The common misunderstanding about depression is that it is similar to feeling down. However, it is much more than just emotions. Depression is the most common form of mood disorder which is marked by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest causing interference in daily functioning. It can disrupt careers, relationships, and daily tasks. The symptoms of depression can last for months, years and makes it difficult to carry on with life.
The symptoms of depression include :
- lack of energy,
- loss of appetite,
- feeling of worthlessness,
- Unexplained physical problems such as back pain, headaches etc.
One of the most suggested interventions for depression is a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants. However, before going to therapy, there must be zillions of questions running in your mind. Amongst them, one has to be about the best therapy for depression. Worry not!! As you go ahead reading this article, you will get an idea about the benefits of psychotherapy, best depression therapy or best depression counseling, the different types of therapy that you can opt for and a few self-care tips as well.
Psychotherapy is a general term for treating depression by talking about the condition and the related issues. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy. Generally, a mental health professional with whom you go ahead for your depression counseling, recommends the best suitable therapy for you. However, before proceeding, you can get to know the following benefits of psychotherapy in depression or how can depression counseling help you:
- Identification of negative beliefs and awareness of the behavior.
- A healthy way of coping.
- Bringing awareness about social life and facilitating social interaction.
- Developing the ability to distress tolerance and respond to stressful situations in a much more effective way.
- Goal setting, which, in a much more realistic way, might as well contribute to well being.
- Regaining a sense of satisfaction.
Types of Therapies available for Depression-
The idea of Cognitive therapy is that our thoughts direct our emotions. Thus, if we are optimistic about a situation it makes us feel good and on the contrary, if we are pessimistic about the same, the emotional response might not be a desirable one.
With depression, you get stuck in a loop of constant negative thoughts which exacerbate the mood. Cognitive therapy focuses on identifying these patterns of negative thoughts, replacing them with positive ones that contribute to the improvement of your mood. Cognitive therapy is short-term, goal-oriented. It is structured with a specific plan.
Behavioral Therapy is centered on changing the behaviors which affect emotions. The central focus is on behavioral activation. It focuses on helping patients to engage in several activities which enhances their feeling contributing to their well-being.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A combination of cognitive and behavioural therapeutic techniques for the treatment of depression and anxiety. The nexus of this approach is to address the negative patterns which are reflected in the behaviour of the person suffering from depression. CBT is goal-oriented and is structured on addressing specific concerns.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Very similar to CBT. However, the key difference of this therapy is acceptance. It is done through the practice of validation, individuals come to terms with the negative emotions, learn to cope with stress, and regulate the reaction to it. DBT sessions include mindfulness practices, individuals.
A study in 2019 showed that DBT offers a comprehensive approach that includes behavioral, cognitive and acceptance-based therapy and can teach new coping skills that may help depressed individuals when other treatment approaches haven’t been entirely effective.
Also called psychoanalytic therapy, it believes that the root cause of depression is due to unresolved conflicts often originating in childhood. The goal of this kind of approach in depression counseling is for the patient to become aware of the full range of emotions which includes the ones that are troubling in nature.
It focuses on building connections with past experiences, and seeing how these feelings are contributing to the current phase of depression. This approach can be helpful for building self-awareness and increasing emotional capacities.
Interpersonal conflict coupled with a lack of support system can lead to low mood and depression. This therapy focuses on the root cause of the issues addressing the past, present and the social roles and interpersonal interactions. To begin with, the therapist might choose one or two problem areas to focus on.
The sessions focus on examining the social relationships of the person in various aspects of life. The aim is to find out how it is contributing to your functioning and dealing with your life in an effective way. The idea is to have a clearer picture of your concern and how these strategies can be implemented in your daily life.
It must be kept in mind that there is no thumb rule of following one particular therapy. The professionals combine techniques from different forms of psychotherapy to provide the clients with the best therapy for depression.
In addition to professional treatment, a few self-care habits can also be practiced for better outcomes when it comes to depression counselling:
- Paying attention to warning signs- Your therapist will help you understand the triggers and how much it is affecting you. Discussing a plan with your therapist about the same will help you get an idea about the same.
- Learning about depression- Psychoeducation about depression will give you an insight into the condition. Awareness about how the condition can impact your life will give you empowerment and motivation in sticking to your plan.
- Sticking to the treatment plan- Therapy is long term and it takes consistency, patience. Generally, there is a tendency to discontinue therapy when there are some positive symptoms and one starts feeling good. However, one needs to be aware that there can be relapse where symptoms of depression can come back.
- Avoiding recreational drugs and alcohol- Drugs and alcohol seem to elevate your mood on a temporary basis. However, in the long run, they worsen the symptoms and there comes a resistance to the treatment. Asking for social support can be beneficial. Once you are aware that you are detecting warning signs, you can consult with the therapist.
- Taking care of self- Eating healthy, being physically active, sleeping and some habits that one can incorporate in their life.. Consider light activities like jogging, walking, gardening that you enjoy. Good sleep is essential for both your physical and mental well-being. If there is trouble in the sleep cycle, you can discuss it with your therapist.
Psychotherapy provides a safe space and is a supportive process, no matter what therapy for depression you opt for. While working with a psychotherapist, you should feel safe where you feel comfortable to open up and thus share your feelings and challenges.
If at any point you feel that the therapeutic alliance is not working for you, it can be a good idea to try a different therapist. However, it is important to let your therapist know about the challenges you are facing. This can help them take a different approach for you or they can provide you a better recommendation or referral for you.
–Antara Mal, Counseling Psychologist, BetterLYF Wellness
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