According to this question: Would most people benefit from psychotherapy? most people would benefit from psychotherapy.

I'm trying to narrow that question to only the people who have experienced some psychopathology and went into a cognitive therapy.

Wikipedia explains that the differences between psychotherapy and counseling can be summarized in the following sentence:

Unlike the patient in psychotherapy, the client in counseling does not need to be cured or helped to overcome a psychological suffering, but draws on the skills of the counselor as an aid skills they already possess in order to achieve the goals you want, in the ways and in the times that are responsive.

Does the evidence support the idea that most people affected by psychopathology would strongly benefit from continuing cognitive psychotherapy / counseling after the main problems disappear?

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this question too broad? I suspect that a cognitive therapist and a Freudian would have vastly different responses to this question, they would even define "therapy" and "continuing therapy" differently. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ @sindikat: I don't have an academical background. How can I narrow the question? Is enough to add the adjective "cognitive" for making the question ok? $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ i'm not an academic either, i probably know even less than you. I just think how this can be improved, because quality answers largely depend on how question is formulated. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


No, people who have experienced some psychopathology, went into cognitive therapy and resolved their problems would most likely not benefit strongly from continuing cognitive therapy. However, they may still benefit from additional therapy in case of relapsing or future problems.

Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy is a short-term therapy that was designed to "modify an individual's idiosyncratic, maladaptive ideation" (Beck, 1970).

The basic cognitive technique consists of delineating the individual's specific misconceptions, distortions, and maladaptive assumptions, and of testing their validity and reasonableness. By loosening the grip of his perseverative, distorted ideation, the patient is enabled to formulate his experiences more realistically.

Strictly speaking, therefore, once maladaptive ideation can no longer be detected in the individual, the individual's problem is solved to the extent it can be solved, at least insofar as cognitive therapy's notion of psychopathology is concerned. This does not necessarily mean the patient is problem-free, only free of detectable problems that cognitive therapy applies to.


  • Beck, A. T. (1970). Cognitive therapy: Nature and relation to behavior therapy. Behavior therapy, 1(2), 184-200.
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I've understood... I try another example.. I went to psychoterapy for anxiety and DOC. After some years I realized I had a bit of narcyssism too.. after solving the stronger ego dystonic problems I realized I had other problems which I'm still fighting against... Maybe my question should be improved to: "how do patients understands when they would stop taking benefit from psychoterapy?" $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 15:53

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