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PATIENT EDUCATION
Quick Facts About Psychological Counseling . . . < Previous | Next >  
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  1. In psychological counseling, patients with depression work with a qualified health care professional who listens to them, talks and helps them correct overly negative thinking (which reinforces depressed mood) and improve their relationships with others.

  2. Psychological counseling for depression is not talking about your childhood, but rather focused on current concerns and ways to address them.

Treating Depression with Psychological Counseling
Psychological counseling has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in treating many people with depression. Psychological counseling can be done individually (only you and a mental health professional), in a group (a mental health professional, you and other people with similar problems), or it can be family or marriage counseling where a mental health professional, you and your spouse or family members participate. More than half of the people with mild to moderate depression respond well to psychological counseling. While the length of time that persons are involved in counseling differs, people with depression can typically expect to attend a weekly hour-long counseling session for 6 - 20 weeks. If your depression is not noticeably improved after 6 to 12 weeks of counseling, this usually means that you need to try different treatment for your depression. Psychological counseling by itself is not recommended as the only treatment for persons whose depression is recurrent, more chronic or severe. Medication is needed for those types of depression and it can be taken in combination with psychological counseling.

What Can You Do To Help Your Primary Care Clinician Most Effectively Treat Your Depression With Psychological Counseling?
  1. Keep all of your appointments with the mental health professional.

  2. Be honest and open and ask questions.

  3. Work cooperatively with the mental health professional (e.g., complete tasks assigned to you as part of the psychological counseling)

  4. Keep appointments with your primary care clinician and tell him/her how the psychological counseling is working (e.g., whether your depression is getting better or worse).

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