Psychotherapy for Depression
There are several types of psychological treatments that are effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy—and similar methods—provide some of the most powerful means of treating mental illness, especially depressive disorders. One of the most advantageous aspects of psychological approaches is that they can be used alone or in combination with other therapies, such as complementary and alternative medicine.
Psychological treatments can help change your thinking patterns and improve coping skills so you’re better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and conflicts. What’s more, they provide continued support during recovery from depression. Psychological therapies help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behavior, establishing self-care regimens and improving personal relationships.
Psychological treatment has traditionally meant psychotherapy, an on-going, face-to-face relationship between a patient and a trained mental health professional. However, since the mid-1970s, cultural shifts, new technologies and a reshaped health care delivery system have resulted in the emergence of new types and formats of psychological assistance.
Nontraditional psychological treatments include wilderness retreats, self-help groups, internet offerings, and e-mail, as well as other more unconventional approaches. All have been shown to have a role in alleviating and managing depression.
Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for depression because it can help you delve into possible underlying reasons for your depression. Psychotherapy is often called “talk therapy” because it historically involved an individual and a psychotherapist sitting in a room talking, but it is much more than that. Psychotherapists have training in a variety of techniques that are used to help people to recover from mental illness, resolve personal issues, and create desired changes in their lives.
Although the terms counseling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling. Counseling focuses on specific issues and is designed to help a person address a particular problem, such as alcoholism or work stress. The focus is on problem solving and improving coping skills. Counseling is also generally more short-term than psychotherapy.
In comparison to counseling, psychotherapy focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle of psychotherapy is that a person’s patterns of thinking and behavior affect the way they interact with the world and how they feel about themselves. Depending on the type of psychotherapy being used, the goal is to help the person to become better equipped to manage stresses, understand patterns of behavior that may impede reaching personal goals, have more satisfying relationships, and better regulate thinking and emotional responses to stressful situations. If someone has a psychiatric disorder such as depression, psychotherapy also addresses ways in which the illnesses impacts their daily life, focuses on how to manage symptoms and follow medical recommendations.
When psychology first emerged as a science separate from biology and philosophy, the debate over how to describe and explain the human mind and behavior began. There are numerous different schools of psychology that represent the major theories within psychology.
In the past, psychotherapists often identified themselves exclusively with one single school of thought. Today, most psychotherapists have an eclectic outlook on psychology. They often draw on ideas and theories from different schools rather than holding to a single perspective. Instead, they tend to take a more eclectic approach, drawing upon many different perspectives and theoretical backgrounds.
There are many different types of psychotherapy that can be effective in treating depression. In actuality, there are around 180 approaches to psychotherapy. Because this book is about complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for depression, the focus will be on approaches to therapy that are in alignment with CAM. One school of psychology with a particularly strong association with CAM is transpersonal psychology. This is because many CAM therapies integrate mind, body and spirit as well as facilitate exceptional human experiences; chief concerns of transpersonal psychology.
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About This Excerpt
The above excerpt is reprinted from Dr. Randi Fredricks’ book Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Depression. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Dr. Randi Fredricks as articles often present the published results of the research of other professionals. Copyright © 2020.