Jul 20th 2023
Depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder and persistent depression disorder, are common mental health conditions that can cause severe impairments in functioning and quality of life. Often, depression is best treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Various types of therapy are available, including mental health counseling.
Depression counseling is a type of mental health talk therapy provided to individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression. Mental health counselors can provide support and guidance around managing emotional distress by assisting individuals in learning how to cope with challenging symptoms and experiences .
Someone with depression may seek counseling if they have a specific issue they wish to work through, if they are struggling to overcome certain symptoms or behaviors, or for general support in managing their condition and improving their mental well-being .
Counseling for depression can involve various techniques and approaches, depending on the counselor’s training and the requirements or preferences of the individual. Additionally, counseling could be provided to an individual, a couple, a family, or in a group .
Symptoms of depression may have emerged due to a specific stressor or event that can be the focus of discussion and treatment. Alternatively, it may have occurred due to a complex combination of factors, which can be explored and managed with a particular type of therapeutic intervention .
The professional should have specialized training to provide these treatment plans. Not all counselors or therapists will be trained in all these areas. As such, if there is a specific type of therapy you would prefer to utilize, you can search for a professional with this specialized training .
Alternatively, counselors can provide a less structured or specialized type of therapy. This may look like discussing the individual’s symptoms and experiences and providing supportive guidance in managing emotional, professional, or practical difficulties .
Regardless, counseling can help individuals improve mental well-being through goal setting, building self-esteem, and learning communication and interpersonal skills. The counselor can help the individual to recognize solutions to emotional and life difficulties and develop problem-solving and coping strategies .
Counseling is often provided in a limited number of sessions, depending on the focus of treatment and type of intervention. Typically, sessions will be between 45 minutes to one hour and may be provided weekly or more regularly if required. Sessions will usually continue until a resolution or management strategy is found for the individual’s specific concerns .
The words ‘counseling’ and ‘psychotherapy’ are often used interchangeably. Both terms reference forms of talk therapy where a licensed professional helps individuals cope with emotional distress. However, they are technically somewhat different.
Counseling is typically provided to someone experiencing a specific issue or concern and can help guide the individual through this time. Counseling is usually delivered over several sessions and stopped when the issue is managed effectively. This may be related to mental health but can also focus on education, career, or other life aspects .
Psychotherapy can be a more long-term treatment for someone with a persistent or severe mental health condition, including depression, a trauma-related disorder, or bipolar disorder. Additionally, counseling might be used within psychotherapy treatment .
Usually, a psychotherapist has more advanced mental health training than a counselor, although both require some training and accreditation. Psychotherapy could be provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, specialized therapist, or other licensed mental health professional .
Specific treatment approaches are often used in psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Counselors may not be trained in these types of therapy, so they may utilize a more general supportive approach to treatment. However, certain counselors are trained to use these specific techniques .
So, while technically different, counseling can occur within psychotherapy, and various psychotherapy approaches may occur within counseling. As such, the two overlap in several aspects and can both be valuable treatments for conditions such as depression.
Medicare can cover 80% of mental health counseling and therapy costs. You should check your approved amounts as well as any deductibles and coinsurance costs. Furthermore, you may need to check if the counselor or therapist you wish to meet with accepts Medicare assignments .
Aside from counseling and psychotherapy, treatment for depression might include medications. Furthermore, it is possible to manage or reduce depression symptoms with self-care techniques.
Antidepressants are a group of medications often used in the treatment of depression. There are several types of antidepressants, and they each work slightly differently. People have varying responses to antidepressants, so what works well for one person may not be effective for another. As such, it may be necessary to try several different medications before finding one that works well for you .
It is vital to take medications exactly as your doctor prescribes to prevent adverse effects. If you experience prolonged or distressing side effects or wish to stop or change your medication, you should discuss this with your doctor, and they can make necessary alterations to your prescription.
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