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Talk therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment option for mental health disorders. While many think that therapy is simply talking to a professional about your problems, there’s actually much more to it than that. There are many treatment approaches that a mental health provider might utilize to help you manage your symptoms from disorders like depression.

The key to effective therapy for depression is figuring out techniques to help ease your symptoms. The goal is to work toward a happy and healthy future. One of the most common therapeutic approaches used to treat depression is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Read on to learn about the basics of both depression and CBT. You’ll also learn different CBT techniques used for depression.

What is depression?

Major depressive disorder, or depression, causes all-encompassing negative thoughts and feelings. The overwhelming feelings of sadness and malaise can make it difficult to complete your daily responsibilities. It can also be hard to maintain healthy connections with the people around you.

If you’re living with depression, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, about 3.8% of the entire world population has been affected by major depressive disorder, which adds up to approximately 280 million people. 

The most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Increased fatigue or insomnia.
  • Lack of interest in activities.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Trouble concentrating.

What is CBT and how does it help depression?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapy treatment approach that focuses on how our thoughts, feelings and behaviors interact with each other. For example, inaccurate and negative thoughts can lead to harmful behavior to deal with distress. The goal of CBT is to adjust how they influence one another to identify and replace negative thought and behavioral patterns.

CBT has three core principles:

  1. Psychological issues are partially based on unhelpful thinking.
  2. Psychological issues are partially based on learned unhelpful behavior.
  3. The symptoms of these issues can be alleviated with coping mechanisms.

CBT is a common approach to talk therapy used by mental health providers to help treat a variety of disorders, including depression. CBT alleviates depression symptoms by helping you adjust your patterns to reframe and reduce the negative thoughts and behaviors caused by the disorder. 

CBT can help you:

  • Identify how inaccurate thinking can impact your feelings surrounding a situation.
  • Gain problem-solving skills that you can immediately apply to your daily life.
  • Increase your confidence by understanding your sense of self.

5 CBT techniques used to treat depression

Your mental health provider may recommend a few different CBT techniques. Each helps rework your thoughts and behavior patterns to reduce depression symptoms. They will likely have you do more than one at a time to tackle the patterns from every angle.

Here are five common CBT techniques for depression:

  1. Journaling — Your therapist will likely recommend that you record your fears and negative thoughts over a period of time in a journal. By writing them down, you can identify how you perceive and respond to triggering thoughts. Your therapist will help you develop coping mechanisms for distressing situations.
  1. Cognitive restructuring — Depression can cause you to have automatic negative thought processes. A couple of examples are black-and-white thinking or catastrophizing. Cognitive restructuring helps you to break away from those thought processes to find healthier responses to triggering situations. 
  1. Self-talk — We all have an inner dialogue, but your perception may change when you say that dialogue out loud. By telling your therapist how you talk about yourself or troubling situations, you can identify your inner critic that’s contributing to your depression symptoms. Then they can help you replace those negative thoughts and damaging self-talk with compassion and positivity.
  1. Guided discovery — This technique involves your therapist asking open-ended questions. Their questioning can help you recognize your own thought patterns. Then you can challenge your negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with differing viewpoints.
  1. Positive activities — Depression can make it difficult to find joy in many things that would otherwise bring positive feelings. Small activities that relieve your distress can boost your mood. An improved mood will help your motivation to continue improving your mental health. Simple activities like getting fresh air or watching a movie can make a difference.

Active Path Mental Health can provide CBT techniques for depression

Your negative thoughts and behavior patterns play a large role in your depression. That’s why CBT techniques for depression are often recommended by your mental health provider. By adjusting these patterns, you can rework how you respond to negative thoughts and reduce your symptoms that interfere with your quality of life.

Active Path Mental Health has locations in Oregon and Washington that can help you learn how to take control of your depression with CBT.
To learn about CBT techniques for depression, contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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