Treatment Of Depression
“Problem focused therapy, long-term emotional control…”
Depression has been called the common cold of mental health. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is effective in helping people who suffer from depression because it is both a skills based and action oriented therapy. Analyzing your past or simply having a warm relationship with a psychotherapist will not help you in overcoming feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Here is a brief outline of the REBT understanding of depression. It begins with the ABC model of depression:
(A) Activating Event
· You perceive a loss or failure in an area which you hold dear (i.e. your personal domain). This may be a loss of autonomy or a loss in your connection or relationship to significant others.
(B) Beliefs: Here you hold unhelpful beliefs which lead to your depression and hopelessness
· “I absolutely should not have suffered this loss.”
· “Because I have suffered this loss and I have failed in some way this proves I am defective, inadequate, or worthless.”
(C) Consequences of your beliefs:
· Emotional consequence (Depression and Hopelessness)
· Behavioral consequence (you withdraw from life, sleep, become inactive)
· Thinking consequence (You focus on the negative, assume the future is hopeless, and that you are helpless to change the course of future events or find any happiness given the loss that you have suffered)
Effective therapy for depression begins by teaching you the ABC model of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and how to use it to understand the real source of your depressive reaction, your unhelpful beliefs about the perceived loss and failure. Once you see that (A) Activating Event does not entirely cause your feelings at (C) Consequence but that your beliefs or (B) play an important role you begin to have hope. I will teach you how to question your unhelpful beliefs like “I absolutely should not have suffered this loss. It proves I am defective and a failure.” Through our discussions I will show you how to adopt a different and more useful belief like “This loss is very bad and it is sad that it has occurred. I wish it had not occurred but it has. I can either withdraw from life or accept that it has occurred and work on finding pleasure despite this loss and failure. I am worthwhile even though I may have contributed to this failure.” Furthermore, I will teach you how to resume active engagement in life and interrupt your inactivity rut. I will assign challenging but not overwhelming homework assignments aimed at helping you change your depressive philosophy and to protect yourself from returning into the rut of depression.
In summary, the treatment of depression begins with education about the relationship between your beliefs and your depressive feelings and subsequent withdrawal. I will quickly zero in on your specific beliefs and begin to help you change those beliefs so you become liberated from the grip of depression. Finally, we will rehearse new behaviors and coping skills so that you would leave the session ready to take real steps in changing your behavior. Lastly, between sessions I will send you Intermittent Reinforcement emails aimed at reminding you how to think and behave differently in your home, work and social environments so that you make progress in an efficient manner. My goal is to teach you how to ultimately become resilient and your own therapist so that you do not have to be a lifelong consumer of psychotherapeutic services.
Phone: 212-750-2826 to schedule an appointment.
Dryden, W. (2003). The REBT Pocket Companion for Clients. New York: Albert Ellis Institute.