About Cognitive Therapy

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 therapy.

The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (international certifying organization for cognitive therapists)

A major treatment center for cognitive therapy.

Self-help book on cognitive therapy and other methods of fighting depression