Finding the Right Therapist – How We’ll Help
If you are considering psychological counseling, you may have questions such as “Would counseling be helpful for me?” We can help you answer these questions with either a telephone conversation or a consultation with one of our licensed psychologists who specializes in helping people find the therapist who is right for them. This psychologist will learn about your situation, tell you if psychological counseling would be helpful, and if so, which therapist would be most experienced in dealing with your particular problem. It is also important that you have a therapist you are comfortable talking to, and who is available at a time that is convenient for you. Five licensed psychologists and two licensed clinical social workers practice at this office, so there is a good chance that one of us will be right for you. But if none of us is quite right for you, we will recommend a therapist or program that is.
Types of Psychological Counseling
Currently, there are two main types of psychological counseling – Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy – plus several other types of counseling: Behavior Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Family Systems Therapy. We believe that each of these therapies can be valuable – for the right patient. If you call or come to Psychology Associates for a consultation, we will discuss which of these forms of therapy might be most helpful for you.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling sad or “blue,” crying
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Diminished self-esteem, feeling inferior or worthless
- Low energy, fatigue
- Hopelessness about the future
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Procrastination, trouble making decisions
- Increases or decreases in appetite
- Insomnia or sleeping more than usual
- Thoughts of death
Psychological Treatment of Depression
The four psychological factors which make people vulnerable to depression are:
2Feeling powerless, as though you have no control over your life.
3Feeling disconnected from people and activities.
Some depressions are chronic, but others occur as a series of separate episodes. If your depression has occurred in episodes, it is likely that some loss or disappointment triggered each of these episodes. But it is also likely that several of the four factors listed above make you vulnerable to becoming depressed when you experience a loss or disappointment. To cure your current depression and prevent future depressions, your treatment should first identify which of the four factors apply to you, and then help you change those factors. If you have had a therapy which hasn’t helped you, it is possible that your therapy did not focus on the factors which are causing your depression.
1Low self-esteem. People who are depressed usually feel less worthwhile and less successful than others. They blame themselves for anything that goes wrong but don’t give themselves credit when something goes right. We can show you how to recognize and feel good about your abilities and accomplishments while tolerating and not berating yourself for weaknesses and mistakes.
2Feeling powerless means feeling that you are not able to achieve what you want in life. If you feel this way, we can will teach you the skills you need to achieve your goals. If you feel powerless because you have set inappropriate or unrealistic goals, we can help you set realistic, achievable goals, and develop a gradual, step-by-step approach to achieving these goals.
3Feeling disconnected from people and activities. Depressed people are often unaware that they relate to others in ineffective or self-destructive ways. If you do this, we can help you identify and change these repetitive patterns of behavior and establish better, closer relationships. Fear of revealing personal information can also cause you to be distant in your personal relationships. We can help you overcome fears of being hurt or rejected, which may be preventing both friendship and intimacy. We can also help you identify activities and organizations that you might enjoy, and where you might meet others who are potential friends and intimates.
4Avoiding feelings refers either to being unaware of your emotions or to distract yourself from emotions, often by focusing on how to handle situations effectively. If you avoid feelings, we can help you become more aware of them. We will also work toward establishing an accepting, supportive relationship with you, so you will feel comfortable experiencing and expressing feelings which you previously avoided.
Depression is a problem that makes you not want to do the very things that will help you overcome your depression. This is why professional help is almost always necessary to cure depression. Psychological research has found that Cognitive Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Psychoanalytic Therapy are all effective treatments for depression. We believe that the Four Factor approach described above combines the best elements in each of these therapies. But your therapy should focus on those factors which are causing your depression. One of the symptoms of depression is the belief that nothing will ever help you overcome your depression. But this is not true – depression is a very treatable problem and almost everyone who receives appropriate treatment is cured.
Treating Depression: Drugs or Psychological Counseling?
Recent research has found that anti-depressant medication and psychological counseling are about equally effective as long as the patient is undergoing treatment. However, the benefits of drug treatment end as soon as the patient stops taking the medication. After a course of drug treatment, depressed patients are just as likely to become depressed as they were before taking the drug.
On the other hand, the benefits of psychotherapy endure after the treatment is completed, preventing future depressions and enhancing the pleasures of living. A number of research studies have even found that after psychological counseling ends, therapy patients continue to improve their satisfaction and enjoyment of life.
These findings do not mean that anti-depressant medication should never be used. Some individuals are so depressed that they are in danger of losing their job, marriage, or even their lives through suicide. In these situations, medication might be able to prevent an irreparable loss. Also, some people are too depressed to benefit from psychological counseling. Medication can help these patients make the changes that counseling has shown them they must make to overcome their depression.
Psychological Depressions and Biological Depressions?
It is a myth that some depressions are psychological and others are biological. Most depressions have both psychological and biological causes. While proper psychological treatment can permanently change the psychological causes, anti-depressant drugs can change the biological causes only temporarily – only while you continue to take the drugs.
Another myth is that the psychological causes of depression should be treated with counseling and the biological causes should be treated with drugs. Psychological counseling has been found to change the biochemistry of depressed people and drug treatment has been found to improve depressed people’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings.