SUSAN SOSA, M.A., MFT Licensed California Marriage & Family Therapist License #39341.
Individual, Couple & Adolescent Psychotherapy. Offices in Sherman Oaks & Beverly Hills, CA .    Email:  Phone: 818.919.4061

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Psychotherapy & Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17 million adult Americans suffer from depression during any 1-year period. Depression is a real illness and carries with it a high cost in terms of relationship problems, family suffering, and lost work productivity. Yet, depression is highly treatable.

Psychotherapy is often the first form of treatment recommended for depression. During psychotherapy, a person with depression talks to a licensed and trained mental health care professional who helps him or her identify and work through the factors that may be causing their depression. Sometimes these factors work in combination with heredity or chemical imbalances in the brain to trigger depression. Taking care of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of depression is important.

How Does Psychotherapy Help Depression?

Psychotherapy helps people with depression:

  • Understand the behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute
    to his or her depression.
  • Understand and identify the life problems or events --
    like a major illness, a death in the family, a loss of
    a job or a divorce
    -- that contribute to their depression and help
    them understand which aspects of those problems they may be
    able to solve or improve.
  • Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.
  • Learn coping techniques and problem-solving skills. 



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) includes several different approaches to therapy, all of which focus on how thinking affects the way a person feels and acts. The idea of cognitive behavioral therapy is that you can change your way of thinking about a situation, and when you do, you also change the way you feel and act. As a result, you can feel better, or at least remain calm, even when the situation stays the same.

While other approaches to therapy rely heavily on analyzing and exploring people's relationship with the world around them, the focus of CBT is on learning. The therapist functions as a teacher. He or she guides the client through the process of learning how to change his or her way of thinking and then how to act on that learning. Because there is a specific goal and a process for arriving at it, CBT is often more narrowly focused. It also is typically completed in less time than other therapies.

Tips to Help You Get Started With Therapy

    Identify sources of stress: Try keeping a journal and note stressful
    as well as positive events.

    Restructure priorities: Emphasize positive, effective behavior.

    Make time for recreational and pleasurable activities.

    Communicate: Explain and assert your needs to someone
    you trust;
    write in a journal to express your feelings.

    Try to focus on positive outcomes and finding methods for reducing
    and managing stress

    Remember, therapy involves evaluating your thoughts and
    behaviors, identifying stresses that contribute to depression, and
    working to modify both. People who actively participate in therapy
    recover more quickly and have fewer relapses. Therapy is treatment
    that addresses specific causes of depression
    ; it is not a "quick fix."
    It takes longer to begin to work than antidepressants
    , but there is
    evidence to suggest that its effects last longer. Antidepressants
    may be needed immediately in cases of severe depression,
    but the combination of therapy and medicine is very effective