Friday, February 26, 2021

Beck's Cognitive Theory of Depression

Depression is undoubtedly the most common mental health problem, especially when its milder form - dysphoria - is also included. In the United States, it is often called “The common cold of mental health.”

Beck’s theory proposes that negative, depressogenic schema, which contain dysfunctional attitudes (ie. rigid and extreme beliefs about the self and the world that are drawn from certain early experiences in life), influence how an individual interprets, encodes and retrieves information. He suggests that depressive cognitions (negative views of self, world, and future) affect psychosocial functioning.

Following a critical incident, typically a stressor or life event, early maladaptive schemas and dysfunctional assumptions are activated, which results in negative automatic thoughts and the behavioral, motivational, affective, cognitive and somatic symptoms of depression.

Beck refers to these beliefs (which encompass feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness) as the negative cognitive and assumes that they are the central feature of all types of depression.

This means that other aspects of depression, such as somatic disturbances (e.g., trouble sleeping), motivational disturbances (e.g., passivity and withdrawal), and affective disturbances (e.g., intense sadness), arise in response to these beliefs.
Beck's Cognitive Theory of Depression

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