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How Do I Choose the Best Depression Treatment Center?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Not all patients agree on the best depression treatment center because they define their needs in different ways. There are some key things to consider before making a choice. Affordability, location, and type of treatment are all criteria by which to judge centers. Other influential factors may be the treatment center’s therapeutic bent, auxiliary services, and reputation.

Whether a depression treatment center is affordable is frequently a primary consideration. Costs and insurance or government support need to be understood. People are advised to contact their insurance company or appropriate government representative to get a list of the centers that are covered. When coverage isn't available, people can talk with centers about payment options.

A list of affordable centers can be separated into groups by their programs. The most common program types are residential, day treatment, or fully outpatient. Some depression treatment center facilities have more than one level of care.

Many people are able to get outpatient treatment for depression, but others may not have this option. Those with strong suicidality should look to residential programs, while people with significant illness but strong family support might consider day treatment. Patients don’t always have a choice in care level, and some people require hospitalization for their own safety.

Location matters most with outpatient types of care. Residential facilities don’t necessarily have to be close by, though getting to see family could be important in recovery. Day treatment centers, and private therapists and psychiatrists should be within driving distance, and preferably located on a bus route. Patients in depression recovery may have trouble driving while initiating medication therapy.

A depression treatment center may offer a variety of therapy experiences, including individual and group therapy. Some have particular theoretical preferences, and they might offer cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or dialectical behavioral therapy. If you want a specific therapeutic approach, call centers and ask about their philosophy.

A better approach may be to meet with a center’s therapists. Strong therapist/client relations are most likely to have a positive treatment outcome, independent of theoretical preferences. Unfortunately, having a meeting beforehand isn’t always feasible in residential programs. Patients should definitely meet outpatient private therapists before therapy initiation, and it is advised that they periodically assess their level of comfort in an ongoing therapeutic relationship.

When reviewing the best choices, it's important to evaluate the reputation of each depression treatment center, and any extras it offers. You can get a sense of reputation by talking to local mental health professionals you know, like therapists, social workers, or psychiatrists. Sometimes a family member or friend has used a center and can provide guidance.

Programs with extras may be more appealing. Your personal "best" center may incorporate horseback rides, yoga, or other activities aiding recovery. These extras are most often found in residential programs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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