Psychotherapy can be a helpful and effective way to treat depression. It involves verbal and psychological techniques that help patients overcome negative thoughts and behavioral patterns.
Psychotherapy may be better than antidepressants for treating milder forms of depression and can prevent relapse when combined with antidepressants. However, it has not been proven to be as effective in treating more severe depression.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach that modifies thought patterns and behaviors. This form of therapy is also effective for various psychological disorders, including anxiety and OCD.
Therapists use CBT to help patients change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that can lead to depression. It can also be used with medications for a more comprehensive treatment plan.
The first step in the treatment process is identifying the negative thoughts fueling your depression. A therapist may use techniques like cognitive restructuring to help you see that these irrational beliefs are invalid and can be changed.
During therapy, you’ll work with your therapist to challenge how you think about yourself and others. Your therapist may also teach you how to identify and correct cognitive distortions, which are errors in thinking that lead to negative feelings.
Another typical technique therapists use the “logic model,” which helps patients recognize and understand why they make certain assumptions about the world and their feelings. This type of therapy helps patients realize that they can have realistic and positive views of themselves and others.
A common goal of CBT for clinical depression is to improve a patient’s self-esteem and confidence. Often, patients have low self-esteem because they believe their problems are hopeless. During CBT, a therapist will help patients develop a positive view of themselves and their future.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited, manualized treatment proven to reduce depression symptoms in a series of studies. Its basic principles are based on empirical evidence showing reciprocal relationships between mood symptoms and interpersonal difficulties. Its primary goals are symptom reduction and improved interpersonal functioning.
It begins with thoroughly assessing depressive symptoms and reviewing past and current relationships, including any changes. The therapist then uses these observations to target problems that might contribute to depression.
During the middle phase of treatment, the therapist develops targeted relationship strategies to bolster the patient’s emotional and interpersonal functioning. This might include appropriate mourning for a complicated bereavement, helping a patient with a role dispute resolve an interpersonal struggle, or decreasing social isolation to help a patient adjust to a new life role.
In the final phase of treatment, the therapist helps the patient practice these skills in real life. This enables the patient to practice the skills safely and test them in daily life, where they might have previously felt insecure.
The therapist may also encourage you to participate in activities like volunteering or spending time with friends. This can be a great way to distract from your depressive feelings.
Family Therapy is a treatment that focuses on improving the interactions and communication between members of a family. This type of therapy is often used when one member of a family has a mental health condition, such as depression.
In family therapy, a mental health professional is trained to listen and help you work through the problems affecting your family. Therapists use theory and skill-based dialogue (conversations) to improve your family’s relationships, communication and well-being.
Many therapists use a strategic approach to family therapy, focusing on how the problem you are experiencing works within your specific family structure. This approach can help you identify how authority and boundaries work within your family and how you can change them.
Another type of family therapy is attachment-based, which involves strengthening the bond between parents and children. It’s typically used when a child or teenager has severe emotional regulation problems, such as depression, suicidal thoughts or substance abuse.
A small 2018 study found that educating families about mental illness and its treatment helps improve family function. This is because when you understand a mental health condition, you are more likely to support your loved one and their treatments. In addition, it helps to improve communication and reduce relapses.
Group Therapy is a type of treatment for depression that involves a group of patients led by a qualified therapist. This type of therapy may focus on a specific issue or provide training in healthy coping techniques.
The main benefit of group therapy is that it involves input from various perspectives, including those with different backgrounds and experiences. This can help you learn how others cope with issues and problems and identify new strategies that might work for you.
It also helps to feel that you are not alone in your struggles. Group members who have experienced similar issues will often be able to offer valuable advice, encouragement, and words of affirmation.
In addition, you will be able to hear about other people’s successes in the group. This can inspire you to try to achieve your goals in life and give you hope for recovery.
Besides reducing depression, group therapy can effectively treat other conditions, such as anxiety and substance abuse. One study found that group therapy was as effective as other treatments for relapse prevention in patients who had been refractory to traditional medicine.