A Celebration of Therapy, In List Form

No treatment method is for everyone, but I think talk therapy gets an especially bad rap, considering the profound upsides.

So today – a little celebration of therapy, in list form:

1. It turns out that there are a lot of treatments out there that work really well and really quickly. EMDR can take as little as one session and can considerably lessen the excruciating feelings left by a traumatic event. Treatment for anxiety and panic has come very far too. Therapists with the right certifications might be able to ease your pain a lot more quickly and easily than you think.

Young at Heart Portrait2. Therapy can reduce your blind spots. There’s nothing like talking to the same person every week about your wellbeing to make you realize things about your wellbeing. And if you’re not seeing clearly when it comes to how you feel (and so many of us aren’t), then you’re working with a huge handicap when it comes to feeling better.

3. Even if you have a fantastic support system, chances are you need more support. Depression attacks the very things we need to see ourselves through the recovery process – motivation, energy, hope. Sometimes I think of therapists as expert advocates – trained professionals who have been through it before, who know the ropes and can help us navigate this crushing disease.

4. Let’s face it, talking helps. Being listened to helps. Having someone who won’t recoil at your dark thoughts, who won’t shun you your jealousies or be scared by your fears – it’s priceless. It allows you some space to have perspective, to welcome in the META THOUGHTS and learn some ways to cope with all. those. overwhelming. feelings.

Here’s to your health.


Photo by Nevil Zaveri on Flickr

A Learning Menu

I found researching depression frustrating enough to just stop. But if I’m not learning about something that affects my life this much, then I’m feeling powerless to do much about it. Besides, thousands of people have spent their lives trying to ease this type of pain – I’d hate to skip their findings just because they’re hard to wade through.

I do most of my reading in a miniskirt in a meadow.

I do most of my reading in a miniskirt in a meadow while working out my core.

So I was really encouraged when a friend sent a reading list of interesting articles. Some had me nodding my head, others made me skeptical. They all made me think critically about depression – not monolithic, not all powerful, not murky with mystery. Rather, depression as a cause of suffering like so many others – a cause that dedicated people are trying to understand, a suffering that thoughtful people are trying to ease.

“How the Power of Positive Thinking Won Scientific Credibility” An article on the consequences of “dispositional optimism.” I was especially pleased to read the interviewee’s concern that patients can feel guilty for not feeling optimistic, and relieved to read his stance that disposition is most often not a decision.

“In Therapy Forever? Enough Already” This New York Times article questions the common belief that therapy can and should should take years to work.

The Sidewalk Psychiatrist A blog by a practicing psychiatrist with a casual tone. I’m still digging in, but I think it’s a source of practical perspective from an expert on depression and an expert on the ecosystem of treatment (what are the controversies in the field right now? etc.). He recommends a short book called The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade, which I ordered immediately.

Have You Seen a Therapist Yourself?” A thoughtful article on how we think of mental illness and the therapist-patient relationship.

How Mindfulness Reduces Vulnerability to Depression” This article introduces a very helpful term I’d never heard before: Cognitive Reactivity – the degree to which mild negative moods can result in patterns of thinking which lead to depression. Very cool.

Have recommendations? Click through to leave a comment or email me at depressionwhoneedsit at gmail dot com.