Depression: How CBT, EMDR and Mindfulness Work
Depression is more than just a low mood. We can all feel down at one time or another and for a variety of reasons. When that low mood persists and begins to impact on your life, however, it may be a sign you have a more serious mental health issue.
Depression may be viewed as a symptom of something that is chronically wrong in our lives, an issue that has been ignored and not attended to. We respond in different ways to avoid facing the issue such as overworking or accepting that we are powerless in life.
Depression has a wide range of physical and behavioural symptoms. A person might feel tearful or upset, even angry on occasion. They may find themselves isolated, or they don’t get any enjoyment out of life anymore. An individual could avoid social situations, have low-self esteem and, in severe cases, feel suicidal.
There are several different therapeutic approaches to depression. Most interventions start with some form of self-help which allows the individual to explore their feelings and find their solutions. If this does not work, it helps to build a relationship with a qualified therapist who is experienced in dealing with these sorts of mental health issues.
Medication can be used to help with depression, but the initial approach nowadays is to employ a therapy such as CBT first. In some cases, medicine offers a way to stabilise someone who is clinically depressed so that they can then undertake something like a talking therapy.
At Positive Mind in London, we use a mix of therapeutic approaches to depression, including CBT, EMDR, and mindfulness.
How CBT Can Help With Depression
CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is sometimes called ‘talking’ therapy. Working with a therapist, you will explore your feelings, beliefs and behaviours and how they relate to your depression and seek to change these to improve your condition.
What is CBT?
Therapists help you understand why you feel the way you do and give you the tools to help change those feelings. It’s an evidence-based therapy that has proved highly successful in treating depression.
Each individual is different. Your depression might be caused by low self-esteem, for example. Here, CBT will delve into where these feelings come from and aim to change your self-perception and be more positive about yourself.
Your depression could be the result of some past traumatic event, such as the loss of a child or violence you may have suffered. It may have been brought on by problems at work or having to cope with the pressures of raising a family.
How Does CBT Work?
How we think about a particular aspect of our lives will impact on how we feel and how we behave. If we see a situation as negative, then our emotions relating to it are likely to be negative too. You will work with a therapist to look at what’s happening in your life currently and also explore the past.
Assisted by the therapist, you will then come up with solutions that help to stop the cycle of negative thought. Everyone will have a different path to recovery and understanding what is going on in your head, and your life and how you can change things can be a complex process.
The good news is that there is a lot of evidence that supports the use of CBT in dealing with depression, providing as it does a set of tools that helps individuals cope and come out the other side to live happier and more fulfilled lives.
EMDR and Depression
On the surface, EMDR or eye movement desensitisation processing may seem a little new age, but it has a significant amount of research supporting it as a therapy. It was first used in the treatment of PTSD as an essential step in helping individuals reprocess their feelings and beliefs.
What is EMDR?
First used by Dr Francine Shapiro in the 1980s, EMDR is not a talking therapy like CBT. It gets individuals to focus on a past traumatic event. It uses a stimulus such as an eye movement, alternate sounds in the ears or tapping alternately on the hands while the incident is being re-experienced.
While EMDR has clinically proven results in treating PTSD, it is also now being used in helping patients overcome other mental health issues, including depression, where there may be a direct cause from a past traumatic event.
How Does EMDR Work?
When someone has a condition such as PTSD, it can be difficult to tone down the experience and understand all the emotions that accompany it. Feelings can be highly intense, and it is difficult to then find a way forward with other therapies such as CBT. It’s thought that EMDR works by giving the brain more to do, which then acts to dampen emotionally fraught memories.
In some ways, EMDR works to desensitise the individual so that they can better see the event that is causing their mental health issue. Many types of depression are caused by past events that are too traumatic to face directly. EMDR allows the individual to be more balanced, and they can then explore issues that they previously wanted to avoid.
Using Mindfulness to Combat Depression
Mindfulness and meditation have increased in popularity over the last couple of decades. The benefits of using a mindful approach are backed up by research, and it has proved particularly useful in helping with mental health issues such as depression.
What is Mindfulness?
We tend not to notice what is happening to us in great detail, especially when it comes to mental health conditions such as depression. Mindfulness is essentially a way of stepping back and little and being more aware. Many see it as a way of reconnecting with our bodies, not just sensations such as aches and pains but our thoughts and feelings, in a non-judgemental way.
How Does Mindfulness Work?
Teaching you to become more aware in the present moment has a significant impact on your sense of wellbeing and allows you then to make small changes that improve health and focus. It’s a practice that takes work to get right, but it has proved important in helping to maintain good mental health.
Find a Therapist Near Me
If you are searching for CBT in London, mindfulness or EMDR, it’s important to work with a qualified therapist who is trained and experienced in helping you find the solutions you need. Depression is a complex mental health issue, and at Positive Mind, we believe in providing an individual approach.
Each person is different and providing the support necessarily requires a holistic approach. That means our experienced therapists may use a mix of CBT, mindfulness and EMDR to help in your recovery.
If you are searching for a therapist in London, contact Positive Mind today.