Counseling to Treat Depression

Reviewed May 15, 2017

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Summary

The most common types of therapy to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

There are many helpful treatments for depression. One of the key things that add to care that works is getting professional help right away. An added benefit of quickly seeking help is that it can also avoid it happening again and again. There is no need to feel badly. There are proven methods to help it.

Types of therapy

The most widely used methods to treat depression are medications and counseling.

Counseling (formerly known as “talk therapy”) does not rely on medications. Just as there are many types of medications, there are several kinds of counseling. The three most widely used to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and psychodynamic therapy.

A licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed clinical counselor has specialized training in one of these methods. Many psychiatrists also still practice counseling. A primary care doctor can guide a person to the proper counselor who specializes in one of these therapies.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

The idea behind CBT is that depression stems from harmful thoughts. These bad thoughts then lead to feelings of sadness. CBT helps people with depression change or cut back on their harmful thoughts. The theory in CBT is that feelings or thoughts are what lead to your actions and moods. If thoughts are changed, then a person’s mood and actions will change.

Often people with depression view what is occurring in their life from a harmful or unrealistic way. A cognitive-behavioral therapist helps restructure such views and social relationships with others in a more positive and realistic way. CBT may seem like taking a course in that one learns new, more helpful ways to handle problems in life. The therapist offers specific things to do to change the thoughts that lead to the unhappy feelings. CBT can help people with depression point out things that may be contributing to their bad mood and then aid in changing the resulting actions that may be making the depression worse.

Signs of depression start to lessen in 10 to 20 weeks if visits are done once a week. This can vary from person to person.

Interpersonal therapy

IPT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping a person look at and better learn from past and present relationships that may have caused the depression or may be making it worse. The therapist is less directive during the sessions. He may ask more questions to help the person with depression come to her own understanding of what has happened to cause the feelings. This understanding can help to curb the unhappy feelings.

An interpersonal therapist does not offer specific tools or make recommendations as to things to do differently in one’s life. As a rule, IPT is longer term. It can be nine months to a year or longer. Some therapists like to have visits more than once a week.

The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that for mild to moderate depression, counseling may be the best choice for treatment. But, for major depression or for some people, counseling may not be enough. Some research has shown that combining antidepressant drugs with counseling is the most useful way to remedy serious depression.

Psychodynamic therapy

This is a more in-depth exploration of a person’s emotional life, attempting to find meaningful connections between painful events in the past. These events can be losses, trauma, or the development of negative self-talk leading to depression. It’s originally based on the pioneering work of Freud, and has been further developed and refined by generations of practitioners.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: March J, Silva S, Petrycki S, Curry J, Wells K, Fairbank J, Burns B, Domino M, McNulty S, Vitiello B, Severe J. Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) team. Fluoxetine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and their combination for adolescents with depression: Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004; 292(7):807–820; Reynolds CF III, Dew MA, Pollock BG, Mulsant BH, Frank E, Miller MD, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Butters MA, Stack JA, Schlernitzauer MA, Whyte EM, Gildengers A, Karp J, Lenze E, Szanto K, Bensasi S, Kupfer DJ. Maintenance treatment of major depression in old age. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006 Mar 16; 354(11):1130–1138; National Institute of Mental Health.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

Summary

The most common types of therapy to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

There are many helpful treatments for depression. One of the key things that add to care that works is getting professional help right away. An added benefit of quickly seeking help is that it can also avoid it happening again and again. There is no need to feel badly. There are proven methods to help it.

Types of therapy

The most widely used methods to treat depression are medications and counseling.

Counseling (formerly known as “talk therapy”) does not rely on medications. Just as there are many types of medications, there are several kinds of counseling. The three most widely used to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and psychodynamic therapy.

A licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed clinical counselor has specialized training in one of these methods. Many psychiatrists also still practice counseling. A primary care doctor can guide a person to the proper counselor who specializes in one of these therapies.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

The idea behind CBT is that depression stems from harmful thoughts. These bad thoughts then lead to feelings of sadness. CBT helps people with depression change or cut back on their harmful thoughts. The theory in CBT is that feelings or thoughts are what lead to your actions and moods. If thoughts are changed, then a person’s mood and actions will change.

Often people with depression view what is occurring in their life from a harmful or unrealistic way. A cognitive-behavioral therapist helps restructure such views and social relationships with others in a more positive and realistic way. CBT may seem like taking a course in that one learns new, more helpful ways to handle problems in life. The therapist offers specific things to do to change the thoughts that lead to the unhappy feelings. CBT can help people with depression point out things that may be contributing to their bad mood and then aid in changing the resulting actions that may be making the depression worse.

Signs of depression start to lessen in 10 to 20 weeks if visits are done once a week. This can vary from person to person.

