Talking therapy

Talking therapy can help you deal with psychological factors involved in your depression.

There are lots of different types of talking therapy to suit all situations and people.

Choosing a therapy

Before you make your choice, think about:

  • What treatment would suit me? For example, do you think you’d prefer to deal with the here-and-now, or would you rather look at the past?
  • How long will I have to wait?
  • How long will the therapy last?
  • Does it cost anything?
  • Have I any preference about who I see – a man or woman, older or younger?
  • Who may be able to recommend a therapist to me?

Which therapies work?

Researchers have found the following treatments to be effective in treating depression.

  • Behavioural activation helps you get back into activities that you have stopped.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the here and now. It focuses on what we do (“Behaviour) and how it influences the way we think (“Cognitive”) and vice versa to help make changes. Read more about cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Couple–focused therapy can help if your relationship is contributing to your depression. The therapist will work to change the way you and your partner interact so you develop a more supportive relationship.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) helps you find new ways to get along with others and looks at problems in your relationships.
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is based on the importance of being aware of the present moment and not worrying over the past or future.
  • Problem-solving therapy helps you find out what your problems are, work out what your aims are and come up with ways of achieving them.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy looks at how past experiences affect people. It also looks at the relationship between the therapist and the client and how that is affected by the past.
  • Counselling offers a safe space for you to explore your feelings. Counselling is commonly offered as a talking therapy for depression.

Other talking therapies don’t have so much evidence. This doesn’t mean they don’t work, just that more research may be needed

  • Cognitive analytic therapy which uses parts of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and psychodynamic therapy.
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) helps with trauma.
  • Family therapy deals with problems in the family.
  • Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to change how we feel.
  • Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is used to detect and change unconcious thoughts and behaviours
  • Reminiscence therapy involves looking at how the past affects the present
  • Transactional analysis (TA) looks at how we relate to other people

Finally if you are a more practical person you may want to try:

  • Art therapy where you express your feelings and emotions through art.
  • Music therapy where you use music to express how you feel.