Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder Theory
Cognitive behavioral therapy for major depressive disorder theory is a treatment approach which attempts to alter an individual’s beliefs and thought processes. When combined with antidepressants, this combination has proven successful in treating severe or chronic depression when other methods have failed.
CBT for major depressive disorder utilizes cognitive restructuring and behavioral activation techniques to alter a patient’s thinking and behavior patterns that contribute to symptoms of depression. The aim is to increase patients’ capacity for managing life challenges while improving their overall quality of life.
CBT works on the principle that thoughts precede feelings, and it can be replaced with healthier, positive ones to reduce their impact on a person’s self-esteem, moods and behavior.
Therapists may ask clients to record their thoughts and beliefs on a ‘thought challenge’ worksheet. Here, they’ll write down what occurs in their mind, when it occurs and how it makes them feel. The therapist then challenges any inaccurate or unhelpful thoughts that arise.
In addition to recognizing and challenging problematic automatic thoughts, therapists will assist their client in restructuring their core beliefs – which can be the most challenging to alter. This is done through case formulation or case conceptualization – creating a model of the problem while educating them on why their current thinking might be keeping them stuck in certain patterns.
This helps the therapist increase learning, efficiency and generalizability of therapeutic work. It also assists them in determining which areas of therapy are likely to be most helpful, and which might be less important or more problematic.
Case formulation can be a complex process requiring patience and diligence from the therapist; sometimes it’s even difficult for patients to come up with their own theories. A therapist’s role is to support and assist the patient throughout this endeavor, offering guidance when necessary.
Belief modification is another key component of CBT for major depressive disorder theory and it involves challenging a patient’s false or maladaptive beliefs. To do this, patients can be asked to provide evidence supporting their beliefs while also contrasting it with opposing evidence.
Therapists must challenge a patient’s negative thinking by asking questions and encouraging them to look at their beliefs from different angles. This could include inquiring about an event in their life which may have shaped their beliefs, as well as sharing any doubts they have about those same thoughts.
The therapist can assist the patient in keeping a positive data log, which is an ongoing record of all things positive they feel about themselves or others. This positive data log can then be compared with any ‘negative data log’ to determine which beliefs are supported or not by reality.