You are what you think. Your thoughts have the power to make you happy even in worst of situations. Also, you may have everything and yet you can be sad if your thoughts are negative.

Psychiatrists use the power of thoughts to treat the symptoms of depression and other mental disorders in patients. This therapy which elevates the mood of the person by encouraging healthier ways of thinking is called as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is being widely used as an effective treatment for depression. Patients are taught to recognize negative patterns of thought and eventually replace them with positive and happy thoughts.

CBT leads to changes in patient’s behaviour that stem from dysfunctional thinking. By making changes in pattern of thought and behaviour of patients, CBT aims to improve symptoms of depression.

Strategies of CBT

  • Socratic questioning
  • Role playing
  • Imagery
  • Guided discovery
  • Behavioural experiments

Indications of CBT

As per the researchers, CBT is as effective as antidepressants in treatment of mild and moderate cases of depression.

  • Individuals with mild or moderate depression can be treated by stand along CBT without even taking medication
  • Individuals with major depression are treated with combination of antidepressants and CBT
  • In adolescents who have mild and moderate depression
  • In patients who experience frequent relapses after treatment
  • In patients who are responding partially to medications for depression

Salient Features of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

  • CBT focuses on two primary tasks including Cognitive restructuring and Behavioural activation.
  • Cognitive restructuring involves one to one sessions between therapist and patient for changing thinking patterns
  • Behavioural activation that teaches patients to participate in pleasurable activities by overcoming negative thoughts
  • CBT is a time bound therapy that lasts for a time period of 14 to 16 weeks.
  • During CBT, psychiatrists try to analyse the pattern of patient’s thoughts with stress on what and how a person thinks at the moment rather than why a patient thinks that way.
  • The problems related to the patient’s behaviour and thinking are identified, prioritized, and analysed during CBT sessions. The specific problems of the patient are addressed in individual or group sessions.
  • The CBT sessions are goal oriented with short as well as long term goals are defined before the sessions. Some of the long term goals may take weeks to months to achieve.
  • CBT is found to be very effective in patients who are motivated and have ability for introspection
  • The therapist who conducts CBT, uses structured learning experiences for educating patients to monitor and ward off their negative thoughts. The patients learn to identify how negative thoughts affect their behaviour and physical condition.
  • CBT teaches the patients important coping skills for facing the stressful life events, solving their problems and scheduling pleasurable experiences.
  • During the CBT session, patients are encouraged to take active part in their learning.  They are also given homework assignments that are even graded and reviewed.