Cognitive Behavior Therapy is the Recommended Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Are your thoughts primarily self-judgement and regret? Many people who experience anxiety and depression are able to function. They work, socialize with friends, make dinner and read bedtime stories to their children.
But inside the anxious mind, the picture is not what it appears on the outside. Thoughts and worries can swirl constantly in our minds while we are trying to focus on day-to-day life. Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help.
A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated or otherwise untrue thought that leads to a negative perception of reality. Some common cognitive distortions are:
- Negative predictions that bad things will happen
- Catastrophic thinking (making mountains out of molehills)
- Repeated thoughts starting with “What if…?”
- Imagining others are thinking bad things about us (mind-reading)
- Replaying past events in our minds with thoughts starting with “I should have…, or why didn’t I…”
Cognitive distortion is usually a symptom of anxiety, and believing the distortions can lead to depression. Even the mildest symptoms can prevent people from enjoying life and realizing their full potential.
Fear and self-doubt discourage people from taking risks at work, seeking promotion, and speaking up for themselves. In relationships, people who experience cognitive distortions may distance themselves from friends and loved ones due to their negative perceptions of their self-worth and others’ opinions of them. The main culprit is often the negative thinking process.
Luckily, life doesn’t have to be this way. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can provide swift and effective relief from destructive thought patterns and the problems they cause.
What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and how will it help?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a goal-oriented, scientifically proven approach to treating a variety of diagnoses, most commonly anxiety and depression. During CBT, the therapist and patient work together to identify, correct, and change the cognitive distortions that create destructive thought patterns.
Patients learn how to challenge their irrational thought patterns with the help of CBT. The therapist helps patients develop an action plan for changing destructive behaviors and thought patterns. This process of change is known as cognitive restructuring.
Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, CBT is more focused on the present and on equipping patients with practical skills to solve their current problems. These skills can be taught in a short-term therapy plan if indicated. Many patients find they can learn and grow a lot in a short amount of time, returning now and then for “tune-ups.”
“CBT sounds great, but what if I can’t change?”
It is common to feel daunted or discouraged about beginning therapy. In fact, those feelings are actually negative perceptions that could be restructured with the training of CBT. Deciding to speak to a therapist about CBT is the first step to learning about whether CBT is for you. Patients who have feelings or emotions that are holding them back—and then have feelings and emotions in which they attack and undermine themselves for their original feelings—can learn how to change this cycle through CBT.
So, is CBT the Right Treatment for You?
Because of its practical, goal-oriented nature, CBT works for people of all backgrounds. The CBT patient is empowered through mood checks and other assessments to track his or her progress from week to week. The therapist helps the patient new practice skills such as cognitive restructuring techniques. Therapists may also assign homework to help patients practice new skills during the week. Both patient and therapist are active participants in CBT.
For patients who want to see results quickly, CBT can lead to a reduction of symptoms in as little as 3-4 weeks. Patients can increase the effectiveness of treatment by taking notes, asking the therapist for worksheets and other additional homework to complete, and practicing their new problem-solving techniques in daily life.
People who are already taking medication for depression or anxiety may find that adding CBT to their treatment increases its effectiveness. Additionally, people who have not been helped by medication may have more success alleviating symptoms with CBT.
I’d like to start Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Which therapist should I see?
Dr. Michael Silverstein, is an expert in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. He has advanced training in CBT and offers these practical, easy to use tools in a comfortable and supportive manner.
Research has shown that people begin to start feeling better as soon as they pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. Feel free to call Dr. Silverstein at 610-642-3359 X3, or schedule a 15 minute phone consultation here:
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Feeling anxious or stressed right this very minute?
Healthy diet, exercise and preventative stress management are effective ways to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Try this 7 Minute Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise to start feeling better now!
For more tips on dealing with anxious and negative thoughts, check out our recent blog posts on The Power of Positive Thinking and What a Troll Can Teach us about Fear.