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What Does a Depression Therapist Do?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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A depression therapist is a mental health professional who works with individuals to assist them in overcoming their depression through various techniques including talk therapy. Though each depression therapist may have a slightly different approach to talking with people and treating the mental illness, they typically follow similar methods of identifying potential life causes of the depression, and then providing information about techniques to deal with daily symptoms. Often, this type of therapist will work in conjunction with the patient's physician or psychiatrist if the individual is on medication for his or her depression.

In many cases, a depression therapist will begin by discussing a patient's history with them to help them identify patterns or specific events that may have contributed to the depression. Though often depression is a physiological condition, with no easily identifiable cause, certain life events can certainly contribute to the problem. If the depression began after a big life change, such as a divorce or the loss of a job, the depression therapist will be able to help the patient to deal with his or her feelings about this event, and begin to move forward. Identifying issues that repeat themselves throughout an individual's life, such as failed relationships, can also be helpful at this point.

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The therapist will also begin to work with the patient to identify negative thought patterns or habits, which can significantly worsen depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment used by a depression therapist, which aims to reduce and prevent these negative thought patterns and other behaviors that can contribute to depression, such as poor communication skills that can cause trouble in relationships. The therapist will often provide specific techniques for stopping these destructive thoughts or behaviors in their tracks, and will ask the patient to practice using these techniques in between therapy sessions. Other life changes might also be recommended, such as reducing alcohol intake or increasing exercise, for example.

Though some people find that talk therapy with a depression therapist is all they need to start feeling better, others will also need to be on medication for depression. The therapist will then work in conjunction with a physician to make sure that the patient's care is as effective as possible. If the therapist is a medical doctor, he or she may be able to prescribe the medication directly. It is important for anyone who wants to become a depression therapist to legitimately enjoy working with people and helping others.

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