by Dr. Janis Rosenberg,
Many clients who come to
private practice therapists have been
suffering from anxiety and/or depression,
and come with a range of well known
symptoms of these disorders. Symptoms
range from feeling blah or nervous, which
may have been there for a long time, to
more severe debilitating symptoms.
Everyone can feel
depressed, down, and feel irritable or
easily upset for a few days or a week. If
things remain this way or get worse over
several weeks, it is a more serious
problem. Some people with anxiety or
depression ruminate about worries or
negative beliefs and can't get these
painful thoughts to stop.
Depressed people feel
hopeless, stuck, like they are in a hole.
They may not be able to get up in the
morning, get out of bed except to do the
minimal to survive. Some are able to stay
at work or school while others can't even
handle their normal tasks. Other symptoms
of concern are thinking about dying or
hurting yourself, under or overeating,
procrastinating, sleeping a lot or very
Without getting help,
symptoms may worsen with Major Depressive
Disorder, which is the more serious type
of depression. With chronic underlying
depression, sometimes called "the blues"
or "the blahs", clients may have adapted
to living a depressed lifestyle, with
little activity or motivation to change.
Either way, treatment can
help. Even though the combination of
psychotherapy and medication has been
found to help mood disorders, many
physicians will only prescribe medication.
It's easier to get a patient to take a
pill than to convince her to see a
therapist. Often psychotherapy for a
period of approximately 3 months can help
raise a client’s awareness, inner
resources, and mobilize change.
Most clinicians agree
that medication can be extremely helpful,
even necessary with Major Depression, and
helpful when the diagnosis is an
Adjustment Disorder with Depression, since
the symptoms can create intense suffering.
However, without being
able to make meaning of the situation,
learn from the suffering, learn how to
think and believe differently when
stressful situations happen, people will
continue to be sensitive to life's blows.
The combination of
medication and psychotherapy is the most
effective way to treat depression.
Many research studies have shown the
effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. Most
"good" therapists use these methods, and
form an healthy alliance with the client
to motivate movements toward healthy
thoughts, behaviors and emotions.
EMDR (Eye Movement
Desensitization and Reprocessing) has also
been proven to improve mood through
changing negative beliefs and working
through old trauma-based ideas about
While medication can help
improve depressive symptoms, it can't
change the ability to have a more positive
outlook, overcome negative beliefs and low
self-esteem, or resolve past hurts that
have caused the a depressive outlook. A
positive therapy experience is needed for
these kinds of changes.