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Depression Counselling

A clear path to serenity and happiness

Depression counselling can be an enormously positive, helpful and healing process for those suffering from depression

As a qualified counsellor, I have helped many people through difficult periods in their life’s journey. I do know that depression counselling can be an enormously positive, helpful and healing process.

What is depression?

It’s perfectly normal to feel unhappy sometimes and experience periods of feeling a bit down. However, if these feelings persist for weeks or even months, you may be suffering from depression. It’s a genuine illness with recognised symptoms and you may require treatment and support in your recovery.

Depression counselling is one way that I can help individuals on their recovery journey.

Depression in Adults

Feeling unhappy, tearful, hopeless, worthless, unable to get pleasure and enjoyment from daily life. Sleeping a lot, not wanting to get up, or the opposite, struggling to quieten your thoughts so you can sleep.

Loss of appetite or binge eating, decreased libido, withdrawal from social interaction.

Although these symptoms of depression are quite common, not everyone will experience the same symptoms. How severe they are, how frequently and for how long symptoms last can vary.

Depression in Children

Childhood depression is different from the normal upsets and everyday emotions most children experience. If your child is sad, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have depression. It’s when unhappiness is experienced day after day that depression may be an issue. Not interacting with family and playmates, not talking, creating arguments, being disruptive in or out of school, behaviour that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life may also be signs of a problem.

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Depression in Teens

Most teenagers will experience mood changes, there’s so much happening in their bodies as they go through puberty, coupled with the pressures to achieve high grades at school. Teenagers are often acutely self-conscious as they navigate their way through so many changes and challenges.

If your teenager seems to spend most of their time being withdrawn, bad-tempered, angry and upset, then you need to take action.

As children grow up they naturally become more independent from their parents, trying to establish their own identity. It is so important to have a good relationship with your teenager, they really need to have a safe and caring parent/child relationship which makes them feel secure.

Ideally keep your relationship open, chatting about day-to-day things, listening to what they are saying, thinking and feeling. Creating a happy home means kids will be much more likely to open up about their emotions. Welcoming their friends into your home, being that reliable “taxi” parent, ensuring your child and friends get home safe and sound.

Having a positive relationship with your teenager and their friends means you have a good idea what kind of kids they are mixing with. Positive, happy friends mean a positive and happy teenager. Sad, unhappy friends are more likely to lead to depressive thoughts and feelings.

Remember a happy child will always succeed, an unhappy child may well “succeed” academically, but may become depressed.

Depression counselling can help children to communicate their fears and anxieties in a calming and nurturing environment.

Types of depression

  • mild depression – has some impact on your daily life
  • moderate depression – has a significant impact on your daily life
  • severe depression – makes it almost impossible to get through daily life; a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms

Depression counselling can form part of the treatment plan for mild and moderate depression.

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Counselling vs. Psychotherapy

Treating depression with “talk therapy” is often the first step with mild to moderate depression.

Causes of depression

Life-changing events such as bereavement, family breakup, relationship breakdown, illness, job loss. All these events have the effect of shutting us down, depressing us. 

If there is a family history of depression or depressive illness that can mean we are more likely to experience depression ourselves. 

Loneliness plays a big factor in depression, and that is at any age. Young and old, so many of us live alone, without someone to share our days and thoughts. 

Using alcohol and/or drugs while they appear to ease low mood actually makes it more likely we will suffer depression.

Big life changes, moving away from home, starting a new job, giving birth, setting up home with a partner, all these things, while we may really want them, can trigger depression if we feel somewhat out of control.

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is pretty common, and quite natural if you think about it. We are programmed to be more outgoing and active in the longer, brighter days of Spring and Summer, whilst the Winter months are darker and quieter. For the last 120 years we have lived with artificial light and worked pretty much the same hours all year round.

What is SAD? If you have SAD, you can feel depressed, usually because of the short dark days of Winter, but also because of certain types of weather or temperature, whether in Winter or Summer.

It is normal to be affected by changing seasons and weather, or to have times of year when you feel comfortable, and times when you feel uncomfortable. You may notice your mood or energy levels dropping when it gets colder or warmer, or notice changes in your sleeping or eating patterns. But if your feelings are interfering with your everyday life, it could be a sign that you have depression. And if they keep coming back at the same time of year, doctors might call this seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or ‘seasonal depression’.

It’s not uncommon for people with depression to experience physical symptoms. These may include back and/or joint pain, digestive problems such as IBS, sleep problems, and appetite changes. You might have slowed speech and movements, too. 

Brain chemicals play an important role in how you experience your mood and pain.

Depression symptoms

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Psychological symptoms

The psychological symptoms of depression include:

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
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Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of depression include:

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • constipation
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • low sex drive (loss of libido)
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
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Social symptoms

The social symptoms of depression include:

  • avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home, work or family life

Who do people talk to about depression?

The good news is that depression counselling can help normalise and reduce the symptoms of depression. Depression counselling gives you space to understand yourself and to learn good coping mechanisms. Recognising when you are feeling low, and knowing you have the tools to lift yourself up, are key aspects of depression counselling.

Depression counselling offers the opportunity to reinvent yourself, changing old negative patterns of behaviour and choosing new, constructive, positive ways of being. Our brains are remarkably adaptable, we can create new pathways, new ways of thinking. We can move from the negative to a positive way of living with the help of depression counselling.

Anti-depressants can help too, but I recommend depression counselling alongside your medication. Usually anti-depressants are used for around six months.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Do I have depression?

A. Signs of depression indicating you should seek help: If you find that most days you feel sad/tearful/anxious/irritable. If you struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, have lost interest in your appearance, are not eating or overeating. If you are having suicidal thoughts, then please seek help urgently.

Q. How can depression counselling help?

A. Your Counsellor is there to listen to you, without judgement. Counselling allows you to explore your feelings, helping you make sense of what you are experiencing. Often it is about normalising emotions that can seem to be “abnormal”. The simple act of just talking can hugely reduce your anxiety levels.

Q. How does it work?

A. The simple act of “just talking” can hugely reduce your anxiety levels. Counselling is there to support you as you discover and learn positive coping strategies, enabling you to be in control of your life, rather than feel controlled by life. It also really helps you become much more self confident and assertive, really valuing yourself.

Q. What about CBT?

A. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of depression counselling that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Q. How do I access depression counselling?

A. I would recommend having a conversation with a few Counsellors prior to booking a session. That way you get an idea as to whether you will feel comfortable with that person. For face to face counselling make sure you are looking in the right locality, so you can easily travel to your sessions.

Recent depression counselling insights

Read one of our recent posts on the subject of depression for more helpful insights.

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Counselling for Depression

The length and severity of the symptoms and episodes of depression often determine the type of therapy. Depression counselling is suitable for most people with the possible exception of those suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

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Who can you call if you have depression?

Contact: Samaritans 0330 094 5717   Mind 0300 123 3393

Depression counselling is not suitable for some psychiatric disorders and certain clinical disorders. Always check with you GP who will advise you as to whether you will benefit from counselling for depression.