The Benefits of Therapy for Depression
Meta Description: Therapy is one of the most commonly recommended treatments for depression. Here are some of the common benefits of therapy for depression.
A 2020 survey by the CDC shows that over 20 percent of American adults received some form of mental health treatment over the last 12 months. Out of this population, over 10 percent received therapy from a mental health practitioner. Today, talk therapy is used to treat an array of mental health disorders, including depression. Considering how therapy has become a mainstay in mental health treatment, it’s worth looking at what it is, how it works, and how it’s beneficial for depression.
What is Psychotherapy?
This includes a range of treatments designed to help you understand and change the unhelpful emotions and behaviors underlying mental health concerns. This includes depressed mood, anxiety, and chronic stress. Only licensed professionals can provide psychotherapy, which can be conducted in individual and group settings.
How Talk Therapy Works?
In psychotherapy, your mental health practitioner will ask numerous questions in the initial session. This is to understand your background and history, which is important to narrow down suitable treatment options. Your therapist may ask about things like whether your family has a history of mental health disorders and if you’ve experienced any past trauma. It’s an open-ended dialogue about the problems you’re facing because of your mental health condition.
Therapy continues until you see improvements in your behaviors, so there’s no specific timeline. However, research shows that it’s best when treatment is continued over six months to a year. To learn more about other treatments for depression, visit urpbehavioralhealth.com.
Types of Therapy
The American Psychological Association brands five main approaches to psychotherapy. These include the following:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This form of therapy focuses on what you think and how it affects your behavior. Therapists who employ a cognitive behavioral approach believe that dysfunctional thoughts result in unhelpful behaviors and emotions. When you change your thoughts, you can change how you feel and behave. It’s the most common evidence-based therapy used for addressing several mental health disorders, including depression.
According to the behavioral approach, unhelpful behaviors are learned through reinforcement and building associations. Instead of replacing thoughts like in CBT, behavioral therapy seeks to replace self-destructive behaviors by reinforcing healthier ones.
Instead of looking at your weaknesses, the humanistic approach focuses on your virtues and strengths. It does this by seeing clients as people with the capacity to unlock their full potential and make informed choices. Sub-types of humanistic therapy include existential, gestalt, and client-centered therapy.
When you hear the word ‘talk therapy,’ chances are that you think about psychodynamic therapy. It’s much less structured than cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of therapy examines the effects of unconscious motivations and thoughts on behaviors to understand what causes them.
The last type is an integrative approach, also known as holistic therapy. In this form of therapy, your mental health practitioner designed a personalized plan incorporating elements from different therapies to address your needs.
Benefits of Therapy for Depression
The following are some of the biggest benefits of treating depression with psychotherapy:
You Get a New Perspective
Depression has a fundamental effect on the way you think, causing you to have more negative thoughts. Over time, these thought patterns become more rigid, changing how you see yourself and others. Speaking to someone besides close friends and family members allows you to get a different perspective on problems.
With a newfound understanding of your problem, you’re more likely to come up with effective solutions. It also helps you recognize damaging and limiting behavior patterns, which is the first step towards learning new coping skills and taking necessary steps towards a positive change.
It Delivers Long-Lasting Results
According to research on the efficacy of therapy, it provides both short and long-term results. Compared to pharmacological treatments, the effects of psychotherapy last longer and don’t cause any harmful side effects. When working with a therapist, you’ll address immediate issues like low mood and lack of pleasure in activities you previously enjoyed. At the same time, they’ll help you build the necessary skills to avoid more persistent symptoms like feelings of worthlessness and helplessness.
Changes Your Brain
Neuroimaging studies involving people with depression show that the condition causes lasting changes in the brain. Therapy can help reverse these changes and strengthen neural pathways that help you think differently. Because therapy provides you with a space to put your feelings into words, it encourages you to apply different systems of your brain. Over time, this contributes to significant changes in how your brain works. Various studies show that psychotherapy triggers similar changes as medication, but it ultimately depends on the treatment modalities. Some of these include increased metabolism in the dorsal cingulate and hippocampus.
Builds Coping Skills
Stress is one of the biggest precursors to a mental health disorder. Even if you don’t develop a disorder, it can cause feelings of anxiety and mood disturbances. When you struggle with depression, stressful events can trigger a relapse and undo crucial progress. And when you’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
To prevent this from happening, your therapist will help you build effective coping skills. These skills allow you to become more resilient when faced with stressful events.
By discussing your concerns with your therapist, you start to develop a better understanding of your problems. This encourages you to identify different ways to solve your problems. In situations where you feel overwhelmed because of a larger problem, your therapist can help you break it down into smaller, achievable tasks.
Ensures Treatment Adherence
Therapy isn’t just a one-on-one experience. Rather, it can involve addressing your problems in a group setting as well. When you’re depressed, seeing people at different stages of their recovery journey can motivate you to continue treatment. It also gives you a space to practice your coping skills and socialize with other people, allowing you to feel a sense of community.