When To See a Psychologist for Depression
A psychologist is someone who has studied psychology, the study of human behavior. A clinical psychologist refers to someone who has studied psychology at a masters and / or PhD level. They have specific training in handling depression, anxiety, and all manner of mental health issues. When you’re experiencing depression, they are an absolutely wonderful choice.
A psychologist will use begin a treatment schedule involving counseling to help identify the causes of the depression and form a way to move beyond them. These counselors are skilled at ‘talk therapy’, which essentially means you’ll be guided through dialogue that helps the psychologist discover root causes of depression and create a strategy to increase your wellbeing and coping with the depression. For severe depression (can barely get out of bed, not showering, very little engagement in the world) antidepressant medication is probably worth considering – at least discussing with a doctor or the psychologist you’re seeing. At Advanced Counseling Services, we employ a psychiatrist on staff who is able to work in conjunction with your counselor to find the medication best suited to helping you progress in treating your depression.
Psychotherapy can help you:
- Understand your illness
- Define and reach wellness goals
- Overcome fears or insecurities
- Cope with stress
- Make sense of past traumatic experiences
- Separate your true personality from the mood swings caused by your illness
- Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
- Improve relationships with family and friends
- Establish a stable, dependable routine
- Develop a plan for coping with crises
- Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
- End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex.
Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) can be an important part of treatment for depression or bipolar disorder (manic depression). A good therapist can help you cope with feelings and symptoms, and change behavior patterns that may contribute to your illness.
Talk therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Some therapy may involve homework, such as tracking your moods, writing about your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past. You might be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn new ways to react to events or people.
Most of today’s psychotherapy is brief and focused on your current thoughts, feelings and life issues. Focusing on the past can help explain things in your life, but focusing on the present can help you cope with the present and prepare for the future. You might see your therapist more often at the beginning of treatment, and later, as you learn to manage problems and avoid triggers, you might go to psychotherapy appointments less often.