Quick, Active, Effective: The Benefits of CBT
When your wellness is affected by depression, lying on a sofa and going over every dream or childhood trauma you’ve ever had doesn’t appeal – especially if it’s going to be months or even years before you see any improvement to your wellbeing. Many people with depression take antidepressants, but coming off them can be scary as you don’t know if you’ll end up right back at square one. Luckily, there’s a complementary wellness therapy which may work for you.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) includes a number of related talk therapy techniques which can offer a light at the end of the depression tunnel. According to several studies, the treatment is relatively fast and effective, but the effects of the treatment also have excellent longevity. CBT is based on the concept that, if you’re like many sufferers, your depression is cause by the negative way of thinking you have about the world and yourself, rather than any life circumstances or genetic reasons.
Therefore, the goal of CBT is simple; to teach you how to break out of that damaging thinking pattern. CBT does this by showing you how to recognise negative thoughts, test their validity, and replace them with more positive or realistic thoughts. According to the evidence, the benefits of the treatment often occur quickly, even being noticeable after one or two sessions. This is because you realise early on that your own negative thinking is the main culprit behind your depression.
If you’re thinking that CBT still sounds a lot like traditional talking therapy, here are three reasons why you’re wrong:
1. Time – Traditional talk therapy, or psychoanalysis, can last for years. CBT, on the other hands, lasts for an average of 16 sessions. In fact, your doctor will probably determine how long the therapy will take in advance, right at the beginning of the treatment.
2. Set Up – Instead of an hour in which you babble on about whatever memory or topic you like, CBT often involves a plan for each session. This includes a list of the specific techniques and goals you have to cover in that session.
3. Take Away – CBT gives you homework more than other forms of therapy, as it requires you to actively identify the triggers of your negative thinking and to “practice” alternative responses. You may be required to keep a thought journal, or even actively schedule a challenging situation for yourself.