There are a number of different psychotherapies for depression, which may be provided to individuals or groups. Psychotherapy can be delivered by a variety of mental health professionals, including psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses. With more complex and chronic forms of depression the most effective treatment is often considered to be a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most studied form of psychotherapy for depression, thought to work by teaching clients to learn a set of cognitive and behavioral skills, which they can employ on their own.
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), is a recently developed class-based program designed to prevent relapse. A review of four studies its effectiveness suggests that MBCT may have an additive effect when provided with the usual care in patients who have had three or more depressive episodes, although the usual care did not include antidepressant treatment or any psychotherapy, and the improvement observed may have reflected non-specific or placebo effects.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on the social and interpersonal triggers that may cause depression. Here, the therapy takes a structured course with a set number of weekly sessions (often 12) as in the case of CBT, however the focus is on relationships with others. Therapy can be used to help a person develop or improve interpersonal skills in order to allow him or her to communicate more effectively and reduce stress.
- Psychoanalysis, a school of thought founded by Sigmund Freud that emphasizes the resolution of unconscious mental conflicts, is used by its practitioners to treat clients presenting with major depression.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a more widely practiced, eclectic technique, loosely based on psychoanalysis and has an additional social and interpersonal focus.
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