- A recent study examined the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on the professional outcomes of patients with depression.
- The results show that CBT helps participants find jobs and improve job performance.
Depression can permeate all aspects of life, and will greatly affect job performance or the ability to achieve employment. Therefore, depression is one of the main causes of disability worldwide.
Individuals struggling with depression can use counseling options, but can you measure their effectiveness?A study recently published in the journal Cognitive behavioral therapy The impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on the professional outcomes of patients with depression was studied.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most studied therapies. It is usually used as a short-term and effective treatment method for the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and phobias.
Recently, CBT has become increasingly popular as a treatment with specific, tangible goals that can be measured relatively easily. More and more people are turning to this type of treatment as an affordable treatment for various maladaptive behaviors.
Dr. Daniel Strunk
The most important skill we try to help people acquire in CBT is to recognize their ideas and take a step back and re-evaluate them.
—Daniel Strunk, PhD
People who accept CBT usually seek to identify and change destructive thinking patterns through various strategies, such as mental distraction or journaling.
How CBT works
The goal of this type of treatment is to change the automatic negative thought responses that cause personal psychological distress. Then these ideas will be replaced by more realistic and objective ideas.
“The most important skill we try to help people acquire in CBT is to recognize their ideas and step back and re-evaluate them,” said lead study author Dr. Daniel Strunk.
Because thoughts and emotions have a great impact on individual behavior, CBT aims to teach a person that although they cannot control everything that happens around them, they can control their own interpretations and reactions. This helps individuals develop useful coping skills.
Efficacy of CBT
As a CBT therapist, Jolie Weingeroff, co-founder and director of PVD Psychological Associates, found that this method is effective for patients struggling with attendance. It is another way of describing an individual’s lack of attention or inability to complete tasks at work. Attendance may appear as the result of injury, illness, or mental state.
“Usually, what we do to avoid negative emotions is exactly the behavior we seek to solve, such as drug abuse or interpersonal problems, or related to employment, procrastination, tardiness, inattention, [and] Time management issues,” Weingeroff said.
The study investigated the employment status, attendance rate, depressive symptoms, cognitive style, and CBT skills of 126 participants who participated in a 16-week CBT course for depression. Participants are divided into two groups: those who seek to improve their employment status and those who continue to be employed during treatment. Participants are evaluated before and after treatment.
For patients seeking to improve their employment status, the researchers found significant improvement from before treatment to after treatment. 41% of patients achieved this goal and obtained new positions. For patients who have been employed and want to improve performance, attendance rates have dropped significantly during treatment.
Dr. Mary Gay
CBT improves concentration and efficiency in the workplace by helping to get rid of the negative mentality that plagues people with depression.
— Mary Gay, PhD
These findings suggest that patients can improve their career outcomes with the help of CBT, partly because of changes in negative cognitive styles.
But for people who suffer from depression and are struggling to find a job, the solution is not just to reduce symptoms, but to build a strong psychological foundation with the help of CBT. Strunk pointed out that negative self-perceptions are a key feature of depression, and it can also exacerbate the pressure of finding a job.
“When you are looking for a job, many people have to face rejection repeatedly, and continue to insist in the face of rejection,” he said. “Therefore, if you treat each rejection as a manifestation of your potential as an employee or your value to society, then it will become more difficult to persevere.”
Similarly, treating depression can treat the underlying cause of poor job performance.
“As a cause of attendance, depression is not a widely accepted cause of work inefficiency,” said Dr. Mary Gay, who specializes in helping professionals overcome addiction and developmental trauma. “CBT improves attention and efficiency in the workplace by helping to get rid of the negative mentality that plagues people with depression.”
It is important to note that depression is not always the only factor in terms of attendance. Weingeroff cites an example where someone has difficulty in courting others or overcommitting themselves because it is difficult for them to refuse. These behaviors will almost certainly lead to burnout, which leads to poor job performance.
“Once we identify the mindset that leads to attendance and persistence, we can work hard to address the fear of failure, perfectionism, pleasing others, imposter syndrome, and other fears that basically keep people from getting rid of themselves,” she says.
Work through it
Although this study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, these findings may be more relevant today. As a result of the pandemic, millions of jobs have been lost, and countless others have spent this time as basic workers or working from home. For many people with a history of depression, this tremendous stress only exacerbates the symptoms.
Dr. Julie Wingrove
We can work to resolve the fear of failure, perfectionism, pleasing others, imposter syndrome, and other fears that essentially keep people from getting rid of their own ways.
— Dr. Julie Wengrove
Strunk said: “The more people are faced with this uncontrollable pressure source and full of uncertainty, the easier it is for them to fall into overly negative views. And it’s hard not to succumb to this.”
For this reason, if you are trying to get through this time, you must find a healthy way to cope.
Cognitive restructuring is the main focus of CBT, but there are other coping skills that can have the same impact. Cultivating mindfulness and self-care practices, developing time management and interpersonal skills, and performing exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing can reduce anxiety and help you better protect yourself from external stress.
Whether you are looking for a job or trying to keep up with the daily work of working from home, CBT and its series of coping skills have been shown to be effective in managing stress and depression.
What this means to you
Whether it is work-related or not, if you experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, you can get professional help. However, if treatment is not a viable option for economic or other reasons, implementing one or more CBT coping strategies in daily life may be alleviated.
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