Cognitive therapy, developed in the early 1960s by Aaron T. Beck, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is a short-term, problem focused treatment that is a clinically proven breakthrough for depression and anxiety.
Cognitive therapy identifies and changes negative thinking patterns. For instance, when you’re depressed, you may make negative assumptions about your world, leading to negative thoughts about yourself, your situation, and your future. The negative thoughts lead to depressed feelings, so the way you think can affect how you feel.
Since thoughts sometimes happen so quickly, you may only notice how you feel in certain situations. You can change your negative feelings by reappraising your thoughts that occur in stressful situations. For example, if you were placed in front of hundreds of people to give a talk, you may only notice that you feel nervous and not realize your thought, “I’m going to mess up and everyone’s going to laugh!” One way to feel better in this situation is to realistically change your perspective about public speaking. Cognitive therapy helps you identify your specific thoughts and assumptions about giving a speech and how others judge you.
At the Life at Your Best Plan, the therapist is actively involved in the therapy process and focuses on specific problems in the present, working with you to examine and recognize your negative thinking patterns and negative thoughts. You learn to distinguish between realistic concerns and distortions. If your concerns are realistic, you and your therapist work to solve the problems or accurately access your perception of the concern’s impact. If your thoughts are distorted, you learn how to modify your thoughts and improve your mood. Remedies focus on practical skills, including cognitive restructuring, relaxation techniques, problem solving, time management, and social skills.