Cognitive therapy

For treatment of depressions, anxiety disorders and the obsessive-compulsive condition (OCD – obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions), cognitive behavior therapy is regarded as an evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment method. Today it is scientifically well documented that cognitive behavior therapy supplemented by medication (SSRI compounds) is the most effective form of treatment for these disorders.

Cognitive behavior therapy is characterized by a treatment focused on the person’s immediate problems and coping strategies for these problems. The primary focus in this type of treatment is on cognitive (intellectual) aberrations, automatically negative thoughts and problem-creating rules of conduct plus undesirable behavior that perpetuates the symptoms. This enables a focused work with the psychological factors that apply to the way in which certain situations are interpreted.

In anxiety disorders, it is typically an incorrect estimation of potential danger that is the root of the anxiety symptoms. The behavioral part of the treatment involves exposure training with response prevention, in which the patient is exposed to the situations that are feared without the possibility of employing the usual, undesirable response strategies (e.g. avoidance behavior, flight, assurance-seeking behavior, compulsive actions). In this way, it becomes possible to learn new and more appropriate strategies to cope with the anxiety-producing or disturbing situations.

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