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Cognitive behavioural therapy 101

Introduction to Cognitive therapy

In previous article i.e., my story of depression, discussed about the signs and symptoms and how its feel like to be depressed. In this article I will discuss key points of cognitive therapy and its component’s part wise.

Part – 1:

  • Philosophy
  • Cognitive model of depression

What is Cognitive therapy?

  • It’s a structured approach which is used to treat various mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, phobias etc.,
  • This approach is time bound, active which is based on an underlying theory that an individual holds and describes the world around them.
  • The theories are based on underlying attitudes or assumptions developed from previous experiences.
  • This therapy approach involves identification, reality testing, correcting distorted concepts and dysfunctional beliefs.
  • Problems and situations which are considered to be impossible will re-evaluated and mastered by clients by learning and correcting the thinking.
  • This approach would correct the maladaptive thinking and assumptions specific to one’s life.
  • According to Beck, client will be thought following aspects, so that they master their problems and situations.
    • Monitoring negative, automatic thoughts – cognitive level.
    • To see if there is ay connection between thought, action and behaviour.
    • The automatic negative thoughts are challenged by evidence.
    • Subjected to reality-oriented interpretations for biased cognitions.
    • Distorted and dysfunctional beliefs are identified and altered eventually.
    • Self-questioning is thought to be a powerful tool one could use during confusion and clearing assumptions or distortions.

What is the philosophy of cognitive therapy?
Cognitive therapy’s philosophical origins can be traced back to

  • Stoicism: “It’s a philosophy of life that maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative emotions and helps individuals to hone their virtues of character”
  • Taoism: “a way of looking at life and a way of thinking about things”
  • Buddhism: States that “the human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labour, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana”
  • Freud: symptoms and affect are based on unconscious ideas.
  • Alfred Adler: therapy the process of unravelling how the person perceived and experienced the world.
  • Kant, Heidegger and Husserl: Phenomenological movement.

Cognitive model of depression
The cognitive model of depression postulates three specific concepts as follows:

  1. The Cognitive triad: Cognitive triad involves three major patterns:
    • Negative view of self:
    • Interpterion of ongoing experiences in a negative way
    • Negative view of future
  2. Assumptions/schemas: In cognitive therapy this concept is used t o explain why depressed client maintains their pain inducing and self-defeating attitudes without any objective evidence of positive factors in life.
  3. Cognitive Errors: Despite the concrete contradictory evidence a depressed person maintain the client’s belief in the validity of their negative concepts.

In next part (2) we will see about prerequisites, limitations, common pitfalls and how to maximise the impact of CBT.

Vamsy Krishna
Psychologist

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