How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is Light for Depression?

What is Cognitive Behavioural therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking approach that might help you manage your troubles by altering your thinking and behaviour. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective method of psychological treatment used by thousands of therapists throughout the world. According to CBT theory, our ideas, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviour are all linked, and what we think and do affects how we feel.

Thousands of clinical investigations have shown that CBT is an effective treatment for a variety of disorders ranging from anxiety and depression to pain and sleeplessness. It is beneficial to people of all ages, including children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. CBT is very adaptable; it has been shown to be beneficial in face-to-face, online, and self-help settings. It assists individuals in developing skills and strategies for becoming and remaining healthy.

CBT focuses on the present moment—on the problems that arise in daily living. CBT assists people in examining how they make sense of their surroundings and how these perceptions affect how they feel.

How does it work?

By breaking down large difficulties into smaller bits, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you make sense of them. CBT divides problems into five categories:

1. Situations
2. Thoughts
3. Emotions
4. Bodily sensations
5. Actions

CBT is founded on the idea that these five areas are interrelated and affect one another. For example, your thoughts about a certain scenario can frequently influence how you feel physically and emotionally, as well as how you act in response.

Benefits of CBT:

The essential principle of CBT is that thoughts and feelings have a significant impact on behavior.
A person who spends a lot of time thinking about plane crashes, runway accidents, and other aviation tragedies, for example, may avoid flying.
The purpose of cognitive behavioral therapy is to teach patients that, while they cannot control every part of their environment, they can influence how they understand and react to it.
It aids in the development of healthier thought patterns by making you aware of the negative and frequently unrealistic thoughts that damper your sentiments and moods.
It works for a wide range of maladaptive behaviors.
It is frequently less expensive than other methods of therapy.
It is appropriate for people who do not require psychotropic drugs.
The primary goal of CBT is to assist you in applying what you learn in sessions to your daily life.
Among all of CBT’s benefits and effectiveness, it is most known for its treatment of depression. It is one of the most evidence-based kinds of depression therapy.
Let us begin with depression to gain a thorough understanding of the subject.


Depression is a mood disorder characterized by chronic sorrow and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and act and can lead to a variety of mental and physical difficulties. It is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. You may have difficulty performing routine daily activities, and you may feel as though life isn’t worth living.

Depression is more than just a bad mood, and it isn’t something that can be “snapped out” of. Depression may necessitate long-term therapy. Depression is widespread throughout the world. According to healthcare providers, almost 7% of American adults suffer from depression each year. It is said that more than 16% of individuals in the United States — roughly one in every six — will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Although depression can occur only once in a lifetime, most people have several episodes. Symptoms

  • occur most of the day, virtually every day, during these episodes, and may include:
  • Sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Rage, impatience, or frustration, even over little issues
  • Loss of enjoyment or interest in most or all typical activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy make even minor chores difficult.
  • Anxiety, agitation, or agitation
  • Slowing of thought, speech, or movement
  • Feelings of worthlessness or remorse, ruminating on past failures, or blaming oneself
  • Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, making judgments, and remembering things
  • Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide are all common or recurring thoughts.
  • What causes Depression:
  • The medical profession is still learning about the origins of depression. There are numerous probable reasons, and symptoms might be triggered by a combination of situations.
  • The following factors are likely to play a role:
  • Environmental variables such as trauma exposure or a lack of social support can cause genetic changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels.
  • Psychological and social elements
  • Additional medical issues, such as bipolar disorder

The interaction of many factors can raise the risk of depression. For example, a person with a family history of depression or a genetic predisposition to depression may have depression symptoms after a distressing event.

Depression Diagnosis

There is no physical test to diagnose depression. If you have depression symptoms during the majority of the day, every day, for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor. This is especially true if:

  • You are experiencing depressive symptoms that are not improving.
  • You are considering self-harm or suicide
  • Your mood influences your work, social circle, and activities.
  • Treatment goals
  • Depression is treated with both medication and treatments. On the psychological front, there are a variety of talking therapies for depression, which include
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Computerized CBT aka CBBT
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Counselling

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is regarded as one of the most evidence-based psychological methods for depression treatment. CBT assists you in making sense of your ideas and behaviours, as well as the impact they have on you. Recognizing that past events may have influenced who you are is part of it, but the main focus is on changing how you feel, conduct, and think now.

CBT is also used to teach you how to resist negative ideas, which can help you deal with emotions of hopelessness, worthlessness, and a variety of other symptoms. In order to see how CBT helps with depression, let’s get into more detail.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression

Dr Aaron T. Beck’s research at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960s resulted in CBT. Many depressive individuals, he noticed, had negative ideas about themselves, the world, or the future. Beck then started assisting people in assessing these beliefs and thinking more seriously about how they felt about themselves and the world around them. Using these discoveries, early cognitive therapy (CT) and behaviour therapy (BT) procedures evolved into what is today known as cognitive behavioural therapy. It is now regarded as the “gold standard” of therapeutic techniques.

