Statistics make it clear: the experience of depression is a very common part of the human condition. The good news is that depression treatment is successful. Psychotherapy, coupled for some people with medication, can bring back your spark.
Depression treatment is the single most common goal people bring to psychotherapy. National Institute of Mental Health statistics indicate that 15.7 million people in the US over the age of 18 had a major depression in 2013, and many more were diagnosed with a type of situational depression called an adjustment disorder with depressed mood.
Questions you may have
Why not treat with medication alone?
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, there is an old saying that ‘pills don’t teach skills.’
Depression is a signal, and treatment for depression is an opportunity to slow down and take stock—to figure out what is going well and what might benefit from change in your life. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills. In my depression treatment, I provide a warm, welcoming environment to help you open up your focus and consider new skills and what might need to change, but also to support the strengths you will bring with you to our work together.
How I work with depression:
When I treat someone for depression, I tend to do so on two levels at the same time—the behavioral and the emotional. In our work together I will help you find ways to get moving again, but I also will help you create a safe and welcoming space to talk with me about life and figure out what your mood may be telling you about your world. Perhaps stress is wearing you down at work. Perhaps you are dealing with the needs of both children and aging parents, and finding little time for yourself. Perhaps you are in a circumstance that simply needs to change, and a depressed mood is your signal that it is time to take a close look at your goals and expectations. In our work together we will likely:
- Use a problem solving approach to figure out what your stressors are and how to address them
- Address, together, the things that work and don’t work for you in managing your mood
- Identify practical and manageable steps you can use to improve your outlook on life
- Think deeply about the coping skills you have and those you would like to develop
- Consider the underlying meaning of your mood as it relates to other aspects of your life.
I have been on an antidepressant for a while. Maybe this is just how I feel?
Depression is a tricky state. It can seem like you’ve always felt that way, even when it’s only been a short-term problem. And a depressed mood can make it hard to reach out for help, even when you know it may make a difference to do so. But remember that treatment for depression is effective, and that depression responds well to a variety of active, focused interventions, particularly when they take place in the setting of a compassionate and supportive treatment relationship.
What if I need to be on medication, should I still try psychotherapy?
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. If you are being treated with medications, I will work in concert with your physician to make sure that together we provide you with excellent depression treatment.
Won’t it make me feel worse if I talk about feeling sad?
Some people worry that if they talk about their sadness it will stir things up and make them feel worse. Often when people believe this, their approach to a depressed mood is to get busy and hope it will go away. Being busy can serve as a distraction from depression, but the opportunity to address stress and sadness head on can really make a difference in how life feels.
What happens if I become overly reliant on therapy?
People sometimes worry they will end up dependent on psychotherapy, but my approach to depression treatment is to establish a warm and supportive relationship that fosters skills and independence, so that you can approach your daily life with new practical tools and insight.
Call me at 210.710.4323 to schedule a consultation if you or someone you love is depressed.