Counselling and psychotherapy are talking therapies that have been proven to aid depression recovery, providing long term relief for those impacted by the illness.
A study by Sheffield University found that 46% of patients with depression who received cognitive behavioural therapy reported at least a 50% improvement in their symptoms, compared to only 22% who were not offered the therapy1.
Medication can be a useful step in alleviating the distressing symptoms of depression, but talking therapies can also have an important role in helping the sufferer deal with the impact their illness can have on their life.
It is important to find an experienced therapist to work with – you would not let someone with no experience fix your car so why would you let someone poorly qualified try and help you when you may be feeling at your lowest?
However, for people with depression, it can be very hard for them to feel they deserve good quality treatment or to find the motivation to find the right therapist.
There are lots of different therapies out there so knowing which is the best for you isn’t easy on the best of days, let alone when you are depressed.
The therapist was great – he made me feel really at ease and I gained so much insight as to why I feel the way I do.
It is becoming much more common to have some therapy or counselling and in recent years, well known figures have talked openly about their experience of therapy and the benefits it has given them.
Therapy is much more than just being listened to – the average therapist will have taken between 3-12 years (depending on the approach they use) to train, will be in regular supervision and will have many hundreds of hours of clinical practice under their belt.
There are many different therapeutic approaches that range from cognitive therapies (which can be quite action driven and will focus mainly on the present day issue) to more analytical therapies (such as psychodynamic, which will go into your childhood and early memories).
You can read more about the different therapies, but it really comes down to personal preference and what you think will work best for you.
Often therapists are trained in more than one approach and adopt a flexible approach to working with you – this can be hugely effective.
Once you decide on the therapy you want, it’s worth meeting with the therapist to find out if you want to work with them. Whilst you don’t need to like them, and in fact many therapists will maintain a degree of professional distance, you do need to trust and feel safe with them. It’s ok to change therapists after a session or two – that is normally all it takes to know if you can work with someone.