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Types of Psychotherapy for Depression

Which Treatment is Right for You?

-- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert
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Clearly, these major types of therapy are quite different in their assumptions and approaches, and none of them is appropriate for every individual. To a certain extent, the decision of which to use may be indicated by the nature of your problems. People who have a long history of recurring major depression, very severe depression, or a combination of major depression and other chronic mental or physical health issues to contend with, may not be able to benefit as much from a short course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and may need longer term treatment. Your therapist can help you figure out this aspect of the decision.

But it’s also important for you to feel like the treatment you receive is relevant and helpful to you, and to have a voice in deciding what kind of approach you want to try. You’re the one who will have to do the work, after all. Hopefully, this information will help you make the best decision.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • DIVAFASH
    Thanks for explaining the different yet complex forms of psychotherapy.

    I was never presented with these types of explanations on each. I have seen at least 3 people; and most recently decided to stop seeing the last person but felt bad that I was not going to see her anymore...more because I feel that I was back to point A with my depression, however, after reading your article, I can resonate more with the two types I know will do me good! I know now that I will be looking for help and seeing the qualifications/ex
    perience to feel better of the type of therapy I will have! Big ah-ha moment for me!

    I will meet with my health care provider before the end of the month...looking forward to to this visit, my doctor, and will bring up my concerns with depression and treatment I have had in the past. This article couldn't have come to at a better time than now!

    I have more confidence to ask questions at this visit soon. There is something more that can be done by me with the right therapy; not just taking a drug to treat depression! That is powerful to know and there is quite some work ahead for me to do, but I am excited to know more of my options; this is also liberating.

    Thank you again!

    *** Blessings to all who have written a comment on this article as well! Your comments encouraged me to leave a comment *** - 2/13/2013 10:28:06 PM
  • Great article! I wanted to comment to let folks know that CBT has worked amazingly well for me, even though my depression is severe and has been recurring over a long period of time. I was able to work my way out of my most recent depressive episode with the help of my therapist, and am optimistic that I am better-equipped to deal with episodes in the future. I agree that trust and feeling comfortable with your therapist are absolutely key. - 7/20/2012 6:15:00 PM
  • Lil pinguino, I sent you an email. - 1/30/2011 5:49:44 AM
  • if i dont have insurance, are there places that offer free counseling? - 3/28/2010 3:37:34 PM
  • I have to say...this article was excellent. I usually find this expert's articles enlightening and this one was exceptionally so. I have had bouts of mild-moderate depression for several years and now realize that they are often triggered by specific events-like catastrophic relationships. His descriptions of the different types of therapy were fascinating and have triggered my interest in perhaps returning to a counselor. - 1/9/2010 11:24:18 AM
  • This was a very helpful article for me. A few months ago, I decided to go see a therapist because I knew I was suffering from post-partum depression, and it was starting to take a toll on my mental health, patience with my son, and patience with my husband. I have good relationships with my parents, siblings, in-laws, husband, and friends, so what I was looking for was a set of tools to use to control the suicidal/irration
    al thoughts.

    I realize now that I went in thinking I would be getting CBT. The therapist I was seeing was a family and marriage counselor, so she must have been trained in IPT. So the reason I wasn't getting much out of the sessions was that she was trying to get at some sort of messed up important personal relationship, and I was looking for those tools. No wonder something didn't feel quite right! I left after about 8 sessions.

    Now I know to look for a CBT therapist if I end up needing one in the future. - 7/27/2009 3:03:13 PM
  • Very Interesting article. I just completed a brief program that hit on all of these topics. - 6/14/2009 8:40:14 PM
  • SHERI1969
    This is very true and I wish everybody on this site would read this article; especially the people who don't think their emotions are within their control. I used to think that way but years of therapy and medication have helped. I'm not cured, but I'm at a decent level. Great article! - 1/20/2009 11:41:14 PM
  • Great article. I like Dr. Phil's method "You are fat because you want to be." WOW, when he said that I thought he was crazy, but as I listened, I had to admit that it did have a "pay-off" and was serving a purpose in my life and that I first had to acknowledge the problem before I could change it. Just wasn't until I found SPARKPEOPLE that I had the tools to make it all work. - 3/30/2008 1:24:41 PM
  • Treatments that target behavior, in my experience are the most effective. Especially if they are used in conjunction with medication. I believe my medication is what allows me to modify my own behavior.
    Lynn - 2/11/2008 10:51:53 AM
  • GAZELLA
    Thanks, Coach Dean, for explaining the complexity of psychotherapy with such depth and clarity! - 1/13/2008 9:35:53 AM