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Navigating Depression: Therapies That Can Help

Updated: Jun 23

Depression is a complex and challenging condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it can feel overwhelming, effective therapies can help you manage and overcome depressive symptoms. Here, we’ll explore three evidence-based therapies: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Psychodynamic Therapy.


1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured, short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It is based on the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected.


How Does CBT Help with Depression?


Identifying Negative Thoughts: CBT helps you recognize and challenge distorted or unhelpful thoughts that contribute to depressive feelings. For example, thoughts like “I’m worthless” or “Nothing will ever get better” are examined and reframed.


Behavioral Activation: This component of CBT involves engaging in activities that are enjoyable or meaningful. It helps break the cycle of depression by encouraging positive behaviors that can improve mood and reduce isolation.


Skill Development: CBT teaches practical skills for managing stress, solving problems, and coping with challenging situations. These skills can help you handle life’s difficulties more effectively, reducing the impact of depression.


What to Expect in CBT


CBT typically involves weekly sessions over a period of 12-20 weeks. Sessions are structured, and you’ll work with your therapist to set goals and track progress. Homework assignments, such as keeping a thought diary or practicing new skills, are a key part of the process.


2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


What is DBT?


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder. It has since been adapted to help individuals with depression, particularly those who experience intense emotional responses and have difficulty regulating their emotions.


How Does DBT Help with Depression?


Emotion Regulation: DBT teaches skills to manage and regulate intense emotions that can exacerbate depression. Techniques such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation are central to this approach.


Interpersonal Effectiveness: This component of DBT helps you improve relationships and communication skills. Building healthy relationships can provide support and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.


Mindfulness: DBT incorporates mindfulness practices to help you stay present and grounded. Mindfulness can reduce rumination, a common symptom of depression, by focusing on the here and now rather than past regrets or future worries.


What to Expect in DBT


DBT can be practiced in individual therapy or in groups. The standard treatment lasts about six months to a year. You’ll learn and practice skills in areas such as emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.


3. Psychodynamic Therapy


What is Psychodynamic Therapy?


Psychodynamic Therapy is based on the theories of psychoanalysis, focusing on understanding the influence of the past on current behavior. It aims to uncover unconscious thoughts and feelings that may be contributing to depression.


How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Help with Depression?


Exploring the Unconscious: This therapy helps you gain insight into unconscious processes that influence your emotions and behavior. Understanding these hidden factors can lead to greater self-awareness and emotional relief.


Understanding Relationships: Psychodynamic Therapy explores past and present relationships to identify patterns that may be contributing to depression. By understanding these dynamics, you can develop healthier relationships and coping strategies.


Emotional Expression: The therapy provides a safe space to express and process difficult emotions. This can lead to emotional healing and a reduction in depressive symptoms.


What to Expect in Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychodynamic Therapy usually involves weekly sessions and can be a longer-term treatment compared to CBT or DBT. The process is more open-ended, with the pace and duration determined by individual needs and progress. Therapy involves talking about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts, with the therapist guiding the exploration of deeper issues.


Choosing the Right Therapy


Selecting the right therapy for depression depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the severity of your symptoms. It’s important to work with a qualified mental health professional who can help you determine the best approach. Sometimes, a combination of therapies may be most effective.


If you're struggling with depression and seeking professional support, contact Achieve Psychology at 614-470-4466 (voice or text) or visit www.achievepsychology.org. Our experienced therapists can help you navigate your journey to mental wellness.




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