Can Depression Therapy & Counseling Work For You?
Even in the most severe cases, depression is highly treatable. Depression therapy has proven to be an evidence based practice in treating depression. The condition is often cyclical, and early treatment may prevent or forestall recurrent episodes. Many studies show that the most effective treatment is therapy that addresses problematic thought patterns, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. Evidence also shows that mindfulness practice can be extremely effective in overcoming depressive thoughts and symptoms.
How Does Depression Differ From Occasional Sadness?
Everyone feels sad or “blue” on occasion. Most people grieve over upsetting life experiences such as a major illness, loss of job, a death in the family, or divorce. These feelings of grief tend to become less intense on their own as time goes on.
Depression occurs when feelings of extreme sadness or despair last for at least two weeks or longer and when they interfere with activities of daily living-such as working or even eating and sleeping. Depressed individuals tend to feel helpless and hopeless and to blame themselves for having these feelings. Some may have thought of death or suicide.
People who are depressed may become overwhelmed and exhausted and stop participating in certain everyday activities altogether. They may withdraw from family and friends.
Depression is a state in which nothing tastes, smells, or feels right and you are unable to think or make decisions–yet you still have to carry on doing all those things. And so much of the time you just don’t have the energy or the desire. But you still carry on anyway. -Depression warrior
What Causes Depression?
Changes in the body’s chemistry influence mood and thought processes, and biological factors contribute to some cases of depression. In addition, chronic and serious illness such as heart disease or cancer may be accompanied by depression. With many individuals, however, depression signals first and foremost that certain mental and emotional aspects of a person’s life are out of balance.
Significant transitions and major life stressors such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job can help bring about depression. Other more subtle factors that lead to a loss of identity or self-esteem may also contribute. The causes of depression are not always immediately apparent, so the disorder requires careful evaluation and diagnosis by a trained mental health care professional.
Sometimes the circumstances involved in depression are ones over which an individual has little or no control. At other times, however, depression occurs when people are unable to see that they actually have choices and can bring about change in their lives.
Can Depression Counseling Treat Depression Successfully?
Absolutely. Depression is highly treatable when an individual receives competent care. Licensed and highly trained mental health providers have been helping patients recover from it for many years.
There is still some stigma, or reluctance, associated with seeking help for emotional and mental problems, including depression. Unfortunately, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is that people with depression can not simply “snap out of it” and feel better spontaneously.
Persons with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen a depression. The importance of obtaining quality professional health care can not be overemphasized.
How Does Depression Therapy Help People Overcome Depression?
There are several approaches to psychotherapy-including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, psychodynamic, and other kinds of “talk therapy”-that help depressed individuals recover. Psychotherapy offers people the opportunity to identify the factors that contribute to their depression and to deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and situational causes. Skilled therapists such as licensed psychologists can work with depressed individuals to:
- pinpoint the life problems that contribute to their depression and help them understand which aspects of those problems they may be able to solve or improve. A trained therapist can help depressed patients identify options for the future and set realistic goals that enable these individuals to enhance their mental and emotional well-being. Therapists also help individuals identify how they have successfully dealt with similar feelings, if they have been depressed in the past.
- identify negative or distorted thinking patterns that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that accompany depression. For example, depressed individuals may tend to overgeneralize, that is, to think of circumstances in terms of “always” or “never.”. They may also take events personally. A trained and competent therapist can help nurture a more positive outlook on life.
- explore other learned thoughts and behaviors that create problems and contribute to depression. For example, therapists can help depressed individuals understand and improve patterns of interacting with other people that contribute to their depression.
- help people regain a sense of control and pleasure in life. Psychotherapy helps people see choices as well as gradually incorporate enjoyable, fulfilling activities back into their lives.
Having one episode of depression greatly increase the risk of having another episode. There is some evidence that ongoing psychotherapy may lessen the chance of future episodes or reduce their intensity. Through therapy, people can learn skills to avoid unnecessary suffering from later bouts of depression.
In What Other Ways Do Depression Therapists Help Clients And Their Loved Ones?
The support and involvement of family and friends can play a crucial role in helping someone who is depressed. Individuals in the “support system” can help by encouraging a depressed loved one to stick with treatment and to practice the coping techniques and problem-solving skills he or she is learning through psychotherapy.
Living with a depressed person can be very difficult and stressful on family members and friends. The pain of watching a loved one suffer from depression can bring about feelings of helplessness and loss. Family or marital therapy may be beneficial in bringing together all the individuals affected by depression and helping them learn effective ways to cope together. This type of psychotherapy can also provide a good opportunity for individuals who have never experienced depression themselves to learn more about it and to identify constructive ways of supporting a loved one who is suffering from depression.
Would you like to find out how depression therapy could work for you? Contact me today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation and take the first step toward a overcoming your depression.