Depression is a very painful experience and takes its toll on the sufferer and those they are in relationship with.  About 12% of the UK’s population experience depression severe enough to require treatment. 

People experience depression in many different ways, but the most prominent feature is a low or sad mood.  Other typical signs include lethargy, trouble with sleeping or early wakening, feeling constantly tired, pessimistic negative thoughts, difficulty thinking straight or making decisions, change in appetite and loss of usual interest in previous activities. 

There are different types of depressive reaction ranging from mild mood fluctuations or ‘the blues’ to severe clinical depression.  At the severe end of the scale, people experience more marked and chronic debilitating symptoms. 

Feeling depressed is a vicious spiral.  Your negative thoughts make you feel miserable, inadequate and discouraged, which means you feel slowed down and tired and less inclined to be active.  Your activity level goes down, you start to avoid situations which means that you don’t have positive thoughts and experiences and your confidence is further reduced, which makes you further isolated, which increases your negative thoughts and low mood and so on, the less you do, the less you want to do!

What the client can expect in counselling?

The client can expect to explore what is going on for them in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment.  We are all prone at times to unhelpful, distorted thinking, so it is important to find out what is the client’s view of themselves and how they view their own capabilities and resources to meet present and future life’s challenges.

The first session is always 1 ½ hours to give time for the client and the counsellor to figure out what is going on and if the client thinks they can work with the counsellor and what they suggest might be happening.  Whatever the problem is, the length of time to deal with it is dependent on what the problem is and what resources the client feels they have to deal with the issues.  One of the therapies that has been very successful in dealing with depression is CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which initial focuses on the thought patterns of the client.  Events themselves do not cause us to feel upset or depressed rather it is our beliefs about these events that determine our emotional reaction.  Recent research has established that those that suffer from depression, are prone to continuous, automatic, negative thoughts.  The goal of counselling would be to understand the many factors both in the present and the past that have led you to think the way you do about yourself and life.