The Cognitive Paradigm for Treatment of Depression

  • Jesse H. Wright


Clinicians have been long aware that depressed patients have strongly negative thoughts. Guilt, suicidal ideation, and hopelessness have been described in most, if not all, theoretical formulations of depression (e.g., psychoanalysis, existential therapy, behavior therapy). However, the cognitive model differs from previous approaches by emphasizing cognitive distortion as one of the most important factors involved in the etiology and maintenance of depressive disorders.1–4 Cognitive therapy, a psychotherapeutic approach based upon this theory, has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression.3–8 A series of outcome studies, the most recent of which was reported by Murphy and co-workers at this Congress, has found cognitive therapy to be at least as effective as pharmacotherapy in the treatment of depression.5–8 The purpose of this paper will be to describe the basic cognitive paradigm and its relationship to cognitive disorder in depression. Comments will also be made on the possible relevance of cognitive research to other paradigms of psychotherapy.


Depressed Patient Cognitive Therapy Cognitive Disorder Cognitive Distortion Automatic Thought 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse H. Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Louisville School of MedicineLouisvilleUSA

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