Counseling for Depression

For some people, counseling, also called talk therapy, has been found to be as effective as medicine for mild to moderate depression. When done by a trained professional, this treatment is a powerful way to better understand your thoughts and feelings. Like medicine, it may take time before you notice how much counseling is helping.

Man sitting and talking to health care professional.

Kinds of talk therapy

Different counselors use different methods for talk therapy. But all therapy aims to help change how you think about your problem. Most therapy for depression is often done one-on-one. But it may also be done in a group setting. You and your healthcare provider can discuss the type of therapy you think would work best for you. You can also discuss who the best person is to provide the therapy.

How therapy helps

Talking about your problems can help them seem less overwhelming. It can help work through problems you have with your life and your relationships. It can also help you understand how depression is clouding your thinking, not letting you see the world the way it really is. Therapy can give you:

  • Insight about your emotions

  • New tools for dealing with your problems

  • Emotional support for making progress

Getting better takes time

Talk therapy can help you feel better. But change doesn’t happen right away. Depression takes away your energy and motivation. So it can be hard to feel like going to therapy and sticking with it. But therapy has been proven to be very valuable in the treatment of depression. Therapy for depression is often done for a set number of sessions. In other cases, you and your therapist decide together at what point you no longer need therapy.

Additional sources of help

In addition to a professional counselor, it may help to talk to other people in your life. You may find support and insight from:

  • A close friend or family member

  • A clergy member trained in counseling

  • A local support group or community group

  • A 12-step program (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) for dealing with problems that can contribute to depression, such as alcohol or drug addiction