Living Well
January 21, 2011
Anxiety: Simple Changes
February 5, 2011

Counseling for Depression

Many people try to ignore signs that they’re struggling with depression. It’s uncomfortable, often scary, to sit with yourself and look at the impact depression is having on your life.

Some are concerned that talking with a counselor will not help. Actually, talk therapy for depression is effective and supported by research.

Counseling for depression should include the following:

(1) Help you to acknowledge your true feelings instead of suppressing these feelings. People with depression tend to ignore what’s happening within them, which worsens depression. Stopping suppression patterns often causes depression to improve.

(2) Realize that depression isn’t just about brain chemistry. A depressed state often has a root cause and you need to explore life events and your response to events and/or changes in your relationships.

(3) People struggling with depression often fall into particular thinking patterns (rigid assumptions, meaningless patterns, perfectionism). Working with a counselor will help you to explore and change depressed thinking patterns.

(4) Individuals struggling with depression are often unable to define their true priorities and live life based on rules (or the desires of others). Counseling should help you to establish your priorities. Those living with depression often have low energy levels- so energy should go into what’s most important.

(5) A depressed mind is often struggling to communicate and not getting emotional needs met. With better communication, the quality of relationships improves and depression symptoms decrease.

(6) Learn how to care for your physical, emotional and social needs. Often individuals struggling with depression have not had role models on how to care for the mind and body. Many adults need to develop their personal owner’s manual for self-care. This includes learning how to enjoy yourself.

(7) Individuals struggling with depression often feel guilty about things that they have no responsibility for or can’t control. Counseling can assist with developing a healthy sense of responsibility. The focus should be on responsibility for yourself and your own actions.

(8) People who report depressive symptoms often look for answers outside of themselves. However, this is often misdirected. If you look for answers outside of you, search for true role models who can empower you.

(9) Depression can create a self-focus which shrinks the world. It’s important to reconnect with the world and get a clearer perspective.

(10) Often individuals struggling with depression are uncomfortable with intimacy. For various reasons, intimacy doesn’t feel safe. This could be because of shame or past violations of trust. The result is that people with depression will hide out and avoid human connection. Hiding-out deepens and worsens depression. Effective counseling can teach you how to feel safe around others.

(11) Learning how to create balance and practice healthy detachment. Individuals struggling with depression can be overly engaged or hypersensitive to drama. This can create overly critical patterns and a pessimistic attitude. Seeing relationships in the proper perspective can heal the sensitivity.