Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Depression Aberdeen can help you take charge of your mood and develop a better life. Unfortunately, depression often comes with other issues, such as stress, anxiety and relationship difficulties. Please also see: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety Aberdeen.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you understand how your thoughts and behaviour affect how you feel. CBT then helps you apply CBT skills to change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving and develop more helpful and realistic alternatives. This paves the way to feeling better. CBT gives you an effective tool-box of techniques to improve your mood. For more information, please see: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Aberdeen.
CBT for Depression
Depression is a major problem invading the lives of many people throughout their life times. The age of onset is decreasing and more young people are experiencing periods of depression than ever before.
Whilst there are a range of common themes in clinical depression, no two people who experience episodes of depression are alike as the reasons for the depression and the meaning of what is happening or not happening in their lives is always different. Also, depression is very much intertwined with the way you live your life and your unmet needs. The appearance of depression in your life is usually a sign that things are not right and some things need to change.
In terms of the range of symptoms associated with depression, a useful mnemonic is:
D = Depressed mood.
E = Energy loss (fatigue).
P = Pleasure lost (loss of interest).
R = Retardation or agitation.
E = Eating changed. (Change in appetite and weight).
S = Sleep changed.
S = Suicidal Thoughts.
I = Impaired concentration.
O = Only me to blame (guilt/worthlessness).
N = Not functioning normally (in terms of abilities, relationships and activities).
We often talk about depression as if it is a 'thing' (a noun). In fact, depression consists of a complex range of what we feel and do. Therefore, instead of talking about 'having depression' as if it were some kind of flu, it can be more useful to change our point of view to one in which we consider how we are 'doing depression' and how it is doing us. This shift gives us more choice. For example, to consider how the lens of depression encourages us to think about our lives, circumstances and the future and also how it encourages us to behave and relate to others and the world.
Overcoming depression is quite a task involving many acts of resistance and courage such as taking little steps each day and pushing yourself to do things that depression would rather you avoided.
Many people who have experienced an episode depression have found CBT very helpful. CBT demonstrates how the way we think about things can either open up our possibilities or close them down and affect what we do and how we feel.
In the initial stages of CBT, the focus is usually on helping you become more active and achieving small day to day successes.
Between meetings, CBT very much involves you working on your depression, finding out how depression is manipulating you then beginning to introduce new ways of thinking and behaving in order to reclaim your life back from what Winston Churchill called the 'Black Dog' (ie depression).
CBT for Depression - How CBT helped Sam (Clinical Example)
Following the death of his mother with whom he had a very close relationship, Sam (not his real name) suffered a complicated grief reaction and associated low mood/depression. Subsequently, issues developed in Sam's marriage that triggered and maintained his low mood. He felt very stuck.
With help from his therapist at Possibilities, and using cognitive behaviour therapy skills, Sam identified a number of vicious cycles involving his situation, feelings, body state, thoughts and behaviours. The following is an example of one repeating vicious cycle:
Trigger: An argument with his wife about Sam's lack of activity and interest because he "always" feels too tired and "can't be bothered".
Reactions: In response to the argument, Sam experienced the following:
Feelings: rapid drop in mood and feeling very low for some time afterwards.
Thoughts: "She will leave me." "I'm worthless and unlovable." "The situation is hopeless." Plus many worries about the future.
Body state: sleep disrupted by bad memories and also images of past arguments leading to excessive tireness and poor concentration.
Behaviours: Sam deliberately limited contact and communication with his wife for fear of triggering more arguments plus he isolated himself from friends as he thought he had nothing of interest to discuss with them.
Thoughts about thoughts: "I'm just hopeless." "I don't deserve to be loved." "I've no-one to talk to now my mother is gone." Etc.
Consequences: the ongoing 'depression' greatly reduced Sam's motivation and energy levels. He remained tired and inactive which led to further arguments with his wife (who, we later discovered, actually loved him very deeply). Thus the vicious cycle and others like it, repeated regularly and kept his 'depression' alive.
To move things forward using CBT methods, Sam was encouraged to:
1. Take a step-back from the situation in order to observe what was happening from different perspectives.
2. Learn new CBT skills such as identifying other unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving and finding acceptable ways to change these.
3. Explain to his wife how the depression was interfering with their marriage and recruit her support.
4. Manage his feelings more effectively by generating more helpful ways of viewing the situation and behaving differently to undermine the depression. Etc.
All communications are treated with the highest degree of discretion and confidentiality.
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre has a wide range of services available to people from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Grampian.
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre
31 Jopp's Lane