People struggling to realize their potential or find inner peace often turn to psychotherapy. Yet they find themselves wandering without much guidance through a marketplace of mental-health offerings and claims, lacking the knowledge to distinguish good therapy from bad. More than 150 different psychotherapies are offered in the United States.
In this post, I present some insights concerning cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT), which has become one of the most available forms of treatment. My intention here, as well, is to show important distinctions between CBT and the depth psychology that I practice, particularly as these distinctions apply to clinical depression. This post is twice the length I usually write, and it gets a bit “technical,” so be prepared for some heavy-lifting.
Cognitive therapy, which attempts to address “distorted thinking” by replacing it with rational thinking, originated more than 50 years ago. By the 1980’s, it was merged with the techniques of behavioral therapy to become CBT. This therapy now is widely offered, perhaps in part because it’s a simple, straightforward method for psychotherapists to learn and practice. It offers, as well, a limited, controlled expenditure for insurance companies. I look upon it as the fast food of mental health.
Cognitive therapy originated out of the work of Dr. Aaron Beck, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who became convinced in the late 1950’s that depression was not being effectively treated by psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysts believed that depression was caused by anger or hostility toward the self (self-aggression). Unfortunately, these practitioners were insufficiently effective in their treatment of depression because they were addressing only the aggressive side, not the passive side, of the primary inner conflict that produces the malady. [Read more…]