Cognitive therapy is a widely used
form of treatment for depression, anxiety, and many other emotional conditions
that has been found to be effective in a large number of research studies. This
type of treatment has been researched more heavily than any other form of
psychotherapy and is considered by experts to be one of the most useful
therapies available. Cognitive therapy for depression typically involves
meeting with a specially trained cognitive therapist for five to 20 sessions
and doing self-help exercises between meetings with the therapist.
Dr. Aaron Beck, one of the authors of Good Days Ahead,
originated cognitive therapy about 40 years ago. In his research, Dr. Beck
found that people with depression have dysfunctional patterns of thinking that
make them feel depressed and anxious and cause them to act in ways that
aggravate their symptoms. Some of the common problems are negatively distorted
thinking, hopelessness, helplessness, and excessive self-blame. When people
with depression start thinking this way, they become less effective in their
daily lives and have more trouble facing their difficulties.
Cognitive therapy is an action-oriented treatment that helps people learn
specific methods to identify and change dysfunctional, negative thinking and to
use effective coping strategies to solve their problems. The therapeutic
process is very collaborative. The therapist and patient work together as a
team to spot dysfunctional thinking and behavior and to rapidly reverse
troubling symptoms. Because therapy works best if cognitive therapy skills are
put into action repeatedly in daily life, self-help exercises and other
“homework” are an important part of the treatment process.
There are several good books for people who want to learn the self-help methods
of cognitive therapy, either to assist with therapy with a professional or to
use the techniques themselves. The newest and most comprehensive self-help book
is Getting Your Life Back: The Complete Guide to Recovery
from Depression by Jesse H. Wright and Monica Basco. Two
other widely read books are Feeling Good by David Burns and Mind
Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky.
Good Days Ahead brings the self-help techniques of
cognitive therapy alive in an engaging and enabling, multimedia program. The
intent of Good Days Ahead is to help people
learn the powerful methods of cognitive therapy so that they can overcome
symptoms of depression and take charge of their lives.
Here are some useful links for people who want to learn more about cognitive
The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (international certifying organization for
A major treatment center for cognitive therapy.
Self-help book on cognitive therapy and other methods of fighting depression