Center for Cognitive Therapy
Mark E. Oakley, Ph. D.
Depression is one of the most common reasons that cause people to seek psychotherapy. Scientific research has shown that depression is related to inaccurate thinking and maladaptive behavior patterns. Individuals who have problems in these areas make certain unique errors in thinking that are readily identifiable. Cognitive therapy involves learning skills that allow you to see the connection between thoughts and feelings of sadness and/or depression, to appraise the accuracy of these thoughts creating sadness and/or depression, and if they are inaccurate, to make them more accurate. Therapy also involves addressing behavioral patterns that cause and maintain your depression. There are actions that you can take immediately that will begin to make you feel better.
Cognitive Therapy has proven to be extremely successful at alleviating depression. When compared to medications, Cognitive Therapy is the only therapy to consistently produce results equivalent to medications. Perhaps more important, in terms of relapse when treatment stops, Cognitive Therapy is significantly superior to medications. Individuals who complete a full course of psychotherapy typically maintain their improvements when treatment ends much more effectively then individuals who receive only medications.
Cognitive therapy has been shown to improve depression regardless of how severe or chronic the depression. Studies evaluating factors that predict improvement have demonstrated that it does not seem to matter how severe the depression is or how long they have suffered with it. Everyone seems to have the same good chance for improvement. Similar results have more recently been obtained for anxiety disorders. Within 20 sessions of individual therapy, numerous research studies have demonstrated that approximately 75% of patients experience a significant decrease in their symptoms. Furthermore, most patients maintain their improved mood two years after therapy is concluded.