Is the Future of Cognitive Therapy Similar to Training One’s Abdominal Muscles?

The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article yesterday, titled To Be Young and Anxiety-Free, focused on the value of cognitive behavioral therapy to help children with high levels of anxiety learn how too cope better and prevent the snowball scenario, when that anxiety grows and spirals out of control resulting in depression and research showing that treating kids for anxiety when they are young may help prevent the development of more serious mental illnesses, including depression and more debilitating anxiety disorders bipap machine .”

But the use of antidepressants in children has come under fire because of recent evidence showing an increase in suicidal thoughts in kids taking the drugs. Partly as a result, many doctors and psychologists employ as a first line of treatment cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is often just as effective as medication.” – “Psychological problems result from the erroneous meanings that people attach to events, not from the events themselves.”

What is Cognitive Therapy (the most common type of cognitive behavioral therapy) and what are its cognitive and structural brain benefits? Judith Beck guides us here, explaining that “Cognitive therapy, as developed by my father Aaron Beck, is a comprehensive system of psychotherapy, based on the idea that the way people perceive their experience influences their emotional, behavioral, and physiological responses. Part of what we do is to help people solve the problems they are facing today. We also teach them cognitive and behavioral skills to modify their dysfunctional thinking and actions.”

Cerebrum, a publication by the Dana Foundation, just released an excellent article titled A Road Paved by Reason, with background on cognitive therapy: how the technique was developed and refined, its short and long-term benefits, and future trends. A few quotes:

– “In cognitive therapy, patients learn through a variety of strategies to test their faulty beliefs. They then learn to appraise themselves and their futures in a way that is realistic, unbiased and constructive.”

Various managed-care companies and mental health centers now expect their therapists to be trained in cognitive therapy. The British government has recently set up a large program for training over 6,000 mental health workers to do cognitive therapy. There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of researchers focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive therapy, or on its applications.”

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