Cognitive Therapy

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Marjorie E. Weishaar

Brown University School of Medicine

I. Cognitive Therapy and Mental Health

II. Principles of Cognitive Therapy

III. Cognitive Model of Depression

IV. Cognitive Risk Factors in Suicide

V. Cognitive Model of Anxiety Disorders

VI. Cognitive Model of Personality Disorders

VII. What Does Healthy Cognitive Functioning Look Like?

VIII. Some Developmental Considerations

IX. How Does Cognitive Therapy Work?

X. The Prevention of Depression

Automatic Thoughts Thoughts that are involuntary and difficult to inhibit. Cognitions Thoughts and images. Cognitive Distortions Habitual errors in logic. Cognitive Organization A model of cognitions arranged hierarchically which reflects the accessibility and stability of various types of thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions.

Cognitive Shift The change from flexible thinking, which allows reappraisal and reevaluation, to more rigid thinking characteristic of psychological distress. Cognitive Specificity Thoughts and images that are specific to diagnostic categories. For example, the cognitive themes of anxiety are danger and threat. Continuity Hypothesis Hypothesis that psychological syndromes are exaggerated and persistent forms of normal emotional responses. Schemas Cognitive structures that hold core beliefs and, when triggered, generate affect-laden thoughts and images.

COGNITIVE THERAPY is a form of psychotherapy that posits that how an individual perceives and interprets events strongly influences how that person responds emotionally and behaviorally. It combines cognitive and behavioral techniques to teach patients to challenge biased perceptions and the underlying assumptions that may cause them to distort current situations. It is best known as an effective treatment for unipolar depression. Since its establishment 30 years ago, it has been applied to a wide range of psychological problems and clinical populations. Outcome studies have demonstrated its usefulness in the treatment of depression and have suggested that cognitive therapy has some preventive effects against future depressive episodes. Current research is investigating whether cognitive therapy can prevent a first episode of depression among those at risk. In addition, cognitive therapy techniques are being used in schools to promote cooperation and self-esteem. Thus, this form of therapy can be used to promote mental health at the individual and community levels.

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