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What can therapy for depression help with?

Therapy for depression can target unrelenting sadness, negativity, and lack of motivation, as well as sleep disruption and overexcitability of the stress-response system, among many other symptoms and properties of the disorder. Therapy addresses the relentlessly negative and repetitive thought processes that are characteristic of the disorder, it diminishes reactivity to stress, and it helps people function, solve problems, and regain a sense of hope. What’s more, it takes place in the context of a relationship that by itself has therapeutic effects.

How does therapy help with depression?

Several types of short-term talk therapy have been found effective for depression, and skilled therapists employ techniques from all of them, usually in weekly sessions. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) focuses on the distorted ways of thinking that give rise to feelings of hopelessness and despair. It also helps patients try out new behavioural strategies and curb reactivity to distressing situations. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) targets the difficulty in social functioning that both gives rise to and results from depression. Behavioural Activation directly counters the avoidance patterns—loss of interest in and withdrawal from once-enjoyed activities—that typify depression. Psychodynamic therapy, a modern evolution of psychoanalysis, may be used to help patients gain insight into themselves and the situations that overwhelm them.

Who is qualified to treat depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, and most licensed therapists have both training and experience treating it. Nevertheless, because the condition affects so many aspects of a person’s life and has a wide range of severity, it is important to find a therapist who has advanced training and extensive experience. The National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists certifies CBT practitioners. Similarly, certification in IPT is available to therapists who undergo advanced coursework and clinical training.

What should you look for in a therapist who treats depression?

It is important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable, who is responsive to your questions and concerns, and with whom you feel like you can establish a rapport. Choosing a therapist who has undergone training and certification in a number of treatment modalities offers some assurance that the therapist is in command of a wide range of tools to treat the many facets of depression and can match the right one to the nature and severity of the specific difficulty. A therapist who has extensive experience treating patients with a similar array of symptoms such as yours can be very helpful.