Chronic depression afflicts 20 million Americans. It is often rooted in early traumatic life experiences and surfaces around the age of puberty. Left untreated, it can last a lifetime. Patients become stuck in a pattern of behavior that seems hopeless and helpless because they have come to believe that their interpersonal actions have no impact on others.

Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) helps them rediscover that impact. Patients are taught to examine a recent, stressful event in their life to identify what happened, their interpretation of what happened, their behavior, their actual outcome, their desired outcome, why they did or did not get their desired outcome and what they could add to their thinking to change their behavior and get what they wanted (their desired outcome). Patients are only encouraged to learn the method. It is up to the patient to decide if and when they want to use what they have learned.

Another helpful tool of CBASP is the interaction between patient and therapist. Rather than listening passively, the therapist interacts closely with the patient to 1) draw attention to the patient’s impact on the therapist and to 2) respond in a helpful way that contrasts with the traumatic way the patient has learned to expect from others. The patient is then asked to consider what getting such an unexpected response might mean for them outside of the session in their life with others.

This process is repeated in every session. CBASP teaches patients that their life dilemma is actually self-produced and can now either be maintained or changed by them. They are in charge. They always have been. They just know it now.

Dive into our insightful episode of “Restoration Beyond The Couch” to discover how this specialized therapy can help those struggling with chronic depression: