Many don’t seek help. Others seek help but are prescribed antidepressant medication. Some seek access to talking therapies for depression.
Here, we are going to look at one of the first line talking therapies for depression, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and how modern CBT techniques can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and keep them gone for good.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to be as effective a treatment for depression as antidepressant medication, but people are often unsure of what to expect when they begin CBT treatment. The avoidance, reduced activity, negative thoughts and low motivation that people experience as part of the depression often means that they will delay or avoid seeking help entirely.
I write this guide here so that you know exactly what to expect from CBT therapy for depression, to break down some of the concerns or worries you may have about treatment.
The model suggests that we all develop a view of ourselves and the world through our experiences with it. Early experiences in our lives lead us to form a model of how and who we are and how we can relate to our world around us. As the world is not necessarily an easy place to live in, we develop rules and assumptions to help us through.
The Cognitive Model of Depression then goes on to suggest that if we are presented with a situation in which one of our rules or assumptions no longer fit our experience, then this will activate deeper “Core Beliefs” or “Schema”, which then give rise to the depressive symptoms.
Unlike the Cognitive Model of Depression, Behavioural Activation places less of an emphasis upon the thoughts that we have whilst we are depressed and focuses more upon the changes in our behaviour. As mentioned earlier, when we get depressed, we tend to withdraw, isolate ourselves and avoid places, people and situations because of how we feel.
This is in part understandable. If I am not experiencing things that make me happy, or even worse, if the things in my life are actually making me feel worse, then it is an understandable response to avoid things and to retreat to a place where I feel less unhappy. The problem is though, while retreat from painful life events can make me feel relief in the short term, over the longer term this behaviour can cause me to miss out upon the things in life that might event make me feel good. I back off from stressful life events, I do less, I don’t experience others things that might make me feel better and a cycle ensues.