Psychotherapy for Depression

If you have depression or think you have it, psychotherapy is one way to get help. This treatment is called talk therapy, because you talk with a trained mental health professional. The therapist helps you figure out what’s causing your depression and how you can feel better.

Types of Psychotherapy

There are several types of psychotherapy, but they all have the same goal -- to understand the causes of your depression, help you feel more in control, and teach you ways to handle how the condition makes you feel. The idea is to track your moods and practice new ways to react to people and things that happen.

  • Individual therapy involves just you and a therapist.
  • Group therapy is with two or more other patients. It can be helpful to see that others have problems like yours.
  • Couples therapy helps your spouse or partner understand your depression. They learn how their words or actions can help.
  • Family therapy helps loved ones learn how depression affects you and how they can support you.

Therapists have different ways of helping. This is known as their “approach.” A therapist may use a mix of these different methods.

  • Interpersonal therapy helps people change their behavior with family and friends. It helps you communicate better and improve your self-esteem. It usually lasts for 3 or 4 months.
  • Psychodynamic therapy looks at problems that may have started in childhood. It can take a few months, or even years.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand and change incorrect beliefs and negative feelings. Exercises you do at home can help you become more aware of your thoughts and make positive changes.

Write down your goals for therapy and talk about them with your therapist. As time passes, look at the list to see if you’re making progress. After a few visits, your therapist should be able to tell you how long your therapy could take.

You can also treat depression with medicine, such as antidepressants. Some people do better with therapy, while others do better with medication. Some use both to treat depression. Talk with your therapist about which approach is best for you.

You Can Feel Better

Try to get the most out of your therapy. Keep your appointments. Practice the exercises your therapist gives you. Treatment helps, and without it, you might get worse.

To find a therapist, ask family members and friends you trust. Talk with your doctor. Read about therapists online. Or call a community mental health center. Remember, you don’t have to deal with depression on your own. Help is out there.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on September 21, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Psychological Association: “Understanding Depression and Effective Treatment," “Understanding psychotherapy and how it works.

Cleveland Clinic: “Psychotherapy for Depression.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: “Psychotherapy: How It Works and How it Can Help.

American Psychiatric Association, “Treating Depressions -- Psychotherapy or Medication?”
 

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