Psychotherapy Approaches for Major Depressive Disorder: What Works?

Psychotherapy Approaches for Major Depressive Disorder: What Works?

What psychological model best fits major depressive disorder?

Depression is a disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. As awareness of mental health problems increases and the associated stigma decreases, many people are able to identify that symptoms impacting their daily activities have a connection with mental disorders such as depression.

The significant influence of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can detrimentally affect an individual’s daily life, potentially harming their interpersonal relationships, work efficacy, and the capacity to carry out routine tasks. Fortunately, psychiatrists and psychologists have developed various psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder.

Psychotherapy for depression has proven to be effective in addressing both cognitive and emotional aspects. These techniques offer valuable resources and mechanisms for dealing with challenges, creating a robust emotional backing.

At Integrative Healthcare Center, we offer relief to people with MDD in Nashua, New Hampshire, and the surrounding areas. Our evidence-based therapies are methods endorsed by psychiatrists and therapists to help those suffering from depression reclaim their lives. However, it is essential to note that psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder vary in their theoretical underpinnings, techniques, and goals. So, if you are wondering what psychological model best fits major depressive disorder? We will provide a guide summarizing the different psychotherapy techniques and their effectiveness in treating MDD.

What is Psychotherapy for Depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, psychotherapy is a form of intervention that can be effective in reducing several mental health conditions and emotional challenges, such as depression. This approach not only seeks to mitigate symptoms, but certain types of psychotherapy can also identify the underlying causes of the condition, allowing the person to improve their functioning and elevate their emotional well-being.

There are several psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder for adults and children. These can be conducted in individual, family, or group settings and are often combined with other forms of therapy to optimize outcomes. Psychotherapy sessions generally last between 45 and 50 minutes, taking place once a week. They may be short-term, addressing more immediate problems, or longer-term, dealing with more long-standing and complex issues.

The engagement of patient and therapist is essential during these sessions, and mutual trust is a critical element in achieving practical benefits from psychotherapy. The patient and therapist determine the duration and frequency of treatment. In psychotherapy, confidentiality is paramount; thus, patients can feel confident that their emotions and thoughts will be kept private by the therapist.

Psychotherapy Approaches for Major Depressive Disorder

Psychologists often rely on one or more psychotherapy approaches to treat patients with MDD. The theory selected by these professionals acts as a guide that orients the process, allowing them to understand each client’s challenges and develop appropriate solutions.

Psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder fall into five categories:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): As stated in research by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, CBT is one of the most significant psychologically-based treatments backed by substantial evidence for managing depression and other mental health disorders. Studies conclusively demonstrate its efficacy, and combination with different approaches significantly reduces relapse rates. Research hasn’t identified any contraindications for cognitive-behavioral therapy; however, in cases of severe depression with psychosis or suicidal ideation, it may be necessary to consider complementary treatments, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy offers many benefits in the treatment of depression:

  • Whether individuals use it as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, CBT has demonstrated significant success in alleviating depressive symptoms.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to modify schemas or beliefs that contribute to the persistence of depression, thereby fostering a more optimistic cognitive structure.
  • Beyond just managing symptoms, CBT also addresses other psychosocial problems that may lead to depressive signs, promoting a comprehensive approach to therapy.
  • By addressing the root causes and providing individuals with coping strategies, cognitive-behavioral therapy reduces the chances of depression recurring.
  • CBT not only targets depressive symptoms but also improves adherence to other treatments suggested by physicians, creating a synergistic effect in overall mental health care.
  1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This psychotherapeutic method incorporates a vital educational element. In this approach, psychologists equip individuals with the skills they need to handle emotions and navigate social interactions effectively. Initially developed to address self-destructive impulses, such as suicide, and various psychiatric conditions, DBT includes weekly group and individual sessions.

    In the context of treatment for depression, DBT offers significant benefits in managing intense emotions, improving social relationship skills, preventing self-destructive impulses, encouraging healthy behaviors, regulating emotions effectively, adapting to circumstances, and promoting balance between opposing forces. Ultimately, it contributes to greater emotional understanding and supports recovery from depression.

  2. Humanistic Therapy: Humanistic therapy stands out as a psychotherapeutic approach that emphasizes the importance of authenticity in leading a fulfilling life. Its foundation lies in the belief that each person possesses a unique perspective on the world, which influences their choices and actions. Feelings of unworthiness can negatively impact personal and environmental perceptions, affecting thoughts and actions. Humanistic therapy emerges as an effective tool to cultivate self-acceptance and overcome external criticism or disapproval.

    The distinguishing feature of humanistic therapy, as compared to other psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder, is its emphasis on present life experiences rather than exploring past events. Additionally, it concentrates on the individual as a whole rather than focusing solely on a particular diagnosis. Humanistic therapists practice active listening and offer personalized support, creating a safe space to address the specific challenges of depression.

  3. Psychodynamic Therapies: These therapies constitute a set of interventions rooted in the principles of psychoanalytic theory. Their approach works towards the transformation of problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by uncovering their unconscious meanings and motivations in the present moment. Among psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder, psychodynamic therapies delve into the subconscious processes and emotional undercurrents that play a significant role in the onset and persistence of depression.

    Psychodynamic therapy seeks to understand how past experiences, significant relationships, and unresolved conflicts may influence current depressive symptoms. This approach involves a process of in-depth exploration, providing the individual with the opportunity to recognize the thoughts and behaviors that reinforce their depression. According to research by the University of Cambridge, longer-term psychodynamic treatments improve associated social, occupational, and personal dysfunctions, as well as reduce depressive symptoms. These findings support the efficacy and lasting benefits of psychodynamic therapies as an integral part of care for MDD.

  4. Integrative or Holistic Therapy: This therapeutic method treats a range of physical and mental disorders using non-traditional treatments. It adopts a comprehensive viewpoint, not confining itself to studying only one aspect of an individual’s health, but instead strives to enhance and address all facets of their life. In managing depression, therapists employ a mixed approach that merges traditional therapies like CBT with alternative methods such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and yoga.

    This holistic approach relies on scientific principles, is geared toward prevention whenever possible, and takes advantage of the body’s ability to heal itself. With holistic therapy, individuals can understand themselves better while fostering increased self-esteem and self-confidence.

    Holistic therapists focus on a person’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. They may incorporate various artistic expressions, such as dance, art, and music, as well as mindfulness practices, meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, or tai chi. 

Exploring Treatment Alternatives for Depression

At Integrative Healthcare Center, we specialize in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Our clinic, strategically located in Nashua, New Hampshire, offers convenient facilities for people in New Hampshire and Massachusetts seeking relief from the symptoms of depression.

Our medical specialists offer a variety of psychotherapy approaches for major depressive disorder. In addition, they recommend and design comprehensive treatment plans that include safe and effective scientific techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The choice of psychotherapeutic approach to treat depression depends on individual preferences. However, our clinicians are available to help you select the right option through an analysis of each client’s specific needs and history.

If you are ready to begin treatment for depression at Integrative Healthcare Center, feel free to call us at (855) 599-9987 or contact us online. We are prepared to help you choose the best approach, easing your path to depression remission and regaining your enjoyment of life.

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