WHAT IS THE COGNITIVE THERAPY IN MENTAL HEALTH?
Cognitive Therapy is an active, directive, time-limited, structured approach used to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders (for example,depression, anxiety, pain problems, phobias, etc.).It is based on an underlying theoretical rationale that an individual’s affect (moods, emotions) and behaviour are largely determined by the way in which he construes the world; that is, how a person thinks determines how he feels and reacts (Beck, 1967, 1976). His thoughts (cognition) are verbal or pictorial mental events in hisstream of consciousness. These cognition are based on attitudes or assumptions (schema) developed from early experience.For example, if a person is concerned about whether or not he is competent and adequate, he may be operating on the schema,“
Unless I do everything perfectly, I’m a failure.” Consequently, he may think about a situation in terms of adequacy even when the situation is unrelated to whether or not he is personally competent.The symptoms of a disorder are related to the content of the patient’sthinking. For example, people who develop depression have schemas concerned with self-deprecation; those developing anxiety states have schemas concerned with the
anticipationof personal harm; paranoid patients are controlled by thinking patterns relevant tounjustified abuse orpersecution.
Cognitive Therapy techniques are designed to identify, reality-test, and correct maladaptive, distorted cognition and the dysfunctional beliefs (schemas) underlying these cognition. The patient learns to master problems and situations that he previously considered insuperable byreevaluating and correcting his thinking.The cognitive therapist teaches thepatient to think more realistically and adaptively, thus reducing symptoms.
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