Now that we’ve learned about CBT for Depression treatment, let’s see what it is like to go through treatment!

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Let’s view the Treatment Process Up Close

What Will Treatment Be Like?

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Depression, a trained therapist will help you learn new thinking skills to clear up the dark and foggy lenses that are part of depression. Your therapist will also help you figure out and do more activities that make you feel good about yourself and about life.

At the start of treatment, you’ll create treatment goals that are specific to you. Then, you and your therapist will work together as a team to help you achieve your goals. Throughout treatment, your therapist will ask you for feedback to make sure things are headed in the right direction. Treatment lasts about 10-16 sessions, though you can start with just a few sessions to try it out.

Treatment Up Close: Alex’s Journey

Click on this video to see how CBT for Depression treatment turned out for Alex.

Treatment Success: Tina's Story

Read about what treatment looked like for Tina by clicking on the pages of this e-book. Tina's story is based on the experiences of Veterans with depression that have decided to give CBT treatment a try. See if you can identify specific goals and treatment steps in Tina's story!


Tina is a 32-year-old Veteran who started having strong feelings of sadness and guilt after coming home from deployment. Her feelings became worse after her husband filed for divorce. Tina has little energy to get out of bed most days and recently lost her job. Her primary care doc recommended she see a therapist who could help her with her depression and goals for her life. Tina wasn’t sure therapy could help, but decided to least meet at least once with a therapist to get an idea of her options.

Session 1

Tina's therapist told her about different treatments for depression, including “talk therapies" and medication. Tina liked that one treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression, helped many Veterans with similar problems and that it was CBT backed by research and was pretty brief. She also liked the idea that CBT would help her develop skills for how she thought about herself. Tina only saw the bad in herself and her life.

Sessions 2-5

In looking at her life, Tina and her therapist saw that she didn’t do much other than lay around the house. Tina learned this was part of why she felt so down and empty. So, Tina and her therapist worked to figure out activities she would enjoy. Together, they discovered things Tina hadn’t thought of like listening to music, playing with her dog in the park, and starting simple hobbies like photography and craft work. Tina also started to reach out to old friends and family she lost contact with.

Sessions 6-8

Tina noticed that doing pleasant activities started to improve her mood and make her feel more confident. She increased pleasant activities from 2 to 5 per week. She also said that relaxation exercises she learned lowered her stress level from about 9 out of 10 to about 3 out of 10 most days.

Sessions 9-12

Tina spent the next few weeks practicing how to catch and change negative thoughts in different situations in life. She used tools her therapist gave her to help her change these thoughts. Being more aware and in control of her thinking helped Tina feel better about herself and to be in more control of her emotions.

Session 12

After 12 weeks, Tina's mood was much improved, and so was her confidence. She began a new job and reconnected with a few family members and friends she hadn’t talked to in a while. Although she sometimes second-guessed herself in her new job, she was much less hard on herself. She no longer strongly believed she is a failure!

Booster Session

Two months after CBT treatment ended, Tina said that, while some things were still tough, she felt better about herself and more confident to handle things that come up. She was also happy to report that she had started a new romantic relationship with a man she met in a music club she joined!

Next, let’s explore possible goals you may have for CBT for Depression treatment. Or, you can learn about another proven treatment for depression – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

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