3 Types of Therapy for Depression Explained

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Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for depression, as it can help to dig deep into underlying reasons that could be causing your mental illness, as well as teaching you strategies to cope.

Sometimes referred to as “talk therapy”, psychotherapy involves you and the therapist sitting in a room talking. But of course it is much more than that. It’s your opportunity to recover from the mental illness, resolve personal issues and create a more positive life for yourself.

Simply put, psychotherapy is based on developing a trusting relationship between the therapist and client to overcome negative thoughts and behaviours.

If you’re ready to try therapy, you may have noticed there are many types available, so it can be quite confusing choosing the right one for you.

Generally, the type of therapy you choose should be based on a few factors:

  • How severe your symptoms are
  • Personal preferences
  • Therapy goals

Now that we’ve loosely covered what psychotherapy is, let’s take a look at 3 different types:

1. Behavioural Activation (BA) 

Unfortunately, when you feel depressed you’re less likely to take part in any activity. 

However, this can make you feel worse, more detached and isolated – feeling more depressed than you were.

Moreover, taking part in fewer activities means there is less opportunity for positive things to happen.

As such, behavioural activation (BA) focuses on action to break out of this cycle.

In other words, this approach believes that there are certain behaviours that develop from things you have learned in the past which can negatively affect your life and perceives depression as a consequence of not enough positive reinforcement.

Luckily, psychologists have found that there is a direct relationship between activity and mood, and BA is designed to help change how you respond to these activities.

Essentially, when you feel good you’re more likely to spend time with loved ones and take on new tasks and activities; the things that give you feelings of pleasure and form relationships that make you feel valued.

So, how it works is your daily activities will be monitored to understand how they affect your mood. Then, you and your therapist will identify weekly goals that will encourage you to do more positively rewarding activities. 

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that is set to change the way you think in order to change your mood and behaviours.

So CBT is based on the idea that negative feelings are caused by current distorted thoughts and not problems from the past.

To put simply, CBT works by identifying what thoughts and behaviours arise when responding to overwhelming situations to deal with them in a more positive and balanced way on a daily basis.

Typically, CBT sessions will be once a week or every other week, with each session lasting for up to an hour.

During these sessions, your therapist will work with you to break your problems down into smaller parts – i.e. thoughts, physical feelings and behaviours. Then, these will be assessed and your therapist will help you to understand how this is affecting you and help you change unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts and behaviours and put this into practice in your everyday life.

3. Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy concentrates on your point of view and how you see the world – it looks closely at how your perception affects the choices you make, especially those that cause stress.

Basically, this approach believes you’re the best person to understand your own needs and experiences.

To put it differently, therapists will work with you to understand what you’re experiencing and offer support without translating your feelings for you therefore allowing you to be your true self – even if your therapist disagrees with you.

As such, your sessions will be spent exploring new ways to grow as well as find self-acceptance for the issues you’re currently dealing with, and is effective for those who have a negative judgement.

Generally speaking, you’ll be leading the session and your therapist will step in when appropriate and only ask questions if they’re not sure about something. For instance, you may talk about what certain life experiences mean to you and look at any unresolved issues, such as family conflicts, and try to understand how these affect your emotions.

Final Words

Of course there are many other options but these are our top 3 types of therapy to treat depression.

Usually, if you’ve been diagnosed with depression your GP or health professional will recommend treatments based on your needs.

But ultimately the choice is yours – whilst therapy will combine various techniques, it’s best to try one first, and if it’s not for you try another.

Whilst talking about your feelings can be difficult, it will get easier over time. Just remember, your therapist is there to help and not to judge you.

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

In the meantime, check our page for Court of Protection Solicitors.

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  3. Our Top 4 Tips for Living With Depression