Depression is a debilitating and isolating illness for many people. If you have experienced depression, you know how lonely and discouraging it can be. Maybe you feel like you are trapped in a dark room with no way to escape. Or you feel like you are screaming for help, but others are unable to see that you’re struggling. Though you feel alone, millions of people share your experiences and feelings. This does not diminish your pain but may help you see that there is light at the end of your depression tunnel, you just have to be willing to get there. Therapy can teach you effective ways to express your pain and develop healthy coping mechanisms for your depression. Below are several forms of therapy that are commonly used to treat depression and other mental illnesses.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Your thought life dictates your perspective of yourself and the world around you. If you suffer from depression, you have likely thought things such as, “I’m worthless,” or “My life is not worth living.” These thinking patterns trap you in a cycle of depression and helplessness. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, which further fuel negative thoughts. Without effective treatment, this cycle can be hard to break. Unhealthy thoughts destroy your mental health and also wreak havoc on all areas of your functioning. Depressed people are unable to experience pleasure, have diminished interest in activities that used to bring them joy, and are unmotivated to change because they don’t have the energy required to do so. If you have repeatedly told yourself the story that depression has imprinted on your mind, you may begin to believe that you are hopeless and helpless, and this will reflect in your behaviors. CBT is effective because it targets and transforms your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This is why it is essential to seek professional help so that you have the guidance you need to find the light at the end of your tunnel.
Existential therapy stems from a branch of philosophy known as existentialism. Existentialism focuses on the fundamental questions and concerns of human nature such as meaning, purpose, and mortality. This form of therapy can be helpful in counteracting the negative effects of depression by examining your disconnection from meaningful relationships, life experiences, and authenticity. A therapist specializing in this form of therapy will likely help you examine your attitude, beliefs, and assumptions about your life and relationships to help you gain a better understanding of your values and priorities. Depression can manifest from chronic disappointment, unmet expectations, or by living a life that does not feel authentic to your true self. By targeting these facades and helping you uncover the real you, you are able to live a life that has meaning. Though hard to accept for some, we all have an inherent responsibility to make choices, derive meaning, and live according to our values. Anything less leaves an opening for mental distress, illness, and low self-esteem that can show up in your life as depression.
Depression is not always grounded in present circumstances. Depression can be manifested through past experiences, or from all stages of your life, especially childhood. Maybe you experienced trauma or emotional abuse at a young age and these experiences have become the dominant voice in your mind. This negative voice has the power to dictate every aspect of your life and being. Some emotional conflicts are conscious, but this therapeutic approach targets unconscious thoughts, motivations, and emotions that affect your behavior without you being aware. When we go through difficult experiences during formative years, our psyche employs defense mechanisms that prevent the mind from enduring psychological or emotional pain, which manifests as maladaptive behaviors and thought patterns in adulthood.
There is also evidence that your psyche will repress harmful memories and emotions from the past to protect you from them. When these aspects remain buried deep in your mind, you react and perceive the world through a damaged lens whose purpose is to keep you safe and oblivious to the things your mind is not ready to accept. By seeking this type of therapy, you can uncover past and unconscious material that may be contributing to your depression and help you gain some relief.
Depression affects everyone differently so it is important to move forward with treatment options that best fit your lifestyle and values. By seeking mental health counseling, you are taking the first step toward living a life that feels genuine and meaningful. Your therapist will help you examine all areas of your life and functioning so that you can begin to design an existence that has purpose and aligns with your priorities. We all see the world through a different lens and this lens is ever-evolving, so it is essential to match with a therapist who you can connect with. Depression keeps you trapped and afraid, but it doesn’t have to. New Vision Counseling and Consulting can guide you in your journey of healing and discovery. We want to see you become your best self and this cannot be accomplished with a mental illness weighing you down. Curious about our counseling process and values? Call our client care line today to become familiar with our therapeutic approach and get scheduled with a therapist that fits your needs. We can be reached by calling (405) 921-7776 Reach out today to discover the New Vision difference.