Psychotherapeutic methods like Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, or Supportive Counseling are sometimes the best answers for depression management. “CBT refers to a range of different structured approaches that are based on the assumption that the way a person feels is closely related to the way a person thinks and the way they behave. The treatment then uses activities to target both the things people think (their cognitions) and the things they do (their behaviours),” according to clinical psychologist Timothy Carey, Ph.D.
Depression is a condition that can be fully managed by a combination of psychotherapies, group therapy being an important one among them. For many people “Group therapy can be more powerful and mutative than individual therapy,” according to Judye Hess, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist. People who suffer from depression often rely on ‘depression chat rooms’ where they have conversations with people who are in similar situation. This might not be the perfect replacement to speaking with a therapist, but it has proven helpful to an increasing number of people.
Group Therapy can be useful for treating depression in all age groups. It is sometimes under professional supervision, or it may be self-guided and informal.
The ABCD of managing depression
Managing depression with the help of any treatment or therapy ensures four basic things, which is known as the ABCD of depression management.
A (accept) — The preliminary focus of dealing with depression is to help the person gain complete insight to his problem. Sufferers of depression often blame the external causes, they fail to accept that they are going through a rough time and they cannot control it. Helping the depressed to accept his situation is the first step for management.
B (build hope) — Depression inevitably brings hopelessness that stops the person from looking at the brighter side of things. Any therapy for depression should focus on building back the hope and supporting the person to get over the grief.
C (challenge negative thoughts) — Any sadness becomes depression because of the negative thoughts we link to it. For example, if a person has recently gone through a breakup, he might start believing all relationships would hurt, or he might feel inferior and aggravate the sadness to a point he becomes depressed. Focusing on how to modify the negative thoughts is very helpful in depression.
D (develop interest) — It is very common that people become disinterested and apathetic in depression, they lose motivation and sometimes find it even difficult to get out of bed. Growing back their interest in things they loved to do motivates them and enhances their mood. That is the reason why depression therapies stress on implementing more pleasurable activities in the schedules.
Benefits of group therapy in managing depression
Eliminates loneliness – Being in a group therapy makes you feel you are not the only one who is in pain. It brings back hope and makes you feel a part of the group.
Widens perspective – In group therapy sessions, people discuss with each other about their problems. Knowing about the severity of others might make you feel you are in a better position and help in recovering from the depression. It lets you change the way you look at the problems.
Lets you be your judge – Many people who have undergone formal or informal group therapy reported that by the time the sessions ended, they could understand the faults in their thinking and could self-motivate themselves.
Allows meaningful communication – Talking to people who are sailing in the same boat is comforting for the sufferers of depression. They find it easy to confide in as they feel the others would ‘understand’ them. Communication leads to the exchange of thoughts and feelings and makes the person come out of the cocoon.
Brings back the energy in activities – Depression brings hopelessness and makes us lose the energy we previously had. Group therapies have well-planned activities where people participate in groups. It brings back the energy and motivation to work as a team and makes a happy ambiance around. At the end of group sessions, depressed people are seen making new friends and talking their hearts out with each other.
As Matt Lucas had said and we all should believe, keeping ourselves busy is essential if we want to fight depression. “A number of studies have found that results can be as good as with a psychologist if one completes a counselled self-help course. You can do that with a psychologist, with your regular MD or another person who advises you through a programme like the one I have made. Ditto for anxiety and sleeping problems,” says Magnus Nordmo, a psychologist who created online videos for people who want to practice self-help techniques in alleviating their “ligther” mental health issues. This is one way to battle depression. Idleness is the food for depression. At least with this, you’re doing something.
Remember that depression is an experience. It is not your fault and it is never going to last. So no matter how hard it seems at first, make your first move. Talk, share, vent out, eat, and do things that make you happy.