Interpersonal therapy

IPT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping a person look at and better learn from past and present relationships that may have caused the depression or may be making it worse. The therapist is less directive during the sessions. He may ask more questions to help the person with depression come to her own understanding of what has happened to cause the feelings. This understanding can help to curb the unhappy feelings.

An interpersonal therapist does not offer specific tools or make recommendations as to things to do differently in one’s life. As a rule, IPT is longer term. It can be nine months to a year or longer. Some therapists like to have visits more than once a week.

The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that for mild to moderate depression, counseling may be the best choice for treatment. But, for major depression or for some people, counseling may not be enough. Some research has shown that combining antidepressant drugs with counseling is the most useful way to remedy serious depression.

Psychodynamic therapy

This is a more in-depth exploration of a person’s emotional life, attempting to find meaningful connections between painful events in the past. These events can be losses, trauma, or the development of negative self-talk leading to depression. It’s originally based on the pioneering work of Freud, and has been further developed and refined by generations of practitioners.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: March J, Silva S, Petrycki S, Curry J, Wells K, Fairbank J, Burns B, Domino M, McNulty S, Vitiello B, Severe J. Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) team. Fluoxetine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and their combination for adolescents with depression: Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004; 292(7):807–820; Reynolds CF III, Dew MA, Pollock BG, Mulsant BH, Frank E, Miller MD, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Butters MA, Stack JA, Schlernitzauer MA, Whyte EM, Gildengers A, Karp J, Lenze E, Szanto K, Bensasi S, Kupfer DJ. Maintenance treatment of major depression in old age. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006 Mar 16; 354(11):1130–1138; National Institute of Mental Health.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

Summary

The most common types of therapy to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

There are many helpful treatments for depression. One of the key things that add to care that works is getting professional help right away. An added benefit of quickly seeking help is that it can also avoid it happening again and again. There is no need to feel badly. There are proven methods to help it.

Types of therapy

The most widely used methods to treat depression are medications and counseling.

Counseling (formerly known as “talk therapy”) does not rely on medications. Just as there are many types of medications, there are several kinds of counseling. The three most widely used to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and psychodynamic therapy.

A licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed clinical counselor has specialized training in one of these methods. Many psychiatrists also still practice counseling. A primary care doctor can guide a person to the proper counselor who specializes in one of these therapies.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

The idea behind CBT is that depression stems from harmful thoughts. These bad thoughts then lead to feelings of sadness. CBT helps people with depression change or cut back on their harmful thoughts. The theory in CBT is that feelings or thoughts are what lead to your actions and moods. If thoughts are changed, then a person’s mood and actions will change.

Often people with depression view what is occurring in their life from a harmful or unrealistic way. A cognitive-behavioral therapist helps restructure such views and social relationships with others in a more positive and realistic way. CBT may seem like taking a course in that one learns new, more helpful ways to handle problems in life. The therapist offers specific things to do to change the thoughts that lead to the unhappy feelings. CBT can help people with depression point out things that may be contributing to their bad mood and then aid in changing the resulting actions that may be making the depression worse.

Signs of depression start to lessen in 10 to 20 weeks if visits are done once a week. This can vary from person to person.

Interpersonal therapy

IPT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping a person look at and better learn from past and present relationships that may have caused the depression or may be making it worse. The therapist is less directive during the sessions. He may ask more questions to help the person with depression come to her own understanding of what has happened to cause the feelings. This understanding can help to curb the unhappy feelings.

An interpersonal therapist does not offer specific tools or make recommendations as to things to do differently in one’s life. As a rule, IPT is longer term. It can be nine months to a year or longer. Some therapists like to have visits more than once a week.

The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that for mild to moderate depression, counseling may be the best choice for treatment. But, for major depression or for some people, counseling may not be enough. Some research has shown that combining antidepressant drugs with counseling is the most useful way to remedy serious depression.

Psychodynamic therapy

This is a more in-depth exploration of a person’s emotional life, attempting to find meaningful connections between painful events in the past. These events can be losses, trauma, or the development of negative self-talk leading to depression. It’s originally based on the pioneering work of Freud, and has been further developed and refined by generations of practitioners.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: March J, Silva S, Petrycki S, Curry J, Wells K, Fairbank J, Burns B, Domino M, McNulty S, Vitiello B, Severe J. Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) team. Fluoxetine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and their combination for adolescents with depression: Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004; 292(7):807–820; Reynolds CF III, Dew MA, Pollock BG, Mulsant BH, Frank E, Miller MD, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Butters MA, Stack JA, Schlernitzauer MA, Whyte EM, Gildengers A, Karp J, Lenze E, Szanto K, Bensasi S, Kupfer DJ. Maintenance treatment of major depression in old age. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006 Mar 16; 354(11):1130–1138; National Institute of Mental Health.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

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