Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Take a positive step for your health and find a good therapist to work with.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a talk-therapy. It’s based on the concept that your perception of a situation has more of an effect on you than the situation itself. Techniques include teaching acceptance, compassion, mindfulness, and positive thinking.

My experience

In my late 20’s I realized that I was stuck in a cycle of bad relationships and that it was my own fault. I also realized that I didn’t know how to change what I was doing. I needed help. 

Fortunately, I found a therapist who practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She helped me break my bad relationship cycle within a few months, but I continued seeing her for several years. I worked on identifying and changing my thoughts and actions that were harmful. I learned how have better control of my brain, and my happiness.

In 2013, I moved from Southern California to Maine. That’s when my seasonal depression really kicked in. With the tools of CBT, I’ve been able to have compassion for myself. I used to be ashamed of feeling depressed and fatigued in the winter. I’ve changed my focus to learning as much as I can about seasonal mood changes so that I can keep myself healthy.

Research

Research on CBT for seasonal depression has found it to be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you become self-sufficient in managing your mood long-term.

CBT teaches you to change the way you think about situations. Over time, changing your thinking can actually alter how your brain works. The science behind this is neuroplasticity. Thoughts create pathways in your brain. Thinking a certain type of thought again and again, like traveling over the same path, makes it easier to travel down the path. You could even create a new path. Over time, paths can become roads, and roads can become highways. We want positive thoughts to travel on highways in our brain. CBT can help make that happen.

Find a therapist

One of the most sage pieces of advice I can give in terms of CBT is to find a therapist who you feel you can work with. I’ve been to a handful of therapists, but I only followed through with one of them. It can be tough to find someone to work with, and you may have to make appointments with several different people before you find the right fit. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!  

Ready to take the first step? Take a minute now and find a therapist near you.

For other ways to fight seasonal affective disorder, check out my posts on nutrition and light therapy.

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