Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is my personal favorite type of therapy. Im posting this because its a great way to understand people and even work on yourself if you need to. 



(this is the best way i can explain it). When it comes to depression, people face 3 problematic thoughts according to Aaron Beck: 1) Their situation is fixed “My life will ALWAYS be miserable” 2) They are at fault “I cause all the negativity in my life” 3) The world is out to get them “Everyone hates me” 



CBT aims to fix these thoughts. Ill use death as an example. Someone dies and you become depressed “its my fault” “everyone will die”. You start by asking them questions like “is it Really your fault?” and ask them to rationalize the whole situation (think of the Socratic method, know what they will say before the client says it) They’ll eventually come to the conclusion “i wasnt there and couldnt have prevented what happened” and so on. The whole “everyone will die” part can be easily remedied if a person finds some kind of meaning. Usually this is where religion or community support helps. The client needs to find some reason whether it be “they’re in heaven now, and ill see them soon” or “that person lead a good life and helped many people”. An example ive heard and worked (a parahprase):


-(Client)”I didnt want so and so to die”

(therapist) “Would it have been better if you had died first”

-“Yea, they wouldnt have been dead”

” But wouldnt they be feeling the pain and suffering you are going through now”

-“Yes, they would”

“Isnt it better that you bear and deal with this pain, so that [the dead person] wouldnt have to”



Ive also seen this technique used in a divorce setting by Beck himself (What i can remember along with alot of ad lib):


-(Client) “I always end up in these situations with men, they never love me, and i loved them. Im worthless and everyone hates me”

(therapist) ” So none of these men ever loved you?” <– (lets client know that the therapist is actually listening)

-“Yes, i give them everything. And they dont give me nothing”

“Can you give me an example?” (asking for elaborations also is a part of active listening)

-“I bought my ex-husband [something expensive]”

“Based on what you said, i feel you believe love is based on giving gifts” (dont say ‘you believe’ say ‘i feel you believe’- its less acusatory)

-“No.” “No, its based on giving a part of yourself”

“And your ex husband never gave a part of himself?”

-“No, never”

“So he never stayed at work late to pay for bills or helped with the children”

-“The problem was he was always at work and ever gave attention to the children” 

“This gives me reason to believe that your husband did love you, and he wanted to provide for his children. Although, he could have probably figured out a way to provide for the children and be there physically, it did not mean he didnt love you. You said you feel worthless. How do you define worth”

-” I am worthless! Everyone hates me”

“So if people like you, then you have worth. But can we agree that nobody can please everyone and you are bound to make some enemies?”

– “yes.”

“Tell me who do you think hates you?”

– “Well theres my ex-husband, mark and His Mom and Dad.”

“Ok is there anyone else?”

-“That’s it”

” You named three people and you cant name anyone else. So not everyone hates you”


Now if i were to carry on this session I would try to get the client to focus on some positive aspects such as “Who in her life loves her and what is something good she did this week for someone else (to prove worth). I would also ask her how her and her ex-husband may not have been compatible (i actually think beck said something along the lines of “There are 6 billion people in this world, what are the chances that your high school sweetheart is your soulmate”)


(DISCLAIMER) Im not a licensed therapist and if you are having serious issues (specifically a harm to yourself or others) you might want to seek advice from a professional. Although CBT is my favorite therapy there are many other forms of effective therapy and sometimes therapy is not enough. This article was mainly to help those who have rough patches in thinking and/or are just interested in this kind of stuff.


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