All About CBT for Depression, How it Works and What’s Involved

CBT for depression inner workings of the mind

CBT for Depression

CBT for Depression is highly effective for overcoming the emotional distress that you experience when you have this problem.

Depression is how we describe the feelings associated with loss and sadness and although it is a perfectly normal emotion, it can also be debilitating for some people.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960’s who recognised that people’s inner-thoughts were often more significant than the things that they said out loud during therapy sessions.

He called these inner-thoughts cognition and argued that the way that people think about their experiences links directly to the emotions that they feel.

These ideas form the central concept of CBT which states that:

The way that you think determines the way that you feel.

Therefore, your emotional experiences are the outcomes of what you think and believe rather than being caused by the things that are happening around you.

Common symptoms of depression

Common Depression Symptoms

There are a range of symptoms that might indicate that you are depressed including:

  • Persistent sadness or a low mood: Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless most of the time.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities: Losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed, such as hobbies or spending time with friends and family.
  • Changes in appetite or weight: Significant changes in appetite or weight, including weight gain or loss.
  • Sleep disturbances: Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy: Feeling tired or lacking energy, even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: Feeling worthless, helpless, or guilty, often for no apparent reason.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: Having trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Physical symptoms: Experiencing unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, or back pain.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: Having thoughts of death, dying, or suicide, or making plans or attempting suicide.

You may have some or all of these symptoms, but it is important to remember that you may feel depressed in different ways to other people because of the subjective nature of our experiences.

You can take the standard PHQ-9 Depression Test here,

Businessman with depression in park

How does CBT for Depression work?

Normally a programme of CBT for Depression takes place over a period of 10 to 20 weeks with an hour long session once per week.

CBT addresses Depression problems in three phases:

Firstly, because the way you think about your day-to-day experiences is determined by your core beliefs, the early sessions of CBT for Depression involve exploring and measuring these beliefs.

Secondly, once you are able to uncover your core beliefs, your thoughts about certain experiences will make more sense.

Thirdly, by understanding how you have made sense of your experiences in the past you can then begin to make changes to your thoughts and beliefs in order to create new, and more useful, emotional outcomes.

CBT for Depression builds upon the 5 core CBT principles developed by Aaron Beck and are used extensively in our CORE Programme.

CORE CBT for depression programme on Mac

How many sessions of CBT will I need?

Whilst this is a difficult question to be precise about, you should be able to address your Depression problems in around 10-20 sessions.

However, because CBT for Depression is always tailored to your own individual needs and circumstances, getting the outcome that you want may sometimes require more sessions.

If you have been suffering Depression problems for many years then in all likelihood, you can reasonably expect to take a bit longer to get where you want to be.

Our CBT for Depression programme is based on 12 sessions delivered over 12 weeks.

The programme uses an online learning platform to help you develop greater self-awareness and knowledge in the days between sessions.

The behaviour change framework

The Behaviour Change Framework

All of our counselling sessions and programmes for depression use the Behaviour Change Framework (BCF).

This scientifically proven protocol defines the stages of behaviour change that you need to go through in order to achieve long lasting and sustainable change.

The framework provides a roadmap that indicates if more change is required before entering the next phase of mental health therapy.

In this way, we are able to ensure that you get the best possible level of support in overcoming your mental health problems as well preventing early termination of therapy.

You can read more about the Science of Change here.

Free initial consultations for cbt for depression

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about CBT for depression or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Lucy Learns How to Thrive

Lucy Learns How to Thrive

Finding Happiness.. at last! I arrived at Lee Psychology for my initial consultation not knowing what to expect but determined that I was going to change my life. I had paid out hundreds of pounds for counselling (in the past) and expected it to change who I was as a...

read more
Severe Depression Testimonial

Severe Depression Testimonial

Severe Depression Testimonial Paul is the ultimate professional, easy to talk to and very competent. What can I say about a man and a process that not only stopped me wanting to kill myself but also made me want to live my life to the fullest? I was so desperate I...

read more

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your depression problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer cbt for depression problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.