Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a specific psychotherapy that is used to affect emotions and perceptions in a positive manner. It involves talking about how you think and the way your thoughts, feelings and perceptions affect your behavior.
The basic premise behind the therapy is that behavior, feelings and thoughts are based on cognition. And therefore it is believed that if the process of cognition can be modified, the perceptions and feelings can be aligned.
CBT is a natural way of treating depression that does not involve medication. It can also be used in conjunction with medication in severe cases of bipolar disorders and manic episodes. But in most moderate to mild cases CBT is one of the natural remedies for depression that can successfully bypass conventional medications that are beset with dangerous side effects.
CBT is based on psychology. A psychologist evaluates the depressive symptoms on the basis of the study of human perceptions, behavior and emotions. Some of the premises that CBT works on are:
* Self evaluation is vital in a depressed individual. Negative beliefs lead to low self esteem and a sense of failure.
A depressed person thinks negatively about his/her social and other skills. Once that belief takes roots it leads to assumptions that all other negative self assessments are also real.
* Depressed individuals are prone to remember negative experiences and ignore any positivism in life experiences. This leads to negative memories and unrealistic expectations.
* We usually ‘talk’ to ourselves. Whenever we face a situation that requires solutions, we ‘talk’ to ourselves to arrive at a decision. When depressed, an individual tends to derive unreal conclusions by indulging in negative ‘self talk’.
* Another way that we react to situations is through knee-jerk responses or what is termed as reflex actions. These are, in a sense, automatic thoughts. Psychological problems arise when these automatic thoughts are contrary to realities or normal behavior.
* Strong irrational beliefs like ‘if I am intelligent I will be successful’ or ‘if I am a good person I will succeed’ or ‘bad things do not happen to good people’ are illogical and based on a mistaken belief that they are always correct.
* ‘Dooms-day’ fears and over-generalization leads to irrational and stubborn beliefs that refuse to change leading a person to depression when such beliefs are defied.
* Although pessimism does not by itself cause depression it makes a person more vulnerable to depression. Pessimistic thinking results in distortions in cognition and negative ‘self-talk’ that eventually leads to depression.
Treating depression naturally through the process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves attempts to correct cognition and behavioral drawbacks in patients. This can be done only by a trained psychologist since special skills are required. The psychologist can help in breaking down overwhelming problems into smaller parts. The therapist can also help in analyzing situations by going through thoughts and emotions that different situations bring forth.
The therapist’s attempt is to guide in a manner that will help in breaking the vicious circle of falsified thought, feelings and behavior. Once the barrier is broken, restoring self esteem and allowing proper self evaluation is the next step towards complete treatment.
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