You don’t have to live with depression! You can get better! There are many effective treatments for depression that are available to you when you make the decision to get help for your depression. In fact, a recent study found that who had been genetically bred to have depression, not only got better with “psychotherapy” but the changes were so lasting and profound that it actually changed the rats’ genes back to normal (i.e. it eliminated their genetic predisposition to depression!).
In this post, I will briefly go over some of the more popular treatments for depression and how you can benefit from depression help and therapy.
The choice of which treatment for depression to choose should be a collaborative decision between you and your therapist, and depends on your personality, your preferences, and the type of depression you have.
“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key. – Elizabeth Wurtzel”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy –
CBT Treatments for Depression
Cognitive Therapy for Depression
Cognitive Therapy was developed by Psychologist Aaron Beck and is based on the concept that our thoughts and self-talk helped to create our feelings and moods. By learning how to identify our self-defeating thoughts and negative self-talk, we can begin the process of changing them, which ultimately leads to feeling better about ourselves and our lives. Changing our thoughts about ourselves also helps to improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
Cognitive Therapy teaches specific techniques for how to identify, dispute, and change negative thinking, and how to improve mood and reduce depression symptoms. My initial training in graduate school was specifically in Cognitive Therapy. I have also attended lectures and workshop taught personally by Dr. Aaron Beck, and his daughter Dr. Judith Beck.
Behavior Therapy for Depression (Behavioral Activation Therapy)
Behavior Therapy first began with the work of Psychologists Skinner and Pavlov (remember Pavlov’s dog and his bell?) and is based on the principle that sometimes we have to take action and do something before we can begin feeling better. My mother-in-law Louise always taught her children to do an activity or task when they felt depressed. She would tell them “Let’s get moving and do something, and pretty soon you’ll feel better”. Very often, it works! That is the idea behind behavioral activation therapy or behavior therapy for depression.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the best of both worlds. In combines techniques from both Cognitive Therapy and Behavior Therapy to treat the symptoms of depression. Research shows it is a very effective therapy for depression.
I have been practicing CBT Therapy my entire career as a therapist. I have received training directly from Dr. Michenbaum and other prominent CBT Therapists in the field of Psychology and Counseling.
Other Types of Depression Help
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Depression
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was first developed by Psychologist Marsha Linehan to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder often suffer from both depression and anxiety. DBT Therapy has proven itself to be so effective that it is now used as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
DBT Therapy has 3 core components:
- A nurturing, supportive relationship between the therapist and the client.
- DBT teaches a specific set of Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation skills to improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression.
- DBT teaches mindfulness skills to help individuals live in the present moment and feel more inner peace and joy.
Trauma Therapy for Depression
Sometimes, depression is caused by a trauma that has not healed. This could be a childhood trauma such as abuse, a trauma in adulthood (such as war and combat stress in returning soldiers), or it can be from the trauma of a death or loss (particularly if that death was sudden or violent). In these situations, Trauma Therapy can be an important part of depression help and treatment.
Medication for Depression
In some cases (but not all), medication for depression can be a useful addition to psychotherapy and counseling. There are a variety of medications for depression available, and medication affects everyone differently. For some people, medication for depression works very well, for others it does not.
The best person to evaluate which medication for depression is most appropriate for you is a Psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health issues and has specific training in medication for depression.
Sometimes a client or patient will have seen a psychiatrist first, and then be referred to me by that psychiatrist for therapy. But more often, clients see me first for an initial evaluation, and if medication would be beneficial, I refer my client to a psychiatrist I know and trust.