on changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts (2015). The purpose of cognitive therapy is for you to learn how recognize irrational thoughts, which focuses on how you feel about things now and not in the past. (2015).
Is Cognitive Therapy More Effective than Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
Many researchers have different opinions about which therapy is better. Jillian Ball thinks that people with different levels of depression can benefit from cognitive therapy. In Jillian Ball’s article, Thinking Your Way out of Depression, she states that people who have reactive depressions, mild depressions, and bipolar illness benefit more from cognitive therapy (2015).
However, Jillian Ball’s theory is only one-sided. Prolonged negative thinking is only one reason why someone becomes depressed. Her article doesn’t address solutions to individuals who suffer from major depression, such as anxiety. Her article also doesn’t address other types of therapy. Therapy is a positive step toward overcoming depression. Yet, the wrong type of therapy is useless to some trying to cope with depression. Many people are depressed because of specific life situations, such dealing family and traumatic events. Do your think cognitive therapy is the only solution for someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Some individuals may require long-term therapy and more than one type of therapy, along with medication, in order to cope or overcome any type of mental illness.
What is Cognitive-Behavior Group Therapy and Why Is Popular?
The most popular therapy method therapists use is cognitive-behavior group therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is cognitive and behavioral therapy combined. CBT group therapy is considered by some to be the most cost-effective and first line of defense when treating depression, where a group of patients work together in order to address their thought and behavior patterns through rational analysis and critical thinking. This method approaches the situation with the following attitude: "Are these negative thoughts and behaviors justified? Let's find out! (Thimm, J. & Antonsen, 2014)"
Jens Thimm and Liss Antonsen completed a study that included 143 patients who suffer from depression. Their study concluded that 44% of the people who participated showed more improvement than people who do not participate in group CBT, and 30% of participants who showed improvement in depression recovered with regular continuous treatment (2015).
Is Cognitive Therapy/Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Not Working?
The first step to you need to do is to determine if you have a depression, and what type of depression. In other words, find a therapist and get a clinical assessment. Contact your local hospital or day treatment center for mental illness to get more information. Many licensed professionals use the Beck Depression Inventory or BDI-I. The BDI-I is a 21-item self report designed to assess the severity of depression (Thimm &Antonsen., 2014). After a clinical assessment, a therapist will be able to determine which therapy is best for you.
Other Types of Therapy
If your therapist decides that cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are not for you, do not worry. There are other types of therapy for people who suffer from depression. Depression is a mental disorder that affects many people, individually. Therefore, people may not respond to one type of therapeutic treatment. Other popular therapeutic methods include psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy and experiential therapy.
Psychoanalysis is a well known form of psychotherapy that began in the 1900s. This type of therapy is where the patient lies on a couch and have one-on-one intense sessions with at therapist. Psychoanalysis focuses on the interaction between the patient and the therapist, and patients normally spend years and decades attending several sessions a week. A tapper-down version of psychoanalysis is psychodynamic therapy. The patients rarely lie on a couch, and treatment can last up to a year.
Experiential interpersonal therapy is for people whose depression is rooted by bad relationships with family members. Experiential therapy is a therapeutic approach that encourages patients to identify and address hidden issues from their past and their present, and it may be best for people who have suffered from a traumatic past or event (2005). Remember that your past and present life events can drastically affect your relationships with other people.
- By Heather Browning, MBA, BA
Ball, J. Thinking Your Way Out of Depression. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
Health.com. 7 Types of Therapy That Can Help Depression. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
Thrimm, J.C., & Antonsen, L. (2014). Effectiveness of Cognitive behavioral group therapy for Depression
in Routine Practice. BMC Psychiatry. 14(1).
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