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Therapy for Depression

Counseling and psychotherapy are important treatments for depression. You will work with a mental health care provider such as a psychologist, licensed professional counselor, clinical social worker, or psychiatrist. Together, you will develop an action plan to treat your depression.

The first step is finding a therapist you trust and feel comfortable with. The therapist also should have experience treating people who have depression and should be trained in proven therapies. These therapies include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This teaches you how to change the ways you think and behave. This can help you stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself and your life. You can take part in CBT with a therapist or in a group setting. One version of this is called problem-solving therapy, which teaches ways to look at your current problems and deal with them.

  • Interpersonal therapy. This looks at your social and personal relationships and related problems.

Some therapists use acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). In ACT, you work with a therapist to learn to accept your negative feelings but not let them run your life. You learn to make choices and act based on your personal values, not negative feelings.

Mindfulness strategies are another type of therapy. They seek to focus your attention on what is happening at the moment without trying to change it. These strategies teach you to let go of past regrets and not worry about the future. They may help with depression in some people.

Other types of therapy

Other treatments you may have heard of include:

  • Supportive therapy. Your therapist focuses on listening and understanding your experience

  • Family therapy. Brings you and your family together to discuss your relationships and depression

Experts don't know how well these therapies work for depression.

When you hear the words "counseling" or "therapy," you may think of lying on a couch and talking about your childhood. But most of these treatments do not look for hidden memories. They deal with how you think about things and how you act each day.

How long will treatment last

How long your treatment lasts depends on how severe your depression is and how well you respond to treatment. Short-term counseling or therapy usually lasts from 10 to 20 weeks, and you usually see your mental health care provider once a week. But you may need to meet with your health care provider more often or for a longer time. 

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 7/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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