Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Depression

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If you have been diagnosed with depression, or you have been experiencing depressive symptoms, you might be considering treatment. You may have heard of CBT, antidepressants, and other treatments. Studies show that 19.4 million Americans have had at least one depressive episode in their life.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a popular therapeutic option. CBT is for people suffering from a variety of mental health disorders.

This therapy, recognizing and reworking negative thought patterns, is particularly effective for people with depression. CBT depression patients see long-term positive change from this form of therapy.

What Is Depression?

It’s not uncommon to hear something bad or sad described as “depressing.” However, a one-time low moment is very different from the mental health disorder known as depression.

Depression is a persistently depressed mood and loss of interest in activities that impede daily life. It is caused by a variety of factors. There are biological, social, and psychological factors that can combine to cause a person to develop depression.

Depression can cause changes in your sleeping and eating patterns. It impacts your self-esteem, concentration, and energy levels.

For those coping with depression, there are a few common treatments. Many people utilize antidepressant medication or therapy with a counseling professional. Some decide on a combination of these two treatments.

Those suffering from depression must seek ongoing treatment to better cope with their condition. Depression can sometimes lead to issues such as suicidal ideation, addiction as a form of self-medication, and self-harm.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. CBT is often used to treat mental health disorders like depression. One of the foundational goals of this therapy is to understand the connections between our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Therapists help patients to understand the patterns in their cognitive processes. First, you work to understand the patterns and assumptions that they are operating under. Then you can begin to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy strives to bridge the gap between therapy and everyday life. Therapists help patients learn the skills and coping mechanisms needed to deal with their mental health disorder in their day-to-day life.

How Does CBT Help with Depression?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common form of treatment for patients with depression. Depression is often fueled by automatic negative thoughts that are constantly recurring.

In CBT, these negative thought patterns (and their effects) are identified and challenged. Once this is done, they can be replaced with different thought patterns that will better serve the patient in their daily life.

The focus of CBT is to help the patient develop coping mechanisms that can be used long after their treatment with a therapist is over.

What Techniques Are Used in CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is centered around identifying, challenging, and replacing negative thought patterns. However, there are many different ways to accomplish this.

Therapists and counselors will use a variety of different techniques for their CBT depression patients. The techniques they choose will depend on the individual patient. The treatment depends on the way that their depression symptoms have manifested.

Activity Scheduling / Rewarding

Cognitive behavioral therapy is centered around identifying, challenging, and replacing negative thought patterns. However, there are many different ways to accomplish this.

Therapists and counselors will use a variety of different techniques for their CBT depression patients. The techniques they choose will depend on the individual patient. The treatment depends on the way that their depression symptoms have manifested.


If you go on social media, wellness and self-love pages are filled with pictures and videos of beautiful journals. Journaling is something that most people can benefit from. This is especially true for people with mental health disorders like depression.

CBT counselors often ask their patients to journal to increase their self-awareness. By writing your thoughts out onto a page, you might be better able to identify which thoughts are not serving you.

Before you can challenge and replace your negative and unhealthy thought patterns, you first have to be able to identify them. Journaling is an incredibly powerful and simple way of doing this.

Journaling can also help track and monitor yourself over time. This can be a great way to find connections between your depression and other aspects of your life. For example, through self-monitoring and journaling, you may discover a connection between your physical and mental health. If you menstruate, you may find your cycle is affecting the severity of your depressive symptoms throughout the month.

Mindful Meditation

Human beings around the world have understood the power of meditation for thousands of years. We can look at Buddhist monks or Catholics using rosary beads to focus their thoughts and prayers. It is easy to see how meditation can help to focus the mind.

Part of CBT is understanding how to live without your thoughts and feelings taking over. Meditation is a fantastic tool for practicing this skill. People with depression can use mindfulness meditation to practice detaching from negative thoughts. This can give the thoughts less power when they pop up in the patient’s head.

