Whilst many different forms of psychotherapy and counselling (talking therapies) can be effective for depression, they are not all the same. Rather than try to explain the differences between the literally thousands of different types of talking therapy (the range of which can confuse even mental health professionals!) let's talk about two major types: depth therapies and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
A short course of CBT is what you are most likely to receive for depression via the public health system in New Zealand. Until relatively recently research has suggested that it may be the best option for depression because it can be effective in a short time period (often six sessions or less) and can even be delivered via a computer program because it's highly standardised. CBT therapists will, for example, challenge their clients to be less pessimistic in their thinking, and to change their behaviour by getting physically more active and by re-engaging socially. It's a cost effective option for a public health system - as long as you don't count the research that points out that people have a high relapse rate after doing CBT.
Depth therapy may or may not last for more sessions than CBT, but in contrast it does try to get to the root of the unique emotional disturbance that is at the heart of an experience of depression, rather than just managing your symptoms. At Lucid Psychotherapy & Counselling, we practice mindfulness based psychotherapy and counselling, relational psychotherapy, ecotherapy, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic psychotherapies, and intensive short term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP), which are all forms of depth therapy. Doing a form of depth therapy can be more than just removing symptoms, it can be profound and life changing.
If you're interested in the recent research that has made the NHS (UK public health system) rethink it's over-reliance on CBT compared to depth therapies, have a look at this great summary in the guardian, here.
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