Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Workshop
How Depression Affects Thinking
Dr. Aaron Beck, a prominent researcher and theorist in the field of Cognitive Therapy conceptualized what he has called the "cognitive triad" of depression (Beck et al. 1979). He found that our thoughts when we are depressed are characteristically negative, permeating and coloring our view of ourselves, our world, and our future. Examples of such negative thoughts are provided below.
"I am no good."
"No one likes me."
"I can't do anything right."
“I’ll never amount to anything.”
"There's nothing out there for me."
"People are out to get me."
"Things are just too hard."
"Things will never get better."
"I'm doomed to be miserable."
"I won't be able to accomplish anything."
“Things are hopeless.”
If you are aware of the symptoms of depression, you may recall that a few symptoms are related to thought processes. For instance, the thoughts and feelings of worthlessness or guilt brought on by depression reflect the negative sense of self illustrated above. Similarly, thoughts of hopelessness suggest a belief that the future has nothing positive to offer. Also, because depression often impairs your ability to concentrate, you may have difficulty thinking clearly and making decisions.
Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F. & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.