Depression is one of the most common reasons that cause people to see psychotherapy.
Cognitive-behavior therapy has been found in controlled studies to be an effective form of
treatment for depression--in fact, it appears to be as effective as antidepressant medications.
Cognitive-behavior therapy for depression focuses on the clinical observation that depressed
mood oftenseems to result from negative patterns of thinking and behaving. For example,
depressed people often have thoughts like, "I'm a failure," "I can't do anything right," "I'll never
accomplish my goals," "No one cares about me," "I'll be alone forever," or similar. These
thoughts can feel powerful and compelling, but usually do not tell a balanced, reasonable story.
In cognitive-behavior therapy, patient and therapist work together to determine what types of
negative thinking are problematic for the depressed patient, and what types of coping or
balanced thoughts can be used to provide a better perspective, to lift the depressed person's
mood, and help him or her functionbetter. The therapy also often focuses on helping the
depressed person increase his or her activity level or find more gratifying, pleasurable activities.
In therapy sessions, the therapist takes an active approach to teaching here-and-now coping
strategies to help patients understand and change cognitions and behaviors that contribute to
depressed mood. This is an active, problem-solving to therapy. Practicing new skills outside of sessions is a central part of treatment.
A key goal of cognitive-behavior therapy is to provide you with tools that you can use to work on
your depressive symptoms and to prevent future episodes. Treatment can be done in individual or
group or couples format.