Treating Anxiety and Depression with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression and cannot manage your symptoms on your own, cognitive behavioral therapy may be the best option for you. Working with a trained professional therapist in San Diego is vital to the process.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is commonly used to help manage a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, chronic pain, addiction and even low self-esteem. With CBT, the ultimate goal is to re-frame your negative thoughts, and find evidence that supports and debunks the thought. This allows you to establish a more realistic way of thinking.

How Negative Thought Patterns Affect You

Every person experiences negative thoughts from time to time, but those who are dealing with an anxiety disorder or depression tend to have these thoughts more often than others who aren’t dealing with these conditions. These thoughts are referred to as cognitive distortions; they convince your mind that something isn’t really true. Some of the most common cognitive distortions include but are not limited to:

  • Polarized thinking: The “all or nothing” way of thinking. You have to be perfect, or you’re a failure. There is absolutely no middle ground. You may believe that bad things always happen to you, or that others never listen to you.
  • Catastrophic thinking: As you may have guessed, catastrophic thinking is always assuming the worst. You expect disastrous results – no matter what.
  • Overgeneralization: With this cognitive distortion, a general conclusion is made based on just one single incident or one piece of evidence. If something bad happens, you expect it to continue happening over and over again.
  • Emotional Reasoning: Because you feel it, it must be true. If you feel that you are stupid, then you assume that you must be stupid.

As you can see, cognitive distortions can have a profound effect on your day-to-day life. They allow you to view the world in a negative light. You expect the worst possible outcome in every single situation and believe that there is no way out.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

As its name suggests, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on your thoughts and your response to those thoughts, or your behavior. The notion behind CBT is that your thoughts affect how you feel (both physically and emotionally) and how you behave in that particular situation.

During your CBT sessions, your therapist or counselor will teach you how to reframe your automatic negative thoughts. You may not necessarily replace that thought with a positive one, but you will replace it with a realistic thought. Let’s take a look at an example to make the concept clear:

Automatic Negative Thought: “I’m going to fail my math exam.”

This thought may cause you to feel fearful, nervous, anxious or scared. Now, your job is to take a moment to find evidence that supports your thought and evidence that debunks your thought.

After unveiling Duo at its I/O conference in May, Google has finally launched its free cross-platform video calling app on Android and iOS today. FaceTime for PC The human race is known to be greedy and wanting everything that the other person has.

Supporting Evidence:

  • I haven’t studied enough
  • I’m too tired to study for the exam tomorrow
  • Math is a difficult subject for me

Debunking Evidence

  • I’ve never failed an exam
  • I once passed an exam after getting no sleep whatsoever
  • I have taken other challenging courses and passed them all

After weighing both the supporting and debunking evidence, you can re-frame your automatic thought into a realistic thought. For example, “I may feel like I’m unprepared for the exam, but I have never failed an exam and have passed other difficult courses.”

Because cognitive behavioral therapy requires a great deal of effort on your part, you will only get what you give. If you are dedicated and determined to overcome your anxiety or depression, CBT can give you the tools you need to start living the life you want.

Jan Rakoff has been helping people in her practice for over 20 years.  Call her at 858-481-0425 for a free 15 min telephone consultation!


Comments are closed.