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Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, usually referred to as 'therapy" is generally part of any treatment for depression.Working with a professional trained in psychotherapy, the patient engages in a course of treatment to regain control over his or her emotions and ability to take pleasure in day to day activities.

Therapy formats

Psychotherapy for depression can be given in a variety of formats, including:

- Individual

The classic form of therapy is an ongoing conversation between a therapist and the patient.

- Group

Two or more patients share their experiences and insights and support each other, guided by the therapist.

- Marital/couples

Designed to help the patient and his or her spouse/partner get a better understanding of how depression has impacted their relationship. With the therapist's help they can explore solutions to help them cope with the illness and its repercussions.

- Family

The family is a patient's major support system and can play an important part in his or her recovery. Then too, the group dynamics within a family may be key to understanding the causes of the patient's depression. Treating a patient within the context of the family unit can help everyone concerned deal with the illness more effectively.

Therapy Approaches

Depending on the cause of the depression, the personality of the patient and other factors, a therapist may take one of these therapy approaches:

- Psychodynamic Therapy

This approach starts with the assumption that the patient's depression is caused by unresolved and probably unrecognized difficulties that began in childhood. During the course of therapy, the patient strives to understand these feelings and develop strategies to cope with them. Depending on the patient and the severity of the problem, the course of treatment can take a relatively short period of time or continue for several years.

- Interpersonal Therapy

As the name implies, this therapeutic approach centers on the dynamics of the patient's relationships with family and friends. The goal is to increase the patient's self-esteem and improve their ability to communicate with others within a relatively short time frame of three or four months. It is particularly well-suited to treat depression caused by specific events such as a death, the end of a relationship, job loss, and other major life events.

- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the premise that by changing a person's perception of a situation you can alter the way they react to it. So while the situation remains the same, the patient is able to overcome his or her previous feelings of anxiety or depression in response to it.

In contrast to other approaches which focus on analyzing behavior and delving into the patient's emotional relationships, CBT concentrates on teaching the patient a different way of looking at the world and thus, reacting to it. The therapist acts as an instructor to the patient, guiding him or her through a process that changes how he or she thinks, feels, and acts within the context of particular situations.

Merln Hurd PhD; BCN, QEEGT

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merlynh@nyneurofeedback.com
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PVKelsey, LICSW

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pvkelsey1@gmail.com
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Center for Personal Growth

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