Cognitive psychotherapy

Cognitive psychotherapy is a form of therapy that attempts to understand and conceptualise a patient’s problems in accordance with a cognitive model. Therapy is based on an exploratory, collaborative relationship between the patient and therapist. The underlying principal factors of the therapy are explained to the patient, including the interrelationships between various cognitions (beliefs, conceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviour). An attempt is also made during the therapy process to identify such events from the patient’s developmental history that will assist in understanding the causes of strong emotional reactions and cognitions during current problem situations. The therapy is also influenced by the view of a learning theory that states that behaviour is guided by activating factors and consequences. Cognitive psychotherapy has divided into many branches which retain many common features: a focused therapeutic approach and goal-orientated working, the use of homework assignments, a collaborative therapeutic relationship with a shared exploratory approach, an attempt to understand the person’s experiences through investigating the inner processes of the mind and introducing the concept of alternative experiences. Cognitive psychotherapy has been shown to be an effective therapy form particularly in monopolar depression, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder as well as in childhood depression and anxiety. After a fairly short training, a general physician will be able to use cognitive and behavioural methods when treating psychiatric disorders.