Cognitive Therapy

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Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Therapy is based on three principles:

  1. Moods, feeling, and depression are created and maintained by our thoughts and thinking; you feel the way you think!

  2. When depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity. Negativity characterizes depression.

  3. Negative thoughts and negativity are almost always (when in a depressed mood) irrational, distorted, "plain wrong."

Using Cognitive Therapy to lessen depression

Lessening depression, the initial step in Cognitive Therapy, is started by recognizing negative and disturbing thoughts. Cognitive Therapy tells us to:

  1. Write down the negative thought(s) under what are called "automatic thoughts."

  2. Next, show why this thought is illogical by determining the type of cognitive distortion (listed below) this thought represents.

  3. Now substitute a more rational thought in place of the negative, illogical, distorted thought.

Remaining major principles

The remaining major principles supporting Cognitive Therapy concern our personal value systems, attitudes, and beliefs. How we feel about approval, love, achievement, perfectionism, entitlement, omnipotence, communication, and anger in turn affects our perceptions of our world.

List of cognitive distortions

[This list is based on Feeling Good; The New Mood Therapy, by David Burns, MD, 1980.]

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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