Through meditation, you can learn to recognize a negative thought without letting it consume you. Meditation can also teach you to have more patience with yourself!

Setting Goals

Some patients have been dealing with depression for an extended amount of time. If so, they most likely have seen the effects of it on their physical health, career, relationships, and home situation.

A therapist who works with CBT depression patients will help you to develop realistic and achievable goals. These goals can relate to improving the state of your house. Or they can be about feeding and washing regularly. They can even connect to accomplishing something in your professional life.

With goal-setting, you are creating an action plan that will help you to reach a specific goal. This will, in theory, keep you on track even if you are hit with a major depressive episode.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring focuses on challenging the tone and patterns that exist within your negative self-talk. Many people who struggle with depression also deal with negative and destructive patterns of self-talk.

With cognitive restructuring, you are analyzing the specific ways that you speak to yourself daily.

By changing that conversation, you can work towards changing the way you view yourself. Everyone tells themselves a story about who they are and how the world perceives them. Your job with restructuring is to be critical of that story you tell yourself.

By rewriting the story, by reworking your negative self-talk, you can change how you see yourself. This change in your thoughts can lead to big changes in how you interact with the world!

Problem Solving

Depressive symptoms are normally made worse by the presence of stressors. With a problem-solving technique, the therapist works with you to practice dealing with stressors. The key is to do this in a way that doesn’t worsen your symptoms of depression.

In problem-solving, you will practice identifying problems. Then you will brainstorm potential solutions and evaluate those ideas. Finally, you will practice implementing the best solution for that situation.

By practicing these problem-solving skills, you will be able to see long-term effects after you have stopped therapy. Future stressors will have less of an impact on your mental health. The key is to practice and develop a system for dealing with future problems.

What Are The Benefits Of CBT With Depression Patients?

One of the biggest benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression is that it is an effective short-term treatment option. Many people see a marked improvement in their lives after ten to twenty sessions.

Another benefit of CBT is that it is effective in a remote format, as well as face-to-face. CBT’s effectiveness was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can reap the same benefits from therapy, whether you can physically meet with the therapist or not.

Some remote options are more affordable. This can help you to receive mental health treatment if it was previously not available to you.

Finally, this kind of therapy allows you to identify negative, maladaptive, and unhealthy thinking patterns. Then you can develop coping mechanisms against them.

How Effective Is CBT for Depression?

There have been many studies about the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy. Some show that CBT and antidepressants can have a comparable effect on symptoms stemming from depression.

For those with depressive episodes that are connected to bipolar disorder have seen benefits connected to cognitive behavioral therapy as well. They often experience viewer episodes, shorter episodes, and fewer instances of hospitalization.

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Right for You?

Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression is one of the most common forms of treatment. With such a variety of techniques connected to this practice, there are many different options for how your treatment can go.

The only way to tell if CBT will work for you is to meet with a counselor or therapist and discuss your treatment options.

An average cognitive behavioral therapy session will include setting goals for the session. Then you’ll begin working on the problem that has been presented, creating a plan of action, and assigning homework of some kind.

Contact Inland Empire In Murrieta To Treat Your Depression With CBT

CBT depression patients face many difficulties during their treatment. But, many have found long-lasting benefits to this treatment.

Are you looking to get started with cognitive behavioral therapy for depression? Your provider needs to be an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy. They should also have extensive experience working with patients with depression.

Are you coping with multiple mental health issues (depression and anxiety, depression and addiction, depression and PTSD, etc)? It is best to find a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor who can help you treat your unique health situation.

Interested in starting your treatment journey? Contact Inland Empire TMS in Riverside County today and take that step to create a better future for yourself.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019, July 1). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2. Healthline (2021, August 18). Managing Depression After Divorce.
3. American Psycuclogical Association (2020, September 28) The Risks of Social Isolation.
4. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2020, February 29). Treatment-Resistant Depression: Therapeutic Trends, Challenges, and Future Directions.