Modern life poses many challenges, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness, negativity, and worthlessness. If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. In fact, approximately 1 in every 4 Canadians is impacted by depression.
However, there are many options available to help you cope, and guide you toward better mental health and wellness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a scientifically proven treatment that improves symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. With the right therapeutic guidance and CBT methods, you can overcome negative thought patterns and lead a more fulfilling life.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy — often referred to as talk therapy. During a session, you work one-on-one with a counsellor, addressing negative thought patterns that lead to unhealthy feelings and actions. CBT helps guide your reaction to life’s challenges in a more effective and constructive way.
However, CBT isn’t limited to those with depression. This therapy can help anyone overcome and better manage stressful situations The methods learned with your therapist can be applied outside of the therapeutic setting, guiding you through stressful situations and helping you discover self-love.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Depression
In some cases, CBT has shown to be as effective as antidepressants. Other studies have also reported CBT’s effectiveness for those with major depressive disorders that have not responded to antidepressants. In a 2010 scientific review of numerous studies, CBT was found to significantly reduce these individuals’ depressive symptoms and improve their quality of life.
During a CBT session, you are encouraged to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and worries. Your therapist is there to support you and guide you through untangling your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental and compassionate setting.
CBT can help you overcome maladaptive thought patterns or responses, including:
- Interpreting the world through absolutes, such as all-or-nothing perspectives
- Ignoring or discounting the positives in life
- Habitual negative thought reactions
- Amplifying or minimizing the significance of a set event
- Generalizing or making assumptions about a single even
- Taking things personally or thinking someone’s actions are directed specifically toward you
- Dwelling on a single negative event or detail
Through CBT, you can learn to learn to manage certain thoughts and responses, accurately assess situations, adopt positive self-talk techniques, and reflect and react accordingly. It may take some time and effort, but it’s entirely possible to take back control of your life and feel good again.
Your First CBT Session
Initially, individual therapy may sound intimidating. However, knowing what to expect can make your first CBT session more comfortable. Depending on your situation, you may require less than five sessions or up to 20 sessions. Each session is usually scheduled for one hour.
During your first session(s), your therapist asks questions regarding your past history and how it is impacting your current situation. They also assess whether CBT is right for you, or whether another therapy would be more appropriate.
During each session, you and your therapist decide on the topic of discussion. Together, you break down your problems and reflect on your emotions, thoughts, actions, and behaviours. You determine whether these emotions, thoughts, actions, and behaviours are helpful or realistic. Together, you work to determine how to alter negative patterns.
At the end of each session, your therapist usually gives you ‘homework.’ This helps apply what you’ve learned in therapy to your everyday life. You are never forced to do anything you don’t want to do — each strategy is applied based on your comfort level.
At the beginning of the session, you and your therapist discuss whether or not a certain strategy worked for you. If a specific method is ineffective , you address the reasons and determine how to move forward..
Journalling is also a very important part of CBT. Through regular journalling, you can easily self-reflect and organize your thoughts and feelings. In turn, this helps you control and modify problematic reactions or thinking patterns.
At Bhatia Psychology Group, we understand and we care. Together, we help you overcome life’s pressures and move toward self-love, joy, and a better quality of life. Learn answers to our common psychotherapy FAQs or contact us to book your first appointment.