Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
and Interpersonal Therapy (Interpersonal Psychotherapy)

16th October 2023

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IT) are two distinct approaches to psychotherapy which can be of value under different circumstances. Both are usually conducted by a psychologist or therapist. Additionally, there are three or more specific approaches to cognitive therapy, which sometimes have overlapping boundaries.

"It's all in the mind." Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to help you develop realistic and positive view yourself as opposed to negative and self-defeating. By changing your thinking you can overcome negative emotions or behaviors.

Many psychologists have an eclectic approach to psychology rather than one that is limited to one specific approach, depending on the circumstances. One would need to evaluate one's own needs, and then determine if a particular psychologist is a right "fit". One should be selective in choosing their psychologist or therapist, if that is possible. Not every psychologist or therapist will be a good match for each individual.

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Some cognitive behavioral therapists also practice hypnotism, and have an additional license in this field, and use it as a tool for assisting a client to change his or her thinking. Not many would have objection to CBT or interpersonal therapy, but some might have reservations about hypnotism. So, this would be another area where individuals would have to decide which type of therapy was best suited for them.

Unlike psychoanalysis, which can may take years of sessions to achieve desired results, some have achieved good results in cognitive behavioral therapy, in a matter of weeks and no longer needed to continue therapy, a little help to get through some rough times in life and to sort out one's thoughts. Some have had positive results with just one session of CBT therapy.

Some have said that one needs to "click" with one's therapist, there has to be a connection. If one doesn't find that connection, then it may be difficult to continue for any length of time with a therapist. Some therapists have different nuances in their approach and differing aptitudes, abilities or insights. Therefore, the skill of the therapist can be a factor in reaching one's goals for recovery.

For some who might not need or want to talk to a therapist, a coach or a (very) good tutor, in the case of children, or a mentor, can also be of much value. A coach or mentor can be used in addition to formal therapy.

Depression Psychotherapy and the Effectiveness of CBT Therapy - Facts

Psychology Today, July/Aug 2007 also recently wrote on the subject of depression and cognitive behavioural therapy, summarizing a study on CBT therapy and its positive effects on depression, demonstrating stating cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be more effective than antidepressants in both the short and long-term benefits.

The reason is that cognitive behavioral therapy works from the "top down," that is, it is getting right down to changing one's thinking, whereas, medication is working from the bottom-up, that is it is addressing symptoms, medicating symptoms, rather than helping to address any serious issues that might need to be addressed in order to recover. Medication for depression is like the proverbial Chinese "handing a man a fish." It feeds him for the day, but you haven't given him anything to be self-sufficient in the long-term. CBT therapy comes closer to teaching a man to fish, helping to change one's thinking and possibly one's habits, which leads to a more long-term solution.

An analysis of major studies on the effectiveness of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy in treating depression revealed that, in the majority of cases, cognitive therapy was as effective as medication in the treatment of major depression, some studies showing a slight advantage to cognitive therapy over medication. DeRubeis, R. (1997, May). A second group of researchers reached similar conclusions. (Cris-Cristoph, 1996).

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emphasizes the effects of thoughts on behavior along with performance-oriented focus. Two main themes in cognitive-behavioral therapy are:

1. cognitive processes influence emotion, motivation, and behavior; and
2. the use of cognitive and behavior-change technique in a pragmatic manner.

Therapy sessions are often accompanied by homework sessions and assignments. The therapist and the client work together to evaluate and adjust changes these have on thought patterns. Faulty reasoning on the part of the client is challenged in real-life experiments and the therapist guides the client to adjust his view of himself, as he realizes that his negative assumptions are faulty. One might sum it up as, a way-of-thinking readjustment.

The therapist helps to identify with them logical errors in their thinking, to challenge h validity of negative thinking. If a person feels they are totally worthless, the idea is to gain a balanced view of themselves, get away from the all-or-nothing thinking that can be crippling or which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

A cognitive behavioral therapist works with a client to develop real-life situations to help a client get over faulty thinking, in a step by step fashion. Also, a CBT therapist might help a client schedule his day to day activities, which helps him or her to have a structural framework with less "down-time," which might lead to depression.

Cognitive behavioral therapists and three approaches to cognitive behavioral therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

Additionally, interpersonal therapy, which is less directed than cognitive behavioral therapy, has been found to be effective, especially with teens, who often need just someone to talk things out with. Anyone going through depression can benefit from talking things out with a sympathetic listener, whether it be a friend, mate, minister, or professional. This can be and often is a necessary part of the healing process for child abuse or for other traumatic experiences in life.

Sometimes, social workers in the public schools, are trained in cognitive or talk therapy, and, because clinical psychologists are not always available in the public school system, social workers sometimes take on a more serious role as therapists for children who need to talk things out.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Conclusion

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an effective therapy for depression, OCD, anxieties, and some other mental health disorders. It can result in long term gains. Care should be taken in choosing one's psychologist or therapist. CBT Therapy can be as effective as drugs in both the short term, and more effective in the long-term. (Drug therapy for depression is effective in only about 45% of those who take antidepressants for depression, in the short term).

Interpersonal Therapy can be of value for some who have a need to talk out problems present or past, and especially for youths who might be suicidal or who need support. Interpersonal Therapy, or talk therapy, is not as directed as CBT therapy, but for some, it can be of some value.