Cognitive Therapy for Depression

Topics: Cognitive behavioral therapy, Cognitive therapy, Major depressive disorder Pages: 8 (2465 words) Published: October 10, 2008

The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader of the theory of Cognitive Therapy for Depression. In doing so, I will discuss the evidence that supports the use of cognitive therapy for depression, the advantages and the disadvantages. The usage of cognitive therapy with children for depression and ending with the assumptions associated with the theory.

Cognitive Therapy for Depression
Cognitive Therapy (CT) is a form of psychotherapy that was developed by the famed psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. This style of therapy is one that seeks to change the unrealistic views and way of thinking of the client. Psychologists using a cognitive therapy approach recognize that psychological problems such as depression can develop from a variety of life experiences. It’s here that Beck uncovered that cognitive therapy was an effective and perhaps the most effective intervention for treating depression (Wikipedia, 2007). The primary goal of CT is to provide relief by helping patients to become aware of and challenge their negative thoughts and imagery. It is the therapist’s role to use this design as it was intended with accuracy; this is the key to this form of treatment working as applied.

Cognitive therapy aims to help the client to become aware of thought distortions, which are causing psychological distress, and of behavioral patterns that are reinforcing it, and to correct them. The objective is not to correct every distortion in a client's entire outlook; virtually everyone distorts reality in many ways. The therapist will make every effort to understand experiences from the client's point of view, and the client and therapist will work collaboratively with an empirical spirit, like scientists, exploring the client's thoughts, assumptions and inferences. The therapist helps the client learn to test these by checking them against reality and against other assumptions.

Supporting Evidence
Cognitive therapy was developed as a departure from traditional therapeutic approaches to mental illness. While working with patients, Aaron Beck, a pioneer in cognitive therapy, observed that negative moods and behaviors were usually the result of distorted thoughts and beliefs, not of unconscious forces as proposed in Freudian theory (Beck, 1995). Numerous studies and meta-analyses convincingly that Cognitive Therapy or CBT effectively treats patients with major depression (Beck, 1995). Two comprehensive meta-analyses showed that Cognitive Therapy is as effective as interpersonal or brief psychodynamic therapy in managing depression (Beck, 1996). They also showed that Cognitive Therapy is as effective as and possibly more effective than pharmacotherapy in managing mild to moderate depression (Beck, 1995). The National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program compared the effectiveness of two forms of psychotherapy interpersonal therapy and CT with imipramine (Tofranil) or placebo in the treatment of 250 patients with major depressive disorder (Miller, 1989). The study found no significant differences between the therapies; however, the two psychotherapies were slightly less effective than imipramine but more effective than placebo (Miller, 1989). A meta-analysis of four studies, which included 169 patients with major depression, showed similar results for tricyclic antidepressants and CT (Miller, 1989). The evidence suggests that cognitive therapy is a valid alternative to antidepressants for patients with mild to moderate depression and possibly for patients with more severe depression (Miller, 1989). The Department of Health group concluded that there is good evidence supporting the effectiveness of psychological therapies in the treatment of depression in general adult and older adult populations, including in-patient care (Miller, 1989). Cognitive Therapy and interpersonal therapy proved to be effective treatments for depression, and a...

References: Beck, J.S. (1995). Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond. New York: Guilford Press.
Beck, A.T., Steer, R.A., & Brown, G.K. (1996). Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition: Manual. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Coyne, J.C., & Gotlib, I.H. (1983). The Role of Cognition in Depression: A Critical Appraisal . Psychological Bulletin, 94, 472-505.
Friedberg, R.D. & McClure, J.M. (2002). Clinical Practice of Cognitive Therapy with Children and Adolescents. The Nuts and Bolts. New York: Guilford Press.
Miller, I. W., Norman, W.H., Keitner, G.I., Bishop, S.B., & Dow, M. (1989). Cognitive- Behavioral Treatment of Depressed Inpatients. Behavior Therapy. 20, 25-47.
Robinson, L.A., Berman, J.S., Niemeyer, R.A. (2005). Psychotherapy for the treatment of depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved on November 28, 2007, from
Rupke, S.J., Blecke, D., Renfrow, M. (2006). Cognitive Therapy for Depression. The American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved on November 28, 2007, from
Wikipedia (2007). Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved on November 28, 2007 from
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