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Depression Treatment

Psychological counseling

Counseling, or talk therapy, involves talking to a mental health professional at regular visits. In these visits, you will learn ways to:

  • Cope with problems, from minor to severe
  • Change negative thought processes
  • Manage your emotions
  • Improve your relationships

Types of counseling

There are many types of counseling, or talk therapy. Some therapists provide a specific type of therapy. Others may offer more than one, or combine methods. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on recognizing and changing patterns of thinking. This helps to change feelings and behavior.

Interpersonal psychotherapy explores the connection between psychological well-being and problems in relationships with other people. 

Psychodynamic psychotherapy seeks to help you recognize inner conflicts that may stem from early relationships (for example, with parents, siblings or peers) or other phases in your emotional development.

Group therapy involves a small number of people who meet together and talk under the guidance of a therapist. As with individual therapy, many types of group therapy exist.

Couples therapy teaches people in relationships to understand each other and manage conflicts.

Family therapy addresses the way the entire family functions.

What to expect with counseling

You may need to talk with a few professionals to find one you feel comfortable with. Many talk therapists will offer a free “introductory” session to talk about what services they can offer. 

People with depression usually have one session a week for 8 to 20 weeks. Most counseling sessions last about an hour.

Learn more about professionals who can help with depression

Antidepressants can help treat depression

Antidepressants work by helping to balance chemicals in the brain. They are not addictive.

Antidepressants don't work like aspirin – you can't take them only when you feel bad, and stop taking them when you feel better. You must take them as directed by your doctor. It can take a few weeks before they start to work.

Many types of antidepressants are available. Sometimes the first one that your doctor prescribes is not helpful. That’s okay. Some people need to try several antidepressants before finding one that works for them.

Read questions and answers about antidepressants

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