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Is psychotherapy for me?

How Can Psychotherapy Help?

When you work with a skilled psychotherapist, you can:

  • learn about depression and how it affects you
  • feel less alone
  • cope better with having depression
  • learn to recognize and avoid situations that can bring on a depressive episode
  • stop episodes of depression early by recognizing warning signs and symptoms
  • learn to view the world and others more positively and more realistically
  • improve relations with your family, friends, and coworkers
  • positively address problems that you may be facing

Studies have shown that some types of short-term talk therapy - also known as psychotherapy - are as effective as antidepressant medications in treating mild or moderate depression. Psychotherapy is often combined with antidepressants for treating depression, but psychotherapy alone can be effective for mild depression.

In psychotherapy, a qualified mental health therapist - usually a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor - listens, talks, and helps you develop better strategies for solving your problems.

Therapy can change your brain. Psychotherapy is more than "just talking." Just as the process of learning changes the brain, psychotherapy also changes the brain. In fact, experts say that psychotherapy actually changes the way the brain functions.

Therapy can help you feel less alone. A skilled therapist can listen, encourage, and support you as well as monitor your progress. He or she can provide understanding, feedback, advice, information, and education. Psychotherapy offers a close, supportive, one-on-one relationship. The sense of support, connection, and caring can help you lose your feelings of loneliness and alienation.

Therapy can help heal old wounds. Often, people cope with difficult life events by burying painful feelings. Talking about the events can take the power out of them, help you deal with the emotions, and allow you to move on. A skilled therapist can help you be more realistic about your situation and help you feel less helpless and more powerful.

Therapy can help you move toward a more positive future. Therapy can help you develop an action plan for putting yourself back in control of your life and your emotions.

Will Psychotherapy Alone Help Me?

Note which of the statements below apply to you. The more that apply, the more likely that psychotherapy alone may work for you.

  • I have mild or moderate depression.
  • Psychotherapy has been successful for me in the past.
  • Antidepressant medication alone hasn't eliminated all of my symptoms.
  • I have long-term problems with my relationships with others.
  • I have health problems that won't allow me to take antidepressants.
  • I don't want to take antidepressants.

If you decide to participate in psychotherapy to help treat your depression, see What Do I Need to Know If I'm in Psychotherapy?