Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Feel better

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.
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Years Experience

What is Cognitive Therapy?

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.

Cognitive therapy has Cost Benefits

As Jane Brody notes in The New York Times on August 26, 1996, cognitive therapy has cost benefits. In most cases, it is a short-term treatment that can have long-term results. Brody writes that “Typically, less than three months of weekly sessions can achieve therapeutic benefits that may take years to accomplish through traditional talk therapy.” Brody also writes that “studies have shown that the results of cognitive therapy are long-lasting, with relapse rates far lower than with other modes of treatment, including psychiatric drugs.” Furthermore, “independent studies have shown that cognitive therapy is as effective as medication and traditional psychotherapy in helping patients with depression, anxiety disorder (including panic attacks) and bulimia.”

A recent special issue of Time magazine focused on “How your mind can heal your body” reports that cognitive therapy is “remarkably effective; research shows that when it comes to treating depression, cognitive therapy works as well as drugs like Prozac. And thought it’s not quite as quick as antidepressants, the results last longer after treatment stops. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, used together, cognitive therapy and antidepressants can help 85% of patients suffering from chronic major depression.” (January 20th, 2003).

In the largest survey ever on mental health care, Consumer Reports recommends cognitive therapy for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders (November 1995). The authors report that cognitive therapy provides relief to almost all panic sufferers and phobia cases. Further, therapy for mental health problems can have a substantial positive effect, with the vast majority of respondents reporting that therapy helped their situation by enhancing personal growth, helping them become more confident, have more self-esteem, understand themselves better, and enjoy life more.
Your Longevity and Health are at Play

The latest research overwhelmingly supports the value of maintaining a healthy mental state, the staple of cognitive behavioral therapy. As reported by the University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter (February 2004), people who live in a state of optimism live an average 7.5 years longer than those who do not—a huge gap, even more than lowering blood cholesterol levels. The study, conducted over 23 years, controlled for race, gender, state of health, morale, and loneliness. Researchers theorize that an optimistic perspective has a positive impact on the immune system. Cognitive therapy helps you confront the threat to optimism—negativity and pessimism, and shows you the tools needed to replace the negativity with a healthy perspective.

Options for Therapy

• Individual sessions are available through office visits, telephone sessions, and online interactive videoconferencing (webcam).
• Group therapy offers a lower cost opportunity to learn cognitive behavioral techniques, and gain insight from other group members.