First and foremost it is necessary to distinguish between clinical depression and feeling depressed, which can be mild or moderate depression. The former is a condition where the individual feels so low that they find it difficult to get out of bed. They no longer have any interest in activities that they normally enjoyed and the depressed feeling is constant and has been present for a while. On the other hand, feeling depressed covers a spectrum of emotions from low mood and energy to feeling really sad, flat or hopeless yet managing to get through the normal day-to-day routine. This is also known as mild to moderate depression. Aside from these it is also possible to experience low mood. This normally lifts after a week or two if changes are made such as resolving the issue that caused the low mood or altering sleeping or dietary habits. Whilst our consultant psychiatrist at Psymplicity Healthcare treats clinical depression, mild or moderate depression responds well to talking therapies provided by highly experienced and expert psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.
This might take the form of psychodynamic, integrative or Gestalt psychotherapy. In all approaches, the practitioner aims to support the individual to feel more positive again. They do this by increasing one’s capacity to support oneself through self -care like adequate sleep, good nutrition or gentle exercise, for example. They will also develop the individual’s ability to seek support from others. This might include looking at unhelpful beliefs, which those experiencing depression often hold about themselves and about their situation and which stop them getting the support they need. Psychotherapy will also help to clarify and release underlying emotions such as sadness and anger which, when not expressed, often contribute to depression.
A CBT practitioner will assist the individual to analyse negative beliefs and thought patterns that are common to those who feel depressed. The individual gains awareness and replaces these with more helpful thinking patterns. At the same time a CBT therapist for depression encourages the individual to consider behavioural patterns and how they correlate to the depressed feelings. Again, the client is gently invited to start changing some of their behaviour. The aim of CBT is to help the individual experience relief from depression by evaluating and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
Depressed feelings may be in reaction to a challenging life event such as a break up, job loss or financial worries. In this case talking with a counsellor provides the individual with a safe place to process their concerns. They may not feel they can do this with close friends or relatives for fear of unfairly burdening them or wariness of being judged. This can lead to feeling alone with one’s worries, which magnifies the depressed feelings. Talking to a caring and gentle depression counsellor gradually alleviates the low mood and in time the individual is able to gain a more positive perspective on their life situation and starts feeling more hopeful again.
A depression therapist will spend the initial session finding out as much about you, your mood, the contributing factors and your background as possible, in order to get a thorough understanding of your situation. Whilst you might be feeling hopeless, they will remain hopeful about your improvement as they gently work with you to bring about change. They deliver the therapy at your pace and celebrate your victories along the way, however small they may feel, inviting you to acknowledge the courage, strength and tenacity it takes to undertake therapy when feeling very low. Whichever therapy modality you choose – you will discuss the different options with a care coordinator before choosing one, your experienced and expert depression therapist will help you take the necessary to steps towards improved mood.