Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are types of treatment that are based firmly on research findings. These approaches aid people in achieving specific changes or goals.
Changes or goals might involve:
A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like lessening back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past.
They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life, not on personality traits.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists treat individuals, parents, children, couples, and families.
Replacing ways of living that do not work well with ways of living that work, and giving people more control over their lives, are common goals of behavior and cognitive behavior therapy.
HOW TO GET HELP:
If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet.
You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner.
It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist.
It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees.
They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association.
Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state.
You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations.
You may, of course, visit our website (www.abct.org) and click on "Find a CBT Therapist"
The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition.
These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.
Depression is a common psychological problem, experienced by many people at
some time during their lives. One member of most families has experienced an
episode of depression severe enough to require formal treatment. Depressed
mood is costly to individuals and society as a whole, both economically as well
as in terms of quality of life.
The primary feature of depression is a sad mood state, which, in its most severe
form, is experienced as a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair.
When people experience depressed mood, it is common for them also to experience
a decrease in social activities, problems with relationships, and an increase
in crying or "a desire to cry even if you cannot get the tears out" (called dry tears
There are also several cognitive features of depression that may include a loss of
concentration and memory; a belief that you are becoming worthless; a belief
that things cannot be made better, have gotten bad, and will get worse; and a
focus on negative things about yourself without enough attention on positive
things about yourself.
The biological characteristics of depression include disrupted sleep (especially
trouble falling sleep and a pattern of waking up very early in the morning), loss of
appetite, loss of sexual desire or lack of interest in sexual activity, and fatigue or
tiredness during the day. It is also important to know that depression may happen
along with increased anxiety and feelings of anger or hostility. In about 10%
of cases, depression will be followed by problems with alcohol or drugs.
Depression severe enough to require formal treatment occurs in about 6% of the
women and 3% of the men in this country. Depression can occur, although at
lower rates, among children. During adolescence, the rates gradually increase, so
that by age 14 or 15 they equal those of adults. Among the elderly, the rates
decrease slightly, but depression remains a frequent and serious problem among
this age group.
Although no definitive and final answer exists to the question of what causes
depression, much is known. Depression may be caused by major negative life
events – for example, the death of a loved one, a divorce, a severe financial setback,
or even a move to a different neighborhood or part of the country. Other
factors that may cause depression include trouble having and keeping social relationships
and trouble keeping your everyday life in line with your values in life.
Depression also may be related to faulty thinking patterns. These might
include magnifying how badly things are going for you, drawing negative conclusions
from life events even when it
doesn’t make good sense to do so, and generally having a negative view of
oneself, the world, and the future.
There are several types of biochemical imbalances that may occur in depression.
Depression may develop when a biological predisposition to depression
is activated by an event. This predisposition is activated when one experiences
a major life event (or a sequence of more minor negative life events)
and/or develops a negative cognitive pattern of evaluating oneself and one's
life events. It is believed that the biological characteristics of depression
(sleep disturbance, appetite loss, loss of sexual interest , and tiredness) are
related to this biochemical imbalance.
During the past few years, very effective treatments have been developed for
depression. The majority of people experiencing depression can expect to
experience considerable relief from depression within 3 or 4 weeks of effective
treatment, and long-lasting relief within 3 to 6 months of treatment.
Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
Behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy are among the treatments
that have been most extensively evaluated and that have been shown through
research to be effective. Behavioral treatments help a person to engage in
healthy life activities, particularly activities that are consistent with one’s life
values. Behavior therapy also helps people to develop skills and abilities to
cope with major life events and to learn social relationship skills when these
are missing. Cognitive behavior therapy includes the development of behavioral
skills, but focuses more on correcting the faulty thinking patterns of
depression. Most people experiencing depression will profit from participating
in cognitive behavioral therapy that is widely available from mental health
Some severe depressions, especially those involving severe biological
symptoms, may require antidepressant medications. Such medications are
available, and many produce quick and effective relief of depression. When
antidepressant medication is necessary, it may be combined with behavior
therapy or cognitive behavior therapy to produce effective and long-lasting
treatment results. Some people believe that depression will gradually go
away, or that if you "just get yourself in gear" you can get over it yourself.
Indeed, in some small percentage of cases that may be true. Unfortunately,
depression usually does not go away without treatment. Therefore, if you are
experiencing a severe, acute depression or a chronic lower level depression, it
is best and wise to seek and participate in therapy. Fortunately, there are
treatments available to lessen depression and the life difficulties that come
along with it.
For more information or to find a therapist:
Please feel free to photocopy or reproduce this fact sheet, noting that this fact sheet was writen and produced by ABCT. You may also link directly to our site and/or to the
from which you took this fact sheet