Many studies have found that talk therapy, or psychotherapy, can help treat depression. Talk therapy can help you learn about your depression and help you find ways to manage your symptoms.
“Talk therapy can give you the skills to help handle your depression, so for many people it’s a very empowering experience,” says Larry Christensen, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. “This makes it effective over a long period of time.”
Researchers are becoming increasingly aware that depression runs in families
-- sometimes across multiple generations. If Lynne Boschee were to draw her
family tree of depression, for instance, it would branch across three
generations to include her father and her brother and his two teen-aged
children. On one limb would be Boschee herself, who had postpartum depression.
Her 4-year-old son, Jack, doesn’t have the illness, but she worries that his
excessive fears and panic attacks spell an anxiety...
If you have mild to moderate depression, talk therapy might be all you need to feel better. But if you have more severe depression, you might benefit from medication in addition to talk therapy. Here are some tips for getting started.
What Type of Talk Therapy Is Best for Depression?
There are many different kinds of talk therapy. The two most commonly used for depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy. CBT focuses on looking at how negative thought patterns may be affecting your mood. The therapist helps you learn how to make positive changes in your thoughts and behaviors. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how you relate to others and helps you make positive changes in your personal relationships. Both types of therapy can be effective in treating depression.
What Kind of Therapist Should I See for Depression?
Various kinds of mental health specialists offer talk therapy:
Psychiatrists. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who treats mental illnesses. While some psychiatrists only see patients to prescribe medication, others also provide talk therapy. In most states, psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication.
Psychologists. A psychologist can help you learn how to manage your depression and teach you ways to cope.
Social workers, counselors, or therapists. These mental health professionals can also help you learn to manage depression and teach you coping skills.
No matter what type of therapist you see, look for someone you feel comfortable talking to. “Your comfort level with the therapist is much more important than what kind of degree that person has,” says Eric Endlich, PhD, a Boston-based clinical psychologist. “Therapy is generally much more successful if you like your therapist and have a good relationship with that person.”
How to Find a Therapist
If you need help finding a therapist, try these suggestions:
Ask family and friends. Chances are some of your family or friends have seen a therapist. Ask those you trust for a recommendation. If a therapist you contact can’t see you, ask if she can recommend another therapist.
Ask your doctor. Your doctor likely has referrals to mental health specialists in your area.
Ask your clergy person. Most clergy members will be able to provide you with referrals for mental health providers.
Check with your employee assistance program (EAP). If you work for a large company, your EAP may be able to provide a referral.
Check with your insurance company. If you have insurance, your insurance company likely has a list of therapists in their network.