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How do I Go into Depression Counseling?

One of the main methods of treating major depression and even mild to moderate depression is psychotherapy or counseling. Depending upon the extent of depression, counseling may only be one method needed, and people may also benefit from medications used to alleviate the condition. It can thus be important when looking for depression counseling to consider the biological factors that may be causing it. If depression is very severe, people may first want to consult a psychiatrist prior to proceeding to depression counseling. Yet some people enter counseling first, and then determine whether work with a psychiatrist would also be beneficial.

Most mental health professionals are skilled at administering counseling for depression. These would include psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists (MFTS or MFCCs) and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). Probably the best place to start if people are insured is by looking at lists of counselors contracted with their insurance to find a few who they can call. It’s fine to call these people, mention that depression is occurring and determine if these people specialize in or are skilled at administering depression counseling. Most therapists will be, but some specialize in working with kids, or in working with other disorders.

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People seeking depression counseling can also get recommendations from friends or family doctors. Sometimes the issue feels too embarrassing to discuss with close friends, but family doctors are a good resource and are quite used to hearing requests for referrals to counselors. Another excellent resource can be pastors, some of whom are licensed counselors too.

Those without government health coverage or health insurance who lack money may still be able to find depression counseling at low or cheap prices. Many counselors offer sliding scale fees, and some large counseling organizations have free counseling available. Checking with large organizations like Catholic Charities, even if a person is not Catholic, can help quickly find a counselor. Universities and some employers may offer access to counselors too.

Most counselors will want to know how the feelings of depression are manifesting, and they may have questionnaires they will have new patients complete. First sessions are usually used to find out in what ways depression is affecting the person, and the degree to which these effects are felt. When going to a first session, people may want to jot down some details about why they feel they’re depressed and how deeply depression is affecting them. For instance, letting counselors know about suicidal feelings or inability to work is very helpful.

Counselors may have different methods for treating depression. Some use traditional talk therapy, and a popular method today is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Those looking for depression counseling can look up the way these therapies work in order to determine which one may be most effective. People looking for treatment should be aware that depression is a highly treatable illness that greatly benefits from many different types of therapy. Depression counseling is an excellent first step toward helping to manage this condition.

One time people should not wait for counseling is if depression is extremely severe and is causing true suicidal thoughts and feelings. Instead, they benefit when they call psychiatric emergency centers in their community. If this resource is not available, they should head to the nearest emergency room for care.

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