Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders by Aaron Beck

The central idea of cognitive therapy is that mood disorders are caused by internal delusions or self-deceptions, and that it you can correct the delusional perception, you will correct the the disorder. Beck argues in effect that people can be talked out of their mental illnesses, and as naive as this idea sounds in the face of mental illnesses that seem intractable, cognitive therapy has proven to have the same success rate in treating mood disorders as pharmacological treatments. The way to treat depression, for instance, is to teach the patient to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk; the way to treat anxieties and phobias is to demonstrate to the patient that the source of his fear is in fact something relatively harmless. There are obviously effective and ineffective ways to go about this; it is not quite as simple as it seems, but it is a much more common sense approach than psychoanalysis and has fewer side effects than drug treatments. I want to learn more…

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