Severe depression is an extremely exhausting medical condition that makes your moods inordinately negative, more than anyone can imagine. The dark terrifying thoughts that someone suffering from severe depression may have, can ultimately take over the person and distort their view of reality.
Cognitive therapy is a type of therapy, which enables a person to learn to recognize and correct negative thinking. This type of therapy is widely useful in defusing the negative thinking of someone suffering from depression. Medical studies have found this kind of therapy ultimately works at least as well as medications, such as antidepressants. Although this mostly is true with people suffering from mild to moderate depression, it can also help with medication for those suffering with severe depression as a complementary medical treatment.
Automatic thoughts are thoughts that occur without someone’s conscious effort, such as someone thinking they are no good at anything or they are doomed to be unhappy. Thoughts such as these for a depressed person is like taking gasoline and throwing it on a fire. Although someone may be unhappy, the distortion or exaggeration that leads a person to think that they are in some way doomed to be unhappy, such as “forever” can be detrimental and terrifying.
What cognitive therapy does is help that person dissect the thoughts and learn to recognize that they are exaggerating reality. Overtime the person can hopefully stop themselves from reaching that level of negative thinking by saying to themselves, “Okay, I am unhappy at this moment but tomorrow will be another day”. They learn to use positive self reinforcement to correct the negative thinking and people find that when they reexamine the problem in a realistic way, ultimately they feel better.
Most everyone has had some level of depression in their lives. I, myself have been depressed several times during my lifetime. When I was teenager I was in counseling and my therapist used cognitive therapy on me. I remember she would discuss my issues and tell me to tell her how I saw them. I can remember her instructing me that I could see the problem and I was in charge of changing my way of thinking. I would have to do lessons such as writing down my feelings and dissecting my problems. Not to mention, where I felt they were coming from. I would have to write down what avenues I felt I could use in dealing with the problems. I basically had to disassemble the problems and look at them realistically and logically. She said I had the power to fix my own problems and she would just help me talk out my issues and provide me instruction on implementing my resolutions to my problems.
In cognitive therapy it helps having supportive counseling. Someone with depression gradually learns to change from a pessimistic person to someone that doesn’t automatically have unrealistic thoughts. Cognitive therapy helps someone with depression realize what problems are important and what are not and are just over-exaggerated. Cognitive therapy helps someone with depression have better coping skills with things such as stress, family issues and life in generally.
The self help lessons and guidance provided in cognitive therapy are life changing for anyone but to a depression sufferer it is like breath of fresh air. It enables them the ability to function normally again. They have significant mood changes for the better and there negativity thoughts are lessened drastically. Positive thinking provides them empowerment in themselves and the person suffering from depression gains a sense of being in control of their lives again.
I can honestly say I was extremely helped by this therapy when I was a teenager and over the years I have always reverted back to this method whenever I felt overwhelmed or depressed about anything.
If you are suffering from any level of depression, please contact a medical professional that can help you find the right therapy and treatment for you. If you are interested in cognitive therapy for depression or any other condition, contact a mental health provider for information.
References for this article include: Depression.about.com and Nacbt.org