Can Counseling and Psychotherapy Help You Overcome Depression?
If you’re suffering from chronic or severe depression, you may feel that you’ll never be able to overcome depression and escape the shadow of sadness that’s been hanging over you.
Fortunately, numerous treatment options exist to help people who are struggling with depression, including prescription medications, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle changes.
However, the most effective depression treatment may be one that many people don’t consider at first … professional counseling and psychotherapy.
The Benefits of Counseling and Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Depression
For some people, making simple lifestyle changes – such as exercising regularly, eating right, getting enough sleep, spending more time with family and friends, and practicing stress reduction techniques – is all that’s required in order to start reversing the effects of depression.
Unfortunately, most people with clinical depression need to do more than just make simple lifestyle changes in order to start feeling better. They often need medication, psychotherapy, or some combination of the two.
While the majority of men and women with depression turn to prescription medications, professional counseling and psychotherapy have proven to be equally effective at helping people overcome depression. Taking medication treats the symptoms rather than working to uncover the root cause of the depression. Moreover, counseling and psychotherapy don’t come with the unwanted side effects or lifetime commitment to popping pills that medications often require.
Even if you need some type of antidepressant to help manage the symptoms of your depression, counseling and psychotherapy can still play an important role in your long-term recovery by helping you:
- Reduce anxiety and stress in your personal and professional life
- Resolve any relationship issues that may be contributing to your depression
- Recognize the triggers for your depression
- Develop techniques to reduce the symptoms of your depression
- Understand the underlying causes of your depression
- Reframe the thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs that have led to your depression in order to prevent your depression from returning in the future
- Cope with the side effects of any medications you’re taking
What Types of Counseling and Psychotherapy Can Help Overcome Depression?
Counseling and psychotherapy don’t represent one form of depression treatment, but rather an entire array of methods and techniques. Some of the most common and effective at treating depression are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Cognitive behavioral therapy is a brief form of treatment that focuses on helping people change the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. CBT can help you challenge your preconceptions and change the way you react to situations in order to cope with the symptoms of depression and prevent its recurrence.
- Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic psychotherapy shares much in common with Freudian psychoanalysis. When used in the treatment of depression, psychodynamic therapies tend to focus on helping people work through the unconscious forces that lie at the root of depression. It is similar to other styles of therapy in that it involves talking through feelings, searching for answers, coping with depression’s symptoms, and preventing it from returning.
- Humanistic/Existential Therapy – Humanistic/existential therapy describes a variety of theories and techniques that focus on the healing power of the therapeutic relationship that is created between a client and therapist. Most therapists working from humanistic/existential perspectives have unique ways of working with clients’ strengths to help clients reduce depression and create positive, meaningful change in their lives. This includes the transpersonal and spiritual counseling services I provide.
- Individual Counseling – Individual counseling involves one-on-one sessions with a professional counselor or psychotherapist who has experience treating clinical depression. Individual counseling can help you learn more about your depression, understand the triggers that bring on your depression or make it worse, and develop coping skills and tools to manage the symptoms of depression as well as keep it from recurring.
- Family Counseling – Depression doesn’t just affect the lives of the people who have it … If you’re suffering from depression, your family is suffering from it as well. Family therapy offers an opportunity for you and your family members to discuss how depression has impacted your lives and relationships, learn more about depression, develop healthy lifestyle choices, and help your recovery.
- Group Counseling – Group counseling provides you the chance to meet other people in similar situations. Group counseling can provide you an opportunity to share your frustrations, victories, and effective coping strategies with others. The give-and-take between individuals at different stages in the depression recovery process that is provided by group therapy can help you learn the best ways to cope with and overcome your depression, increase your social network, and restore your self-esteem.
It is important to note that none of these counseling and therapy methods or techniques is mutually exclusive. For example, a psychodynamic therapist may employ CBT techniques to help you overcome specific symptoms of your depression. Likewise, you may attend individual counseling with one therapist, while simultaneously attending a depression support group on a regular basis.
Is Depression Counseling or Therapy Right for You?
Change is rarely easy … And creating positive, lasting change in your life requires time, commitment, and a good deal of hard work.
However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort necessary, counseling and psychotherapy can help you resolve depression’s symptoms just as effectively as medication and has the added benefit of uncovering the root causes and addressing them. Not only will your symptoms ease but counseling and therapy can help you gain the insight and give you the support necessary to change the negative thoughts and behavior patterns that lead to depression so you can prevent it from returning and move forward in life with confidence and optimism.
If you have any questions about this article, or if I may be of any other assistance, please feel free to contact me at (949) 310-2311 with any questions you may have or to schedule a free, initial phone consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.