Fostering Cognitive Change in Cognitive Therapy of Depression: An Investigation of Therapeutic Strategies

  • Suzannah J. Stone
  • Daniel R. StrunkEmail author
Original Article


There is little evidence regarding which therapist strategies promote cognitive change in cognitive therapy (CT) of depression. Drawing from a sample of CT patients, we selected two consecutive sessions for which patients reported markedly different amounts of cognitive change (CC; i.e., a low and high cognitive change session). We then investigated whether four observer-rated psychotherapy process variables differentiated high and low CC sessions. Our analyses focused on 62 patients with large session-to-session differences in self-reported CC. Results from single predictor models showed the therapeutic alliance and therapists’ use of cognitive methods predicted high versus low CC session type. In a model including multiple predictors, only cognitive methods remained significant. These findings are consistent with the view that cognitive methods promote CC in CT.


Cognitive change Cognitive therapy Depression Psychotherapy process 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Suzannah J. Stone and Daniel R. Strunk declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA

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