Cognitive therapy key to tackling depression

December 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research from The University of Western Ontario shows why people suffering from depression may have a far greater hope of finding lasting relief by receiving cognitive therapy, rather than simply taking antidepressants. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals treated with cognitive therapy have approximately half of the relapse rate of those treated with medication alone. Research published by Western’s David Dozois provides clues as to why this might be the case. Dozois found that cognitive therapy actually reorganizes and changes the way thoughts are processed.

Dozois’ findings are being released in the , published by the American Psychological Association. Dozois is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Western. He is cross-appointed with the Department of at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and he is also a practicing clinical psychologist.

Dozois explains that the way in which we perceive ourselves and characterize our interactions with others is usually based on core beliefs that have been ingrained since childhood. For example, we may believe, “I am a good and likeable person,” or “I am useless and no one will ever care for me,” or perhaps, “As long as I am approved and accepted by everyone, then I am valuable.”

People receiving cognitive therapy learn skills that allow them to dig deeper into understanding thinking patterns that directly lead to their distorted perception of themselves, and furthermore, identifying how that distorted perception was established.

Dozois says, “Cognitive therapy is unique in that it reorganizes how information is stored in our representations of self, and how it is accessed. Reorganization through cognitive therapy allows individuals to make logical judgments on self-worth and relationships, and form appropriate emotional responses.

“We can carry distorted core belief systems through our lives,” says Dozois, “and the vulnerability they cause may not really surface until something big triggers it, such as a significant failure or loss. Then can hit very hard.

“Anti-depressants help, and the depression may lift, but our research shows that cognitive therapy actually makes changes that go far deeper and give people tools to change thinking. This means the chance of falling into another depression in the future may be far less. In other words, anti-depressants are effective at suppressing symptoms, but it is cognitive therapy that offers curative benefits.”

Provided by University of Western Ontario

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Is big-city living eroding our nice instinct?

October 23, 2018
A new study by University of Miami psychology researchers of anonymous interactions suggests that humans switch off their automatic inclination to share in dealings with strangers.

Brain training app helps reduce OCD symptoms, study finds

October 23, 2018
A 'brain training' app developed at the University of Cambridge could help people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) manage their symptoms, which may typically include excessive handwashing and contamination ...

Closing the gender gap in competitiveness with a psychological trick

October 23, 2018
Women are still disadvantaged in society, particularly professionally. They are frequently paid less than men and find it more difficult to have a successful career. One reason for this may be the fact that women are observed ...

When you are unhappy in a relationship, why do you stay? The answer may surprise you

October 22, 2018
Why do people stay in unsatisfying romantic relationships? A new study suggests it may be because they view leaving as bad for their partner.

First impressions count, new speech research confirms

October 22, 2018
Human beings make similar judgements of the trustworthiness and dominance of an unfamiliar speaker after hearing just a single word, new research shows, suggesting the old saying that 'first impressions count' might well ...

Suicide risk in abused teen girls linked to mother-daughter conflict

October 18, 2018
Teenage girls who were maltreated as children are more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts if the relationship with their mother is poor and the degree of conflict between the two of them high.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.