Can Counseling Help With Depression?
Depression is a severe mental health disorder. Depression, left untreated, can affect all areas of a person’s life, both physical and mental, making it impossible to live a healthy, enriched life.
The way depression affects how someone thinks feels, and interacts with people will determine the quality of a person’s daily life. It can cause feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and a loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable. Depression can affect anyone, and it can happen at any age, but more often, it often begins in adulthood.
Great news! Depression is treatable as you can read here, made manageable by the proper treatment applied in a careful and bespoke manner. Quoting NICE’s (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), 80% to 90% of people respond well to treatment. One of the reasons depression sufferers respond so well to treatment is the improvements found through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both treatments.
A sufferer can solve the problem by finding the right psychotherapist or counseling service to help the individual identify and work through the underlying causes of depression. Counseling will help develop coping strategies to deal with the symptoms and work through the different methods available to aid recovery.
Types of Depression
There are several types of depression or depressive disorders including, major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder. More specific conditions include bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), psychotic depression, postpartum depression or postnatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and situational depression.
Every sufferer is different. It is possible to have several types of depression, one kind of depression brought on by another depressive disorder all happening simultaneously, making treatment difficult but not impossible.
Treating Depression Effectively
Depression is often treated with antidepressant medication, therapy/counseling, or a combination of both and can only be prescribed by an expert medical professional.
There are various forms of therapy or counseling that experts may decide is suitable. Here is a shortlist of the commonly known evidence-based approaches: psychodynamic psychotherapy, problem-solving therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
Counseling or Psychotherapy
Treating depression with counseling or ‘talk therapy’ is often recommended as the first step to tackle mild to moderate depression. Many health care professionals will take this route before trying medication.
If depression is diagnosed as severe, health care providers will often recommend medication, and also a combination of therapy/counseling and medication may be used as an effective treatment. Before deciding on any form of therapy, it’s essential to understand the differences between psychotherapy and counseling.
The terms psychotherapy and counseling are often interpreted in the same way. However, while the two practices are similar, it’s important to note that psychotherapy with a licensed psychiatrist (MD) or psychologist is considered a long-term approach that focuses on causes of depression and deeper issues that significantly impact the sufferer’s life.
On the other hand, counseling is seen as a much more short-term therapy focusing more on mild to moderate symptoms, everyday behavior, and general outward functions affected by depression.
Facts about Depression Counseling
The severity of the symptoms and episodes of depression often determine the type of counseling used to treat the disorder. If the symptoms of depression are recent or severe, working with a professional therapist in a counseling relationship may be helpful.
If the sufferer has been depressed for a long time and the symptoms present as moderate to severe, working with a psychiatrist or psychologist may be necessary since they deal with past issues deeply rooted in the sufferer’s depression.
By choosing to participate in counseling actively, the individual will feel heard, validated, and understood. Validation by a non-judgemental and impartial professional is essential in the recovery process. The right type of counseling reinforces positivity, self-esteem to bring about progressive internal conclusions.
The purpose of counseling is to help identify delay or avoidance patterns that may prevent progress on understanding underlying issues. Once the underlying problems are identified, it is possible to address depression, promote the self-awareness of negative thoughts and internal representations that can lead to a detrimental outcome.
Mental health care professionals use different methods, but generally, counseling consists of a therapist using ‘talk therapy’ to work through issues that negatively impact an individual’s life in order for both the therapist and sufferer to understand what is required.
The therapist’s role is to listen, give feedback and help develop coping strategies. Each session will include a progress evaluation, and treatments are adjusted accordingly
Find a Counselor That’s Right For You
For counseling to work, it’s essential to find the right mental health professional, and this may take some time and effort, but an investment in the right counselor will benefit the sufferer in the long term. The close relationship between the counselor and patient is the key to successful counseling.
A qualified counselor has the insight to ask the right questions at the opportune moments and provide the contrast needed to enable positive realizations and breakthroughs to happen naturally. Since a counselor has no personal investment in their relationship with you, their impartiality means you get truthful and meaningful insights, which can only lead to better mental health.
If you’re unsure where to find a counselor, a good place to start is your doctor or healthcare provider. Contacting more extensive mental health facilities in your area is also an option. While the facility may not offer a tailored service, they will likely know qualified counselors close to home that provide therapy for depression.
So the answer to the question, can counseling help with depression is YES! Counseling is a well-grounded and researched therapy that benefits individuals who suffer from depression.
It is possible to a certain extent to retrain your brain, given the correct type of care and guidance by a qualified professional, treatments, therapy, and counseling has an excellent proven success rate.
Remain open-minded and know the therapist and doctors will create a suitable treatment plan for each person’s individual needs. The one size fits all policy does not apply. Recovery or maintenance of a depressive condition is possible with the right help and support.