Psychotherapy for Depression

Several types of psychotherapy—or “talk therapy”—can help people with depression. There are several types of psychotherapies that may be effective in treating depression. Examples include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy.

Now I’m seeing the specialist on a regular basis for “talk therapy,” which helps me learn ways to deal with this illness in my everyday life, and I’m taking medicine for depression. I’m starting to feel more like myself again. Without treatment, I felt like everything was dark—as if I was looking at life through tinted glasses. Treatment is helping it clear.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help an individual with depression change negative thinking. It can help you interpret your environment and interactions in a positive, realistic way. It may also help you recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help you change behaviors that may be making the depression worse.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT is designed to help an individual understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause the depression or make it worse. When a behavior is causing problems, IPT may help you change the behavior. In IPT, you explore major issues that may add to your depression, such as grief, or times of upheaval or transition.

Problem-Solving Therapy (PST)

PST can improve an individual’s ability to cope with stressful life experiences. It is an effective treatment option, particularly for older adults with depression. Using a step-by-step process, you identify problems and come up with realistic solutions. It is a short-term therapy and may be conducted in an individual or group format.

For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy may be the best option. However, for severe depression or for certain people, psychotherapy may not be enough. For teens, a combination of medication and psychotherapy may be the most effective approach to treating major depression and reducing the chances of it coming back. Another study looking at depression treatment among older adults found that people who responded to initial treatment of medication and IPT were less likely to have recurring depression if they continued their combination treatment for at least 2 years.


Reference: The National Institute of Mental Health

Last updated May 2017

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

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