Toward Lightness: Depression Therapy

How We Help You Treat Depression

depression therapy

Depression is the most common mood disorder and is probably a factor for most people who seek counselling therapy – whether their main concern is depression or not. Depression sometimes is the result of situational factors, such as external threat and stress, racism, pace of life and many other environmental factors. In some cases depression can be rooted in people’s inability to deal with existential issues, such as grief and lack of meaning, or in people experiencing a spiritual void. A wider variety of approaches to depression therapy and non-pharmacological treatments than ever before have been proven effective for treating depression. Successful therapy will involve your therapist matching the best treatment to your particular situation. It is not a one size fits all matter. Therefore, it follows that the therapists that are most successful at treating depression will have the widest repertoire of treatments and ideas. Your therapist should discuss with you some of these options and discuss with you the pros and cons of medications and medication in combination with counselling therapy. Depression therapy is customized to fit you and your life situation.
Why not use medication alone?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. There is a saying among therapists that ‘pills don’t teach skills’. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
NIMH research on depression treatment is clear, even when someone has a major depression that responds to medication, psychotherapy is a useful tool that helps people find new ways to think about their lives and approach difficulties they face.  Working with your medical doctor we can determine what’s best for you, and although in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is a good option, we always encourage all possible therapy-based approaches.  There are many people for whom depression has clear biochemical foundations, and for them, medication can be a very useful aid in getting through the acute phase of an illness. There are others who need to remain on an antidepressant for longer periods of time. But even for those whose treatment includes medication, therapy is important alongside the medication to maintain healthy lifestyle factors.
What happens in Treatment for Depression
Depression therapy absolutely needs to start with a warm, welcoming, and  accepting rapport. Nobody wants to be depressed. Nobody decides to be depressed. So, we start with compassion and understanding.

Treatment typically operates on three levels: 1) the behavioral level where we examine the situational factors; stresses at work or extended family that might be burdening a person; and also selecting new behaviors to implement that have beeen clinically proven to improve mood; 2) the emotional level where we look for sources of negative emotion, unresolved grief for example, and also selecting strategies that have been clinically proven to directly change emotional states; and 3) the cognitive level where we examine faulty, self-defeating and pessimistic automatic thought processes and change those with more adaptive, accurate and life-giving thought processes. .
Further, in our work together we will likely:

  • Use a problem solving approach to figure out what your stressors are and how to address them
  • Look at the things that work and don’t work for you in managing your mood
  • Target practical and more importantly doable steps you can use to improve your outlook on life
  • Carefully assess the coping skills you have and those you would like to develop
  • Investigate the underlying meaning of your mood as it connects to other aspects of your life

Depression certainly gets a person’s attention and should serve as an opportunity to slow down and take stock—to figure out what is going well and what might need to change in one’s life. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills.
The therapists at Russell & Associates know that research has identified that depression looks different in children than adults; and depression in men frequently looks different than depression in women.
The most important message here is that it is key to reach out for help for depression therapy from a trained therapist and reach out to your social network for support. Help is available and the sooner help is accessed the less the life impact of depression.

Reach out today and let’s work together to turn things around!


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