Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - What To Expect

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Depression

A brief overview of what you might expect from cognitive behavioral therapy in curing depression.

In the fight against depression, cognitive behavioral therapy can be an incredibly useful tool, it can help establish underlying problems and completely change the way you think about things. This might sound like a radical thing, but it has helped so many people over the years deal with their depression (myself included) and reorganize their mind into something more manageable.

The unknown is scary, and knowing that someone will be analyzing you can be very scary too, particularly as you have no idea what to expect. But cognitive behavioral therapy is a very common way of dealing with depression and is nothing to be afraid of, but knowing a little bit about what to expect can make you feel a little bit more comfortable about the whole thing.

Forget What you Know About Therapy

The best thing you can do is forget everything you think you know about cognitive behavioral therapy, I thought for sure I would be in a very plush room and with a man in a very sharp suit who I would refer to as "Doctor" but that couldn't have been further from the truth. In reality I was in a small, brightly lit side room (which if I am honest could have done with a clean) and my therapist had jeans and a shirt on and told me to call him "Dave"

The point is, it won't be as formal as you think it will be, therapists need to establish a bond of trust and this is very unlikely to happen if they are too formal and create distance between themselves and the patient.

Answer their Questions

You can expect a lot of questions from cognitive behavioral therapy, these questions can range from clinical to what seems like incredibly personal but they need answering truthfully. Your therapist can't help you unless you answer them honestly, don't hold back or try to play things down, they need to know all of the details.


Cognitive behavioral therapy is about changing the way you think, it is basically rewiring your brain to be a little bit less self destructive, so you can expect to have everything you do and think questioned. The therapist is not doing this to be judgmental, they are trying to understand how your mind works and get you to realize that this kind of thinking is neither healthy, nor helpful.

Therapy and Homework

You can expect some homework, no essays or anything, just some recapping of the things you have been over and trying to incorporate them into your every day life.

Therapy doesn't stop outside of the office, the cognitive behavioral therapist can recognize a negative thought pattern, but they are trying to teach you how to. They won't always be around to help, so they are trying to get you to help yourself.

The Basic Expectations

Every experience of cognitive behavioral therapy is different and I can only tell you what happened when I had it because every therapist is also different, but there are certain things that you should always expect from a therapist, no matter what, they should always:

  • Be professional
  • They should always adhere to strict ethical and professional guidelines.
  • Practice confidentiality. Everything you tell them will be confidential unless they feel you are an immediate danger to yourself or others.
  • Show Respect

If you do not wish to discuss something, no therapist can force you, it is in your interests to discuss everything, but if you say no then they need to respect this.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not for everyone, but it helps millions of people every day to deal with issues that are complicating their lives.


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