The industry’s trust in CBT has risen as studies show how beneficial treatment is for depression. According to one study published in the Lancet in 2016, 43% of participants who underwent CBT in addition to their usual care saw their health improve over a 4-6month period. This compares to 27% of people whose condition improved just under their normal care.

How CBT works on Depression?

A sufficient number of studies have been completed to demonstrate the efficacy of CBT in the treatment of depressive disorders. A meta-analysis of 115 trials found that CBT is an effective treatment strategy for depression and that it is much more effective when paired with medication than pharmacotherapy alone. Evidence also suggests that patients treated with CBT had a reduced relapse rate than patients treated with medication alone.

Cognitive therapy teaches people how to notice and correct unfavourable automatic ideas. The depressed individual will be able to recognize and correct deeply held but erroneous ideas that contribute to their depression over time. “It isn’t the power of optimistic thinking,” Beck explains. “It’s the ability to think realistically.

CBT assists a person in identifying how their understanding of living conditions contributes to their depression. When a person begins CBT, their cbt therapist may suggest that they keep a notebook. They can record daily happenings, their ideas and interpretations of the events, and their ensuing feelings or mood in this notebook.
According to cbt, people are impacted by their perceptions of events rather than the events themselves. Individual differences in the maladaptive thought process and negative assessment of life events, in essence, lead to the development of dysfunctional cognitive reactions. This cognitive dysfunction is also to blame for the remainder of the symptoms in the affective and behavioural domains.

Negative automatic thoughts both cause and exacerbate depression. It may be beneficial to recognize unhealthy automatic thinking related to depression symptoms. With CBT individuals learn to document disturbing situations as soon as they occur.

What Cognitive Behavioural techniques are used?

The cognitive component of CBT is determining a patient’s erroneous thought patterns that cause problems, testing those thoughts, and evaluating how those thoughts influence how they see and interact with the world around them. The goal is for the patient to gain a better understanding of themselves as well as others’ behaviours and motivations, to learn problem-solving skills to cope and to create confidence in one’s self and their abilities.

A clinician (psychiatrist or psychologist) will evaluate a patient for depression and devise a plan of cognitive and behavioural approaches to help minimize depressive thought patterns and depression symptoms.
The first phase of CBT for depression usually comprises behavioural techniques. This portion of the therapy consists of substituting activities that may cause or worsen sadness with behaviours that can generate enjoyment. People learn to face their concerns, relax their minds, and prepare for social encounters by role-playing.

Common Approaches for Depression are:

Cognitive Restructuring

The act of discovering unproductive patterns of thought and modifying them to be more effective is referred to as cognitive restructuring. Being more effective can mean eliciting less negative emotions, seeing things more clearly, or allowing for more skilful behaviour. Most people have negative thought patterns from time to time, but these patterns can become so entrenched that they disrupt relationships, accomplishments, and even well-being.

Cognitive restructuring is a series of therapy strategies that assist people in recognizing and changing harmful thought patterns.

When destructive and self-defeating thinking patterns emerge, it’s a good idea to look into strategies to interrupt and redirect them. That is what cognitive reorganization can accomplish.

A patient and therapist collaborate in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to uncover erroneous thought patterns that are contributing to a problem and practice procedures to help alter unfavourable thought patterns. Cognitive restructuring approaches, as the name implies, deconstruct problematic concepts and rebuild them in a more balanced and correct manner. The cognitive restructuring allows you to catch these maladaptive beliefs as they happen. Then you can try redefining these views in more truthful and beneficial ways.

The argument goes that if you can modify your perspective on specific events or circumstances, you may be able to change your sentiments and actions.

Techniques used in cognitive restructuring are:


The process of cognitive restructuring entails recognizing the thoughts that cause bad sensations and states of mind. In testing situations, for example, you may discover a tendency of catastrophizing. Writing down your thoughts may aid in the identification of a cognitive distortion or trend.

Putting your assumptions into question:

Learning to challenge your views and assumptions is an important aspect of cognitive reorganization. A therapist can educate you on how to use the method of questioning to determine where and how your automatic ideas are unfair or unreasonable. Questioning permits you to contemplate other possibilities that aren’t as harsh as the catastrophic ones you may be afraid of.

Obtaining evidence:

Gathering evidence is an important part of cognitive reorganization. Cognitive distortions are erroneous and biased, but they can also be profoundly ingrained. Dislodging and replacing them necessitates evidence of their rationality.

