Everyone gets down at times. It’s a normal part of living. You may even use the word “depressed” to describe your state of mind. Depression — with a capital D — is a common diagnosable mental health disorder that requires professional intervention. It’s treatable and such treatment can be supplemented with self-help steps.
Someone who is feeling blue might be able to rely on self-help to alter their mood. A person diagnosed with a depressive disorder needs much more. With all this as a preface, let’s examine some effective self-help options before digging into a psychological approach called psychodynamic therapy.
Common Self-help Suggestions for Depression
- Acceptance: Understanding where you are and how common this disorder is
- Set Realistic Goals: Work with your depression instead of against it
- Talk Back to Your Inner Voice: Depression loves to tell sad tales but you can create counter-narratives
- Let Others Know How You Feel: Do not struggle alone
- Create Routines: Structure is Your friend
- Help Others: Studies show that acts of kindness are effective at balancing out the depression
- Practice Self-Care: Safeguard your daily habits, e.g. eating, sleeping, and physical activity
All of the above (and more), can be useful in complementing a treatment like psychodynamic therapy.
What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
There are three main types of therapies for depression:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
- Psychodynamic Therapy
The first two focus on certain behaviors and thought patterns. They are short-term approaches that aim to develop new patterns. Conversely, Ppsychodynamic therapy seeks to find out why your dysfunctional patterns exist in the first place. It’s open-ended and very much influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis. Psychodynamic therapy may involve more than one session per week.
How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work For Depression?
The process centers on a freewheeling conversation with your therapist. Nothing is off-limits and the therapist learns about the client from their growing relationship. For example, with a depressed client, the psychodynamic therapist will then learn firsthand how the symptoms of depression create interpersonal dynamics and issues.
During the open-ended discussions, several areas of focus will be explored, e.g.
Recognizing Defense Mechanisms
To dig down the root causes of the problems, it is necessary to work past the client’s defense mechanisms. These are methods by which the client avoids dealing with subjects they deem to be difficult or uncomfortable.
Acknowledge the Range of Emotions
Depression involves a wide range of feelings — from sadness to anger to dissociation to grief and beyond. These emotions must be explored and understood. Almost certainly, the client will become aware of feelings they hadn’t previously been aware of. This process empowers the client to start doing the same on their own. They begin to better comprehend the connections between current feelings and past experiences.
Identifying and Addressing Patterns
All of us have habits and behaviors that seem invisible but very much impact our lives. Psychodynamic therapy helps drag these patterns out into the light. Talking with the therapist is about where and how the patterns are revealed to both participants. Naturally, this helps return the focus to past events that may have contributed to the behaviors currently holding the client back.
Another pattern to consider involves fantasy life. What does the client dream about? What does the client daydream about? How does a fantasy life play a role in daily life?
Self-Help + Psychodynamic Therapy
The parallel tracks of self-care and therapy combine to expedite the recovery process. This healing journey commences with you learning more about depression therapy and reaching out to learn more about how it all works. Let’s connect and work together to free you from the confines of depression.