CBT for Depression

Depression is a rapidly growing problem across Canada and North America: 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience depression in their lifetime. Symptoms of depression vary from person to person and can sometimes present as irritability.

Every Canadian has moments of sadness, but depression is diagnosed as a disorder when 5 of the following symptoms remain for 2-weeks or longer:

  • Depressed or low mood
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Disrupted sleep or insomnia
  • Reduced activity
  • Fatigue
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Decreased focus or inability to concentrate
  • Emotions of worthlessness or guilt

Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as aches and pains or headaches. Those who experience depression may feel the effects in multiple areas of life, such as work, school, home, interpersonal, and social. Fortunately, depression is treatable with CBT and IPT therapy for depression, sometimes combined with medication.

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression?

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a psychological treatment aimed at improving symptoms of depression by regulating emotions and modifying thought patterns.

The cognitive triad, devised by Aaron T. Beck, is comprised of three forms of negative thinking that can occur spontaneously and continuously, allowing us to understand if you are at risk for symptoms of depression. Depression is likely to be influenced by negative thoughts about the future, the world or yourself.

The cognitive triad includes:

  1. Negative views of yourself (e.g. I am worthless)
  2. Negative views of the world (e.g. No one values me)
  3. Negative views of your future (e.g.I will never succeed)

Working with one of our cognitive behaviour therapists helps you identify maladaptive thought patterns, change thinking styles, and develop effective coping strategies. This treatment aims to help you become an observer of your thought process and, with specific training, change negative thought patterns. The expectation is that these cognitive changes will have a positive impact on your quality of life, improve your sense of self, and develop resilience to help you cope with life’s challenges.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for depression proceeds over approximately 8-20 sessions, depending on your symptoms’ severity. During this time, your therapist will help you develop a plan of action to help you work through negative feelings long after your therapy sessions have ended.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Helps with Varying Degrees of Depression

While most depression disorders include similar symptoms, they occur in varying degrees and are caused by different triggers. Depression can also affect health and longevity. It can present itself after a major life change, postpartum, or out of the blue. Some people are affected seasonally with depression each fall/winter.

CBT for depression can help improve your mental health, especially if you’re experiencing:

  • Chronic low mood
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Sleep issues

Cognitive behaviour therapy focuses on identifying problems and how you react to them. It then equips to replace any unhealthy reactions with healthier alternatives. Our CBT therapists provide you with the tools to recognize any warning signs of symptoms and cope with the effects.

CBT treatment can help you:

  • Manage your symptoms
  • Learn to control distorted thoughts/reactions
  • Prevent a relapse
  • Treat mental health when medication isn’t a good option
  • Cope with life stressors
  • Manage emotions
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Improve communication skills

Cognitive behaviour therapy does not operate by one set of rules. At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre, we work under the comprehension that you are unique and require a strategy that revolves around your individual needs and goals. This curation of therapeutic strategies includes flexibility for the different causes and types of depressive disorders.

Suicide Prevention and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. The first step in prevention is knowing what symptoms to monitor. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help:

  • Conversation about how burdensome they feel.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Dependence on drugs and alcohol.
  • Impulsive actions.
  • Mentioning feeling stuck or trapped.
  • Expressing feelings of pain.
  • Withdrawing from social situations.
  • Distinct changes to eating patterns.
  • Appearing fatigued.
  • Mood swings, anger, and discussions of vengeance.
  • Mentions of suicide.
  • Research on suicide.

Mental health treatment, like cognitive behaviour therapy, is among the most effective treatments for the prevention of suicide. Talking about the emotions, the casualties of these emotions and finding methods to cope with and change the negative thoughts into positive thoughts vastly increases the chance of overcoming depression and avoiding suicide.

Getting Started with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression

CBT treatment typically includes the following steps:

  1. Identify challenging situations in your life.
  2. Observe your thoughts and feelings about these challenges.
  3. Identify any negative or inaccurate thoughts.
  4. Reshape your negative or inaccurate thoughts.

Before Your Begin

If you decide cognitive behaviour therapy is for you, you will begin the 8-20 session treatment by creating a list of obtainable goals and the areas of your life you are hoping to improve. This list might include some of the thoughts, events, or activities which make you feel negative. In cases of depression, it may sometimes feel like there are no specific causes or triggers, simply feelings of sadness. However, there are still ways to turn those feelings into more positive emotions by learning and practicing coping strategies.

Your First Session

When you meet your therapist for the first time, you will work together to develop a plan of action tailored to your situation and needs. During this time, your therapist will ask you to disclose information about yourself and your life and talk about some of the areas you wish to see improvement.

During CBT

During your CBT sessions, your therapist will encourage you to discuss your thoughts, feelings and what is troubling you. If you find it challenging to open up, it’s okay — your therapist will help you gain more confidence and become more comfortable talking.

CBT uses a goal-oriented approach, and your therapist will help you set goals, equip you with the skills to cope with certain situations and how to apply what you’re learning into your daily life.

Contact the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre

For more information on cognitive treatment for depression, the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre can help.

Our professionally trained behavioural therapists are experienced in multiple areas of depressive and stress-related disorders. Whether you require CBT for depression or stress disorders, we can provide the tools you need to overcome obstacles and lead a more positive life. We invite you to reach out to us through our online contact page or by calling 1-416-570-5050.

If you or somebody you know is exhibiting these signs, we recommend contacting the Canada Suicide Prevention Service by chatting through www.crisisservicescanada.ca, dialling 1-833-456-4566, or texting 45645. This service is always available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

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