Everybody has bad days, and everyone has bad stuff happen to them. Sometimes you just need someone to offer a listening ear to what you’re going through and help you to strategize how to handle it all.
But what if it’s more than just feeling a little down? Depression can be tricky like that. It can sneak up on your gradually, and what initially just felt like a bad mood, now is an everyday struggle.
Your energy levels are notably low. That makes it difficult to not only get up and face the day but to just complete the most basic tasks. It’s harder to show up to school or work. Activities that used to make you happy or at least bring you some sort of joy now seem lame or not worth the effort. You find yourself pulling away from others, isolating yourself from friends or colleagues. You often find yourself questioning the point of it all and maybe you’ve even wished that you didn’t have to wake up each day. The hardest part about being in such a funk is pulling yourself out of it. That negative mood seeps in so slowly, that it’s hard to even pinpoint when it started. You might be able to look back at other times in your life, and think – well, I was happy then, but it’s hard to identify what exactly changed.
When you’re in this state it can be very hard to build up the strength to reach out for help. Motivation and energy are at a low point and you may feel beyond help. I try to make it as easy as possible. You don’t even have to call – with a few clicks, you can book yourself a consult right from the comfort of your spot on the couch.
Treatment for Depression
You may question whether I’m the right person to help you. And that’s a fair question. I’m not a fortune-teller, so while I can’t guarantee you’ll feel better after working together, I can say that I do have training and experience to treat individuals with mood disorders like depression. I recently finished an intensive training on depression-specific treatment, and I’m also in the process of becoming a certified CBT Clinician by the Beck Institute, which not something you really need to be familiar with, but is the biggest name in CBT training/research.
The recommended treatment protocol for Depression is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is an evidenced-based treatment that has shown significant efficacy in reducing symptoms of depression (like feeling sad or hopeless). CBT utilizes the Cognitive Model to explore the dynamics that plays out between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The theory holds that thoughts and behaviors combine to inform how we feel on a moment to moment basis. If you can change your thoughts and change your behaviors, a mood change will follow. Now, that’s a simplistic version of how this works, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what CBT is about. This differs from psychodynamic (think Freud) therapy in which you just talk about whatever. CBT is not interested in talking about whatever. CBT is interested in identify the core elements of what’s not working and focusing on those specific problems.
Next Steps for Treatment
After your initial consultation, you’ll be asked to schedule an intake assessment. This is a longer-than-normal session during which I’m going to ask you more questions about your medical and personal background. I’ll send you a few surveys to fill out prior to this session to get a sense of the severity of the feelings you’ve been experiencing. Once I finish collecting all the data, we’ll talk about how you would like life to be different, which will look different for everyone. Based on the data you provide, and the initial goals you set, we’ll create you initial treatment plan – or basically our way forward. Using CBT as our framework, this generally means identifying 1) the thoughts that get in the way of you living how you want to live 2) the behaviors/actions that aren’t helping you reach your goals and c) the beliefs that are ultimately keeping you stuck.
At each subsequent session, we’ll set our agenda in order to decide how to spend our time. We’ll briefly check-in about your mood/depression and any significant happenings over the past week, and then we’ll dig into the bulk of the problems that brought you in int he first place. During a given session, we may focus on talking about depression and its effects, exploring your thought patterns, brainstorming solutions to specific problems and building emotional awareness skills. Feedback is a significant part of therapy with me, so if we start to derail, or something isn’t working for you, we can shift.