Sunday, August 22, 2010

Therapy and Depression Part II

I would like to mention one more time that it is crucial that the client feel safe, and secure with her therapist. Without this in place, both the client and therapist will not be able to do what is necessary to alleviate her depressive symptoms.

The first step in the process is to install hope within the client. This can be done in a number of ways. The therapist can educate the client about depression and simply remind her that depression can be worked through. This is important because depression breeds a great deal of hopelessness and helplessness. Also, it’s important to educate the client about therapy and to explain how therapy will help her. Moreover, the therapist should remind the client that what she is experiencing is a normal part of depression and that she is not “going crazy.” However, the client should be continuously monitored for dangerousness to self and others.
After the working alliance has been established, the client understands that she will get the help she needs and that there is hope, the therapist and client will begin to explore for possible sources of her depressed mood. Typically, I like to utilize open ended questioning, empathic listening, and positive regard to encourage the client to elaborate about her environment, moods, thoughts, physical reactions and behaviors. As she does this, I make mental notes of thought, behavior and interpersonal patterns that may be contributing to her depressive symptoms. Through this dialogue with her therapist the client should be gaining valuable insight into how she has been supporting her symptoms all along. This is important.

The next step includes encouraging the client to start making changes in her behavior and, most importantly, to start practically applying the tools she has learned in session. This final step is vital and should be discussed at length during session. As the client’s symptoms begin to abate, her therapist should continue to encourage her to implement the changes that have contributed to the alleviation of the symptoms. It is also highly recommend that books and other educational materials be included as part of the treatment to augment the sessions.

In conclusion, I hope this brief synopsis about therapy and depression has enlightened the reader about how therapy can help alleviate depressive symptoms. If anyone has any further questions or feedback regarding this matter, feel free to post your questions or feedback in the comment section.


  1. Thanks Travis, I feel safe and have confidence in you. I will go read a chapter of my homework.

  2. Travis: Sounds good! you know i keep sharing your inputs on my wall with my friends. Thanks!