Aaron Beck, the father of Cognitive Therapy, practised as a psychoanalyst for many years, but wasn’t finding enough success with his patients. He later developed Cognitive Therapy for depression. This was the first cognitive treatment and was the start of the ‘CBT revolution’. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has been shown to be effective in many studies with depression. It seems to be effective alone or combined with antidepressant medication. It is not an either or choice. Sometimes medication works well, at other times not, or the person does not like the side effects of taking medication and they look for a psychological solution.
It is advisable for people with depression to see their GP first, because of the importance of antidepressant medication, and for the psychologist and GP to be informed of each other’s approach.
Depression is not just feeling blue or down but has a number of recognisable symptoms; loss of interest in daily activities and socialising; sitting for ages doing nothing; poor sleep; loss of appetite; loss of interest in sex; poor concentration; thoughts of harming oneself; hopeless feelings about the future; and feeling worthless and guilty.
Although the future may feel hopeless, that is usually a temporary feeling which can shift as the person comes out of depression. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can have a big impact on depression and by giving the person the skills to cope, help prevent future recurrence. A course of therapy is between 8-15 sessions. As well as using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques in the sessions together I also try to help the person understand the emotional roots of their depression, so they acquire a better understanding of their emotional life.