How Can (CBT) Be Used to Treat Depression

According to the National Institute of Health, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has some of the highest success rates of any depression treatment other than medication.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Depression

One of the more paralyzing but common psychological disorders is depression. It can cripple people as completely as a physical disease. However, hope is not lost. There are numerous treatment options available that can help individuals coping with depression.

What Makes CBT Different?

When you’re struggling with depression, you might wonder about whether therapy can truly help you. This is particularly true for people who have been through multiple treatments and tried a variety of methods. However, cognitive behavioral therapy has some of the highest success rates of any depression treatment other than medication, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This comes in part because CBT is so hands on. When you go through the therapist directory and find someone to help you, it’s going to be far more than just showing up to talk about your problems. Cognitive behavioral therapists do not just prescribe you some pills and tell you to suck it up. They work with you to find the source of the depression and then to begin treating it.

In an analysis by The Discovery Channel, psychologists demonstrated the importance of CBT. In most cases, cognitive behavioral therapy involves assisting patients in redeveloping their current behaviors through positive replacement. To accomplish this, the therapist will often walk the patient through the mental processes that the patient goes through on a regular basis. The techniques are designed for both the short term and long term. Most of the time, patients are asked to write down their immediate goals. The therapist then helps the patient reach those goals and expand to new ones. Through these successes, the patient is able to play as active a role in the healing process as the therapist. Additionally, the therapist implements a variety of tools for structured sessions to teach the patient how to respond to depressive cues.

What Makes CBT Better Than Medication?

The American Academy of Family Physicians states that over 66% of all depression patients can be treated with medications. However, a growing number of patients are rejecting medications. If depression is not treated at a psychological as well as a physical level, the symptoms generally return after the patient stops taking the medication. CBT has the highest success rate for therapy. The methods can also be adapted for just about any belief or morality system, making it exceptionally flexible.

Are All Cognitive Behavioral Therapists the Same?

When you go through the therapy directory to find a cognitive behavioral therapist, you will find many different options. You need to research your therapist before you begin full sessions. You will likely be with your therapist for quite some time. Depending on the severity of your depression, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few months to a couple of years in treatment. It’s important that you find someone whom you feel comfortable with and whom you can respect. Your own cooperation is essential. CBT relies on patient interaction and discovery. The therapist is not there to do the work for you. The therapist is there to facilitate your discovery and help you develop positive behavior mechanisms instead of the negative ones that increase the depression.


National Institute of Health (2011) “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Mood Disorders: Efficacy, Moderators and Mediators” Ellen Driessen, M.Sc. and Steven D. Hollon, Ph.D. Retrieved from