The Nature and Treatment of Depression
Depression can take many forms, which is why it may take us a while to know that we’re struggling with it. Along with changes in mood, there are usually other symptoms, such as self-critical or self-defeating thoughts; changes in one’s sleeping patterns, energy level (including fatigue) or appetite; and difficulties with mental processes such as concentration, memory, or decision-making. You may feel helpless, worthless, and even hopeless, and may have lost interest in many, most, or even all of the activities or experiences that you once enjoyed.
Sometimes depression develops gradually, and other times it appears suddenly, but if it persists it is easy to feel trapped and defeated by it.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
Rather than a ‘one size fits all’ model for depression, the Cognitive-Behavioral treatment of the condition begins with a sensitive understanding of its varied causes and effects, which is crucial for my effectively working with people seeking relief from it. The condition is viewed as a complex of symptoms that can develop from a number of influences and circumstances both past and present, with different ones applying to different people.
You may feel over-worked or over-extended; socially isolated, mistreated or misunderstood by others; threatened by what your life seems to demand of you; troubled by messages from your childhood; or simply unable to make peace with how you view yourself. CBT can help.
WHAT TREATMENT LOOKS LIKE
When we meet, I will begin by reviewing your personal story with you and finding out how you’ve arrived at this point in your life. From there, we will move to get things un-stuck and back on track. Often learning to practice changes in how you respond to self-defeating thoughts and distressing feelings can make a big difference.
Behavioral interventions include guidance in becoming more active if you’ve withdrawn from your former activity level; doing things differently; or returning to doing what used to work for you. If troubled relationships with others or isolation from them is affecting your depression, then we can also address how to appropriately act toward or understand others, or how to re-connect with them, in ways that honor yourself. Any or all of these changes may improve your experience, but may require another person to teach them to you and to support and encourage you in undertaking them.
As an experienced therapist, I can also help you to assess what may or may not work for you and how to respond to potential setbacks on the path to improvement.
MEDICATION, OR NOT?
Although I consider it a personal choice as to whether or not a person takes medication to help address his or her depression, it can often assist someone in using psychotherapy as well, and if you are in doubt, I can help you to make a decision about it that you can live with.
Either way, CBT offers a range of interventions that offer concrete ways to change course and live life more on your own terms.
MOOD DISORDER PRESENTATIONS THAT I TREAT INCLUDE:
- Depressed mood
- Depressive episodes
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder (when additionally managed by medications)
Do you need to take action but are not sure how?
I invite you to contact me for a free phone consultation to see if CBT can help you with your depression.