Depression counselling

How Can Counselling For Depression Help Me?


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Written by Emma Reliason

B.A. - Psychologist

19 Apr, 2022

We’ve all experienced sadness from time to time. We’ve all experienced the utter exhaustion a bad day can bring. 

However, if you’re feeling intense sorrow for more than a few weeks, there’s a chance you might be one of the 3 million Australians suffering from depression

While there really is nothing “good” about depression, you should find comfort knowing increased awareness and support has exploded over the last few years.

With counselling services, you don’t have to face this mental illness alone. 

So, how can counselling for depression help you? 

How Do I Know I’m Depressed?

Differentiating sadness from depression can be tricky since many symptoms overlap. When it comes to being diagnosed with depression the key factor is time. 

Depression is classified as intense feelings of being miserable or down for at least two weeks. In addition, it’s likely you may be experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in your usual activities

  • Staying isolated

  • Withdrawing from family or friends

  • Increase in drugs or alcohol

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Lack of appetite

  • Sleep difficulties (either too much or too little)

  • Weight loss / gain

When it comes to depression, this mental illness manifests in many other ways besides “sadness”. Sadness is just the tip of the iceberg and the range of emotions involved is a wide spectrum. 

If you’re depressed you may be feeling:

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Overwhelmed

  • Irritable

  • Disappointed

  • Unmotivated

  • Numb

  • Tired (all the time)

Different Types Of Depression:

Not only is depression a spectrum in terms of how symptoms present themselves, but depression can also show up in different forms. 

Each type of depression can bring about mild to severe symptoms, however no matter how intense these feelings may be - they are often still debilitating. 

The most common types of depression are:

  • Major depression: Defined by a long term consistently depressed mood, followed by a withdrawal from the world around you, loss of interest in things that once made you happy, and a considerable impairment in basic tasks.

  • Dysthymic disorder: This disorder is often viewed as a milder, yet longer-lasting version of depression. Symptoms must be present for at least 2 years, and a diagnosis requires 2 or more symptoms of depression. 

  • Bipolar Disorder: Formerly called ‘manic depression’ this type is classified by intense periods of motivated, productive highs, followed by intense periods of depressing lows. These mood swings can last from a few weeks to a few months. 

  • Cyclothymic disorder: This rare type of mood disorder is categorised as a milder form of bipolar disorder. While you can see a significant shift in your mood from your usual baseline, you don’t experience manic highs or depressing lows. 

  • Seasonal depression: If your depression occurs around the same time every year, and is triggered by the cold, winter months, you’re probably experiencing seasonal depression. It’s much more prevalent in climates where weather changes throughout the year are significant. 

How Counselling Services Can Help Your Depression:

As unfortunate as it may be, depression is often unlikely to disappear without help. 

For those with milder symptoms, lifestyle changes and increased education about depression can alleviate a majority of symptoms. 

However, for those with more severe, long term depression, counselling is needed. 

Talk Therapy:

Many therapists specialising in depression and mood disorders use talk therapy. 

This allows you, the patient, to speak freely with an unbiased third party, without judgement. 

Your counselling will give you a safe space to cry, talk, shout or think. For many people, their therapist’s office is the only environment they feel comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts. 

Talk therapy, no matter what kind, helps immensely with understanding why you may be feeling the way you do. 

Changing The Way You Think:

When it comes to depression, our negative thoughts are on a constant loop. 

By meeting with a counsellor, you have a trained professional ready and willing to help you change those negative thinking patterns. 

By monitoring and changing the course of toxic thinking you’re able to develop healthy coping skills to use when those thoughts may arise.  

Once therapy is finished, you’ll be able to walk freely knowing you have the tools and skills needed when life gets stressful or difficult. 

Equips You With New Coping Skills:

Coping skills are a fundamental part of therapy that helps you in the moment, but also in future years to come. 

By learning coping skills to manage your depression, you’ll be equipped and ready to put up a good fight when depression comes around the corner. 

A few coping skills you may learn in therapy are:

  • Healthy Eating: While your therapist isn’t a dietician, there’s no doubt there is a vital link between what we put in our bodies, and how our mental health responds.  Not only are healthy foods incredibly important, depression can often manifest as eating disorders (whether that is eating too much or not eating at all).  With the guidance of a therapist you can learn coping skills to provide your body with adequate nutrition. 

  • Mindfulness Practices: When it comes to mindfulness and depression, techniques like yoga, meditation and self reflective journaling can make a world of a difference. Through counselling, your therapist can assign you ‘homework’ to enable you to work on your best self in between sessions.  Through mindfulness techniques you’ll see a decrease in stress, anxiety and other negative emotions, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll develop a more grounded sense of self awareness.

  • Affirmations: A therapist can guide you through affirmations in order to boost your self confidence and change any negative mindsets.  Affirmations may feel uncomfortable at first, but that’s exactly what a counsellor can assist with.  Not only can they ease you into the practice, they can support you when you may feel inadequate or uneasy about these positive unconscious messages. 

Counselling Can Help You See Brighter Days:

Many people feel as though they can manage their depression alone, and often these people spend the rest of their lives trying to cope. These coping mechanisms are typically far from healthy or productive. 

Depression can be wholly and completely debilitating. Activities that once brought you joy, no longer evoke any positive emotions

Counselling for depression can help you see the light again. 

Not only will your licensed professional listen intently, but they will also guide you in making healthier choices, understanding your emotions, and ridding your brain of negative thoughts. 

You don’t have to walk through depression alone, counselling is there to help you see a brighter day ahead.

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Emma Reliason

B.A. - Psychologist

Emma is an accomplished writer with a passion for mental health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology where she gained insight into why people think, feel and behave the way they do.

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