Developing alternatives:

Cognitive restructuring assists people in developing fresh perspectives on the events that occur to them. Part of the process entails coming up with alternate explanations that are rational and positive. For example, if you didn’t perform well on a test, you can consider changing your study habits before your next examination. Creating positive affirmations to replace erroneous or unhelpful thought patterns is another way to generate alternatives. You might also look into some relaxing techniques to attempt before your next test. Here’s another one: If a group of coworkers stops chatting when you walk into the room, rather than leaping to the conclusion that they were talking about you, you might examine other possibilities.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a type of mental health treatment that helps people face their concerns. A person is gradually exposed to the scenario that causes them distress through the use of numerous systematic procedures.

The purpose of exposure therapy is to provide a safe atmosphere in which a person can reduce anxiety, avoid feared events, and improve his or her quality of life. When you are afraid of anything, you may avoid objects, activities, or situations that are associated with that dread. While avoiding these items may make you feel less anxious in the short term, it may exacerbate your fear in the long run.

A psychologist or mental health practitioner may offer exposure therapy to help you break the avoidance behaviour and conquer whatever is holding you back. During these sessions, psychologists establish a safe environment in which you are exposed to your fears and guided through the process.

Thought Record

Thought Records can assist you in identifying concepts and images associated with your low mood. When you sense a shift in your mood, focus on your thoughts and write them down as they come to you. When you begin to write out a specific event that causes you distress, you may begin to relive the emotions and sensations associated with that incident – it is crucial to try to work through the entire record to completion as your mood may improve by the conclusion of it. But your work does not end there; you must take that information, examine it, comprehend it, and modify it to aid in your anxiety and/or depression recovery.

Role Play

The notion that role-playing has advantages is not a novel one. Role-playing has been utilized by therapists and educators for decades to foster self-reflection and communication. A 2019 assessment of the research on the use of clinical role-play in classroom settings discovered that this practice improves therapeutic and communicative abilities. Role-playing can help persons suffering from depression caused by emotions of loneliness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. RP is particularly beneficial in therapeutic situations. This is because they provide an organized and safe environment in which users can experiment with “being someone else” for a limited time.

How Successive is CBT for depression?

According to research, CBT is the most effective kind of treatment for people suffering from depression and anxiety. After 5 – 15 modules, CBT alone is 50-75% effective for alleviating sadness and anxiety. Patients who receive treatment have shorter depression episodes and are less likely to recur. CBT is effective for all types of depression, including persistent depression. When paired with medication, cbt has an efficacy of about 90%.

CBT Self-Guide for Depression:

Mental health treatments that are both effective and widely available are in high demand. Although cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be effective and popular, such therapies are difficult to obtain, particularly in basic care, resulting in delay, frustration, and suffering. One method of meeting demand would be to use self-help CBT materials aimed at addressing common mental health conditions such as depression.

Behavioural Change:

When you are depressed, it can be difficult to get out of bed and make arrangements with others. It is a good place to find out about what’s going on in the world. This could include doing something you enjoy, eating something you enjoy, or simply making time to rest. Using a planner to manage your time ahead of time will allow you to do more of what you enjoy. This entails focusing on yourself and your own happiness for a short period of time and doing activities that make you happy.

Break down your ambitions into smaller steps:

Small measures might be tough for persons suffering from depression because they believe they are insignificant and will not make a difference. However, the majority of what people accomplish is dependent on modest actions or goals.

Minimal effort task:

CBT tasks necessitate effort. However, for most people, a workable way may be found. Choose the task that requires the least amount of energy. It’s important to keep moving forward, no matter how slowly.

Keep on doing something:

Depression triumphs when you lose interest in routine activities and, for some, in life itself. Anything you do to combat depression is beneficial. Make it a habit to complete a modest activity every day. It will keep you active.

Write Diary:

The best approach to keeping track of your activities and daily routine is to keep a diary or journal. It keeps you grounded and assists you in seeing what is wrong with your behaviour and ideas.

Keep yourself Motivated:

Listening, reading, or seeing something or anything related to motivation is one of the finest ways to keep depression at bay. These motivational exercises will assist you in becoming motivated and inspired. Motivation allows you to recover from depression in half the time.

Relaxation Technique:

Relaxation techniques can aid in the management of depression. Simply lie down or sit comfortably with your legs uncrossed, close your eyes softly, or focus on a location in front of you. Take a deep breath and let your thoughts and problems go.

Walk in the woods:

If you are feeling down, another self-help solution is to go for a long walk or ride in nature. Nature is the finest healer. Feel the beauty in your surroundings and attempt to calm your mind and body. This is an excellent opportunity to alleviate anxiety and depression.


CBT ultimately seeks to enable patients to be their own therapists by assisting them in understanding their current ways of thinking and acting and providing them with the tools necessary to transform their maladaptive cognitive and behavioural patterns. CBT trains you to recognize and alter negative patterns, which can help you reframe your thinking during times of stress or panic. It can also teach persons suffering from depression new coping skills such as motivation and journaling.

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