Therapy for Depression
Depression is a serious emotional affliction that impairs a person’s being (how s/he eats, sleeps, thinks, reacts, etc.). People with depression usually experience loss of interest in all types of activities and have general low energy levels that persist with time. Often, depression is accompanied by limited emotional expression, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness or social withdrawal. It may manifest itself through physical difficulties that cannot otherwise be explained. For example, sleep disturbances (early awakening, oversleeping; insomnia), headaches, eating/digestive disorders, or chronic pains that do not respond to analgesics. Also, concentration and memory difficulties; struggling to make decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability may be experienced. People may even be facing thoughts of death, self-harm or suicide. Consider that one of every twenty-five suicide attempts results in death; it seems important to pay special attention to depressive symptoms.
If you or someone you know is presenting several of the described symptoms, a clinical evaluation is highly recommended. It is true that depression may require a professional intervention for a long period of time, but keep in mind that most people with depression improve over time. It is important remember that suicide, in its infinite variety, is a major problem throughout the world. In Spain, suicide is the most prevalent cause of death not related to natural causes (higher than car accidents). Depression cannot be wished away.
Psychotherapy will help you to gain freedom, to make free choices instead of responding automatically to a painful event. We´ll focus on helping you differentiate past from present, and attributions from reality. Hopefully, you will gain understanding on how to relate to the present without misperceptions, or misinterpretations in terms of past experiences. You will be able to evaluate the unrealistic nature of automatic reactions and feelings to facilitate appropriate decisions on a more mature and realistic level.
Most people recover from depression with the appropriate treatment. Several factors are present when developing depression, such as social, psychological, and environmental factors and they may differ in prevalence depending on age, gender, and ethnicity.
There are many types of therapies that have proved to be helpful. Each have different tools that are particularly effective. When working through depression, I integrate several effective tools, understanding that the approach is grounded on sociodynamic understanding of the human psyche. Among others, from Beck, I´ve incorporated the usage of confrontation of cognitive distortions such as (1) arbitrary inference (drawing a specific conclusion without supporting evidence, even in the face of contradictory evidence); (2) selective abstraction (conceptualizing a situation on the basis of a detail taken out of context and, ignoring other information); (3) overgeneralization (abstracting a general rule from one or a few isolated incidents and applying it too broadly and to unrelated situation); (4) magnification and minimization (seeing something as far more significant or less significant than it actually is); (5) personalization (attributing external events to oneself without evidence supporting a causal connection); (6) dichotomized thinking (categorizing experiences in one of the two extremes, e.g. as complete success or total failure).
But the most important work we will do is to go back and forth to explore the here and now of your suffering. We will search for answers to both your conscious and unconscious struggles. Exploration will present us your environment, your family relationships and your way of relating to others. As you experience awareness in your daily life, it will bring understanding to your feelings. In identifying the problem, you will find your solution. You will be empowered to address and extinguish the issues you face.
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