Sufferers of depression may at some point of their treatment process be recommended to undergo some form of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, consists of a patient working with a trained psychotherapist to wade through their emotional or behavioral obstacles using various techniques and methods. Depending on the severity of the depression, therapy can last from a couple of months to a year or more. Psychotherapy may be used in conjunction with other treatment options, such as antidepressants, or it may be used alone. It can help the patient better understand their illness, give the patient awareness of what behaviors trigger or worsen their depression, and teach the patient coping skills to work through issues on a daily basis. Psychotherapy can be useful in the treatment of various mental disorders besides depression, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and eating disorders to name a few.
There are many different methods of psychotherapy. Some of the various approaches of psychotherapy used to treat depression include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Family therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Group Therapy
- Other forms of alternative psychotherapy
There is no one perfect method for everyone. Depending on the psychologist’s diagnosis and treatment plan, they may use just one of the above methods or they may use various aspects of different methods depending on the patient’s needs.
No matter what kind of psychotherapy is used, the success of the treatment process is greatly accelerated and more effective if the patient is an active and willing participant. Someone suffering from depression who has made the choice on their own that they want to get better often sees the best and quickest results from psychotherapy.
The Different Methods of Psychotherapy
A quick synopsis of some of the different types of psychotherapy methods used to improve mental health.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This is a general term for a type of psychotherapy that is a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. There are several different approaches to cognitive behavioral therapy that may have some aspects in common. CBT focuses on how a person thinks and the effects that their thoughts have on their behavior and mood. Someone who seemingly has everything going for them, yet they feel completely worthless, for example, would be a candidate for this type of therapy.
The treatment is goal-oriented and is a collaboration between the patient and their therapist. The duration of CBT is limited, lasting around 3 to 4 months or around 16 sessions. It aims to identity and alter negative thought patterns that adversely impact a patient’s behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy is widely used for many different types of mental illnesses including depression.
Interpersonal Therapy – This is usually a quick form of therapy that usually lasts for 2 to 4 months. It focuses on the relationships and interactions with friends, family and other key people in the life of the patient. It can be beneficial for depression associated with grief, relationship strife, social withdrawal and stressful life events such as a new job or relocating to a new city.
The goal of interpersonal therapy is to help the patient better communicate and relate to the people in their lives. IPT makes a person more aware of how they interact with people, identify problematic emotions and their triggers, and teaches them new ways to express themselves with others that are more constructive.
IPT can help the patient dissolve potential disputes and strengthen relationships that have been a source of some of their depression signs and moods.
Family Therapy – This involves the patient’s family dynamic and the role it may play in their depressive disorder. Including family members in the therapy process may help relationships within the family, work out conflict, and help the family better understand the patient’s illness so they can encourage and facilitate in their recovery and spot instances of potential relapses.
Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic therapy involves understanding unresolved conflicts from the patient’s past and how they influence their current thoughts, feelings and behavior. The patient may not be aware of the profound influence their past has on their present situation as they may have blocked out the past experiences from the conscious mind and moved it to their unconscious mind. This type of psychotherapy is commonly associated with the works of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Psychodynamic therapy aims to help the patient gain better insight and to resolve or cope with their past conflicts.
Group Therapy ? This type of therapy usually involves a small group of people with related issues led by a trained therapist to help themselves and one another work through their problems. This type of therapy can have tremendous benefits to those who are usually withdrawn and feel like they are the only ones suffering through a certain situation. Seeing and working with others going through exactly the same or similar issues can greatly aid in the recovery process. Listening to others and what they are going through can help the patient gain perspective as well as improve social skills. This type of therapy can be done on its own or in conjunction with one on one sessions with a therapist.
These are just a few of the different methods of psychotherapy that may be used to help a person suffering from depression get relief. Therapy can help a person gain perspective on how their thoughts, feelings and beliefs can negatively affect their behaviors. They can teach new skills, promote self-improvement and offer support that can help patients better cope with the triggers that can lead to their depression symptoms. Whether with the use of antidepressants or used on its own, psychotherapy can be extremely beneficial to those currently suffering with depression as well as many other types of mental illnesses and disorders.