Are you feeling trapped in depression, stagnation, or hopelessness?
· Do you often feel depressed, lack energy, or are unable to enjoy life?
· Do you have a fear that something is wrong with you?
· Are you consumed with doubt about your ability to achieve what you want?
· Do you pretend to be ok when you are secretly suffering at home alone?
Depression is the most prevalent mood problem I treat as a therapist. It is extremely common. If you suffer from depression you can be sure you are not alone. Most people have suffered from some form of mild or major depression in their life. Many famous people have had serious cases of depression: Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Bob Dylan, Sarah Silverman, Owen Wilson, Woody Allen, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Lady Gaga, Peter Gabriel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, J.K. Rowling, Michelangelo, Jim Carrey, Lena Dunham, Bruce Springsteen, Mike Tyson, etc.
How do I know if I’m clinically depressed?
If you are in need of depression treatment, you probably lack motivation for change and feel frustrated from being stagnated in life. You may find yourself isolating and consumed with feelings of self-doubt, helplessness, or hopelessness. Other symptoms you may experience are: tightness in your chest, a dull ache in your head, numbness, depressed mood most of the time, diminished interest in daily activities, weight loss or weight gain, over or under sleeping, fatigue, feelings of unworthiness, difficulty concentrating, and even thoughts of death or suicide. You may experience anxiety or panic from living for long periods with the same dread about the lack of change in your mood and life. When depressed it is common to be cut off from others, to feel alone, defensive, or withdrawn. You might believe no one can help or understand you after seeking support from friends or family who are unqualified to help.
Depression Treatment Helps You Take Back Control Of Your Life
The first step in depression treatment is to come out of isolation. When you share your pain with me in a caring and supportive environment there can be an immediate sense of relief. Often just the act of admitting to another person the extent to which you are struggling can be a big step out of shame and into feeling better. Humanistic Therapy is a primary form of therapy that I will utilize to help you. Humanistic Therapy has been widely recognized as a way of healing depression. That core of the treatment states that being in the presence of another person who is unconditionally accepting of you and your struggles can have a deep healing effect on your psyche and even your brain. Often depression is a result of a history with overly judgmental or critical caregivers. Utilizing Humanistic Therapy we can do reparative work that will help you internalize a strong sense of positive self-regard.
I'm trained in using different modalities depending on what works best for you to treat your depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a commonly used form of therapy in depression treatment that I'm also skilled at. CBT therapy operates around understanding and correcting your core thoughts and beliefs that result in feelings of unworthiness. The therapy then examines how these thoughts and beliefs lead to self sabotaging behaviors that repeat the patterns of stagnation and hopelessness. Clear goals are outlined to break out of these limiting thoughts (i.e. cognitions) and behaviors. The goals are tracked from session to session. For a more thorough understanding of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy check out the book, Feeling Good, by David Burn. You can also check out, How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything: Yes, Anything!, by Albert Ellis.
I also utilize Emotional Freedom Technique when treating depression. EFT, or “tapping”, is a relatively new school of depression treatment that trains you to tap on the meridian points of your body and combine this with cognitive therapy. EFT allows the repressed emotional pain at the root of your depression to release. This release is generally experienced as an elevated mood and even relief from any associated physical pain. EFT has been shown to regulate the amygdala gland in the brain. This lowers cortisol levels in the bloodstream—the hormone most correlated with stress. Once your cortisol levels decrease, the repressed anger or fear responsible for depression is allowed to pass through the system. As a result, your depression is usually relieved.
Self Compassion is another very effective as a form of depression treatment we can explore. Self Compassion can be thought of as a form of “inner child work” that utilizes three main principles.
The first is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way of becoming aware of yourself and your pain without becoming over-identified with it. Mindfulness has its roots in meditation but is becoming commonly used in psychotherapy. There is an enormous difference between recognizing that I’m feeling depressed from an accepting, neutral mind state, and attaching a shame based story to the depression. Mindfulness helps you do just that.
The second aspect of Self Compassion is your connection to Common Humanity. This is the ability to identify your pain as a way of being connected to others as opposed to isolated from them. You probably feel alone or unique if you experience ongoing depression. The ability to identify your common connection to others around pain is key to self acceptance and healing.
The last aspect of Self Compassion is to learn Kindness as a replacement for self-judgment. Kindness is a way of relating to yourself with conscious compassion and understanding. If you’re depressed you are probably a master at unconscious self-judgment! Being kind to your “inner child” is a way of re-parenting yourself and giving yourself the understanding and compassion that may have been lacking in your past.
I have never seen a person with depression who does not have these qualities of over identification with pain, isolation, and self-judgment. Learning the tools of Mindfulness, connection to Common Humanity, and Kindness, can be powerful ways to move you out of depression and into feeling good about yourself and your life. As a result you can have renewed energy to focus and achieve what you want—whether that be loving relationships, a better career, more money, or whatever your heart is craving.
But you might still have questions:
Isn't depression just part of life?
While it's true that most people experience some depression in life, clinical depression is another thing. If you are regularly feeling helpless, hopeless, unmotivated, and lacking the energy to live, it is likely you would benefit from psychotherapy.
How long does this take?
Treatment varies according to the severity of the depression. You will likely see some immediate results, but should consider at least a few months of therapy if you have been experiencing extreme bouts of depression. I have treated many people who have found their way out of depression.
Do I have to take medication?
No. All medical treatment decisions are ultimately up to you. While medication is helpful for some who suffer from depression, it is certainly not required for everyone.
You can get out of depression!
If you think therapy is something you want to try give me a call at 310-854-2043. I offer a free 15 minute consultation to see if this might be a good fit for you.