By Ellen McGrath, published on February 1, 2002 - last reviewed on August 20, 2012
Depression can be understood in part as a disorder of connection; as a result, the fastest way out of it is through improving your skills of connection with others. One of the most helpful elements in recovery is the quality of the relationship with the therapy professional and how consistent and trustworthy the connection remains between client and therapist.
The patient-therapist relationship becomes a crucible of wellness for many reasons, but the most important may be because it is a kind of living laboratory of all relationships. In addition, the exchange of support acts as a catalyst, hastening recovery and fostering hope. How do you mobilize this most important resource for recovery?
If there is any answer to these questions that gives you serious pause, then trust your instincts; too much is at stake.
Little change may be the sign of a bad match. However, bear in mind that staying put and resolving conflicts instead of moving on is often the most valuable therapeutic work you can do.
The patient-therapist relationship is generally representative of the nature of all other relationships you have, and so learning to resolve problems while maintaining connection provides skills that are widely applicable. To experience conflict with a therapist and learn to resolve it is often the path out of depression.
Learning how to connect despite difficulties is healing. Human beings wither when they are not connected with others. When you learn the skills of connecting you create the safety for exploring vulnerabilities.
A lack of significant progress by 12-14 weeks could also signal that your problem has been misdiagnosed. Or you may have another problem, perhaps an anxiety disorder, complicating the depression and its resolution. There is also the possibility that the psychotherapy will be most beneficial in tandem with a course of antidepressant medication.
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