CBT is based on the premise that negative and pessimistic ways of thinking about oneself and the world foster depression and painful feelings can be reduced by identifying those thoughts and learning to substitute more realistic and self-enhancing thoughts.
This therapeutic approach involves some very practical steps. Adolescents can be taught to monitor and write down their negative thoughts in order to evaluate their validity and make changes to reflect a more adaptive viewpoint. A therapist can also help them to learn more adaptive coping skills such as breaking down large problems into smaller, more manageable steps and decision making by cost-benefit analysis.
These are only a few examples of the many ways that cognitive behavioral therapy deals with information processing. The various cognitive exercises can be immensely valuable in restructuring the way teenagers view themselves and how they process life events.
Techniques & the therapeutic relationship
Within the behavioral domain, techniques such as activity scheduling, social skills training, and assertiveness training are used to address behavioral deficits that contribute to and maintain depression. These skills help to reverse the negative impacts of depression that deal with relational issues as well as social withdrawal.
The therapeutic relationship is also a vital factor in the treatment of depression. The relationship with a therapist can help the adolescent obtain an alternate view from the therapist that can help correct their negative self-image. The therapist should be accepting and understanding during the counseling process.
The list of behavioral interventions is too large to include here, but I will mention a few: exercise, monitoring of self-talk and journaling have been proven effective in treating teens with depression. The many options that are available give the therapist a great deal of flexibility to accommodate specific individual differences.
CBT can work quickly
A number of studies have shown that clients generally require about eight sessions to learn the skills and gain mastery of their depression through cognitive behavioral therapy. Many clients show a decrease of symptoms within 8-12 sessions. Studies comparing cognitive therapy for depression with medication specifically have indicated that cognitive therapy is as effective as medication regardless of the severity of the depression.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been studied extensively and shown to be effective. In the treatment of depression it may be wise to consider combining CBT with certain anti-depressant medications in order to bring the quickest recovery.
Depression has an extensive impact upon adolescents today and it is encouraging to learn about the effective treatment options that are improving the lives of countless young people.
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