Psychotherapy is categorized as a form of treatment of psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders in a form of sessions conducted by a trained professional wherein he establishes a relationship with patients in order to eliminate existing symptoms and modifying their behavior and promoting emotional well-being. Psychotherapy works with a goal of enhancing personality growth. Psychotherapies work even more effectively with medications, if any. A Psychotherapist is a mental health professional like a counselor, psychologist or even a psychiatrist trained in a set of therapies used for treating psychological issues. Disorders like anxiety, depression, stress related, phobia, eating or sleep related, learning related, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) are commonly treated with psychotherapies.
Depression is a mood disorder characterised by a pervasively low/sad mood, social withdrawal and decreased sense of pleasure in activities that used to be fun before. Depression is not age specific and anyone from children to geriatric population can be a victim of this. Depression at any stage of life is tough to deal with as it hampers the day to day life of a person, negatively influencing their academic or professional performance, interpersonal relationships and degrading their self-confidence. It requires a structured psychotherapy plan for depression that includes a positively nurturing environment and ample will power along with the help of medications like mood stabilisers and antidepressants. Psychotherapy for depression aids to restore the will and self-esteem in a patient with depression so as to make him ready to help him pull himself out of his state, psychotherapy is the best source of hope. Psychotherapy for depression can be personalised and has an individualistic approach so as to cater the needs of every client. Each patient is unique and so are their needs and ways of coping. Psychotherapy allows one to heal at his own pace.
Here are a few psychotherapies for depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
As the name suggests this therapy aims at working on the cognition that is thoughts and behaviors of the patient. It helps bring about a change i the patterns of mood and thought process of the patient. The aim of the therapy is to identify the negative thought patterns and the behavioral responses of the patient to any stressful conditions. Replacing positive and healthier ways of thinking, perceiving and reacting help in developing better ways of coping with stressors. CBT involves modifying your thinking distortions and strengthens your reaction system. There is no specified number of sessions mentioned for the completion of therapy, as each individual takes his own time for recovery. CBT is a commonly used therapy and is proven to be effective enough.
Interpersonal therapy is mainly used for treating mild and moderate forms of depression. Interpersonal therapy is mainly used for the age group of children and adolescents. Dealing with interpersonal issues and working with the context of relationships with family members or peers is what this therapy signifies. The main goal of this therapy is rapid symptom reduction and need adjustments. Once the patient is able to adjust their needs, they are able to cope with the situations accordingly. The therapist works on the interaction one has while dealing with others. It includes the problems like false perception, misunderstandings, trust issues, negative approach, dependency, changed roles, etc. The therapist focuses mainly on clarification of the misconceptions and developing a healthier way of communication so as to avoid such problems. Identifying the triggers leading to depression is the core part of the therapy. It approximately requires 12-16 sessions, but one can continue for a longer term as and if needed.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
This therapy is based on CBT. Although it too deals with the behavioral part, the key difference is that it involves making the patients accept their negative thoughts and behaviors and validating themselves as the acceptance helps them improve and cope up with life situations as well as the relationships with others. These newly acquired skills help the patient to better interact and maintain the consistency within.
Also known as psychoanalysis, this therapy is widely used and proven to be very effective not only for treating depression but also different personality disorders and even anxiety. This approach deals with the depressive symptoms mainly caused by unresolved conflicts suppressed in the unconscious mind, especially from childhood. This therapy helps one to become fully aware of one’s entire spectrum of emotions and use it in a positive manner to help oneself out. The insecurities and fears one possesses which mostly are derived from the past life experiences are the reason leading to depression. Psychodynamic therapy works on building the self-awareness in a person, reducing the depressive symptoms. This therapy is long term but effective.
Choosing the right therapist and therapy
As there are different causes and contributing factors for depression to occur, similarly there is a spectrum of therapeutic interventions and mental health professionals working on the issues with respective areas of expertise. As the type and intensity of depression differs, so differs the treatment plan along with the professional.
A clinical psychologist, a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist have their own ways of treatment depending upon the severity of depression. Usually psychotherapies for depression commonly involve CBT and interpersonal therapy. A mixture is used while applying these . There can also be additional therapy and medications added while taking a psychiatrist in the loop if the symptoms are severe.
A therapist and a counsellor is always chosen on the basis of their areas of expertise, experience, feedback and most importantly on the fact whether or not he/she creates a safe space for you to open up and share.
There are different approaches to these therapies namely individualistic, group, family and couples. These approaches and other supportive psychotherapies are selected by the therapist based on the kind of issues that need to be treated and the requirements of the patients. Psychotherapies can work in customised ways and ensure emotional empowerment of the patient. Psychotherapeutic techniques are effective and are only to be administered by a trained and certified professional. Psychotherapies for depression are proven to be as good as mild antidepressants, as a way of treatment for depression.
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