This essay will discuss and compare Beck’s cognitive behavioural therapy for depression and the use of drug therapy as treatments for depression. They differ heavily in their ideologies with regards to what depression is caused by. Beck’s therapy is a cognitive and therefore focuses on thought processes. The idea being, that people with depression can change their thought negative processes to positive ones in order to ‘cure’ themselves. Whereas drug treatments focus on the biological causes for depression such as chemical imbalances and tries to revert these via the administration of drugs.
Beck Cognitive theory of depression, which is the ideology behind CBT, has three main parts. Firstly Beck said that depressed people have an unrealistic negative outlook on their self, life experiences and future therefore resulting in depression. He called this the ‘Cognitive Triad’. For example if someone was to experience losing their job, they might blame this on themselves, believing they are a bad person and therefore that their life will never improve because they will never get another job, in turn causing a depressed state of mind. CBT focuses on the patient identifying these negative thought processes and try to change them to positive cognitions. For example realizing that it wasn’t their own fault they lost their job. The second part of Beck’s theory was based around ‘Silent assumptions’. These are unconscious assumptions which shape our conscious cognitions. These messages largely derive from the way in which we are spoken to and behaviour we witness, by those that have a large social impact on us; Such as parents, teachers and friends. Examples of silent assumptions might include “I must have others approval” or “I must do everything perfectly”. Beck said that believing these assumptions, although not unusual, can make a person vulnerable to depression and the key to recovery using CBT is identifying these thoughts as