The objectives of cognitive therapy for depression

The first goal is to reduce depressive symptomatology by breaking the vicious circle described above. The patient is taught to understand the nature and impact of negative automatic thoughts, to identify them, and to question and test their validity. Attention then turns to cognitive predisposing factors (beliefs, assumptions) in order to reduce vulnerability and decrease the frequency (or at least the intensity) of future episodes. The aim is not to teach realistic thinking per se. Rather, cognitive-behavioural skills are a means to an end: resolution of the patient's problems (of which depression is one).

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