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CBT was first defined in the 1970s and its method is based on the concepts of cognitive theory that were originally developed to alleviate depression, but has since been tried and tested for a broad variety of psychological problems such as anxiety, compulsions, addictions, personality disorders, eating and sleeping difficulties, chronic pain, and many others.

Cognitive Cycle

Occasional depressed feelings is a natural human occurrence, especially when accompanied by hardship or precipitating negative events. However, it is when these feelings become so frequent, persistent, and severe that they interfere with normal everyday functioning, such as preventing work performance, inability to maintain social relationships, contributing to health problems and unhelpful behaviors, and erode satisfaction and well-being, that some form of intervention is required. Although medication may help to alleviate the most pressing discomfort, CBT is promoted as an effective psychological intervention—with or without supplemental medication—to bring about and sustain improved equanimity and health of mind. Medication alone is often unable to cause a lasting positive change as it does not address the negative thoughts and feelings that keep fueling depression through dysfunctional core beliefs.

Core beliefs are the result of each person’s cumulative life experiences to date, designed to help one cope with and assign meaning to events and situations. Also called personality beliefs, it can be quite persistent in influencing persons’ attitudes and views about themselves, others, and the world in general. There are positive beliefs such as that others are trustworthy and one’s own esteem is healthy and justified, but it is the negative beliefs that are often problematic by causing distress and undesirable behaviors. As indicated in the diagram, unhelpful core beliefs can cause worry and anxiety when triggered by an upsetting situation. Negative feelings, emotions, and physical symptoms are linked to negative thoughts, which often lead to unhelpful actions such as withdrawal, aggression, excessive eating, drinking, or other problems that negatively influence one’s functioning and social interactions and relationships.

Equanimity is defined in the dictionary as a state of psychological stability and composure, or evenness of the mind, which is resilient to and undisturbed by the experience of, or exposure to distress, unpleasant inner experiences, and pain.

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