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Psychotherapy and Depression
Many forms of psychotherapy, including some short-term (10-20 weeks) therapies,
can help depressed individuals. "Talking" therapies
help patients gain insight into and resolve their problems through
verbal "give-and-take" with the therapist. "Behavioral"
therapies help patients learn how to obtain more satisfaction
and rewards through their own actions and how to unlearn the behavioral
patterns that contribute to or result from their depression.
Two of the short-term psychotherapies that research has shown helpful for some
forms ofdepression are interpersonal and cognitive/behavioral therapies. Interpersonal
therapists focus on the patient's disturbed personal relationships that both
cause and exacerbate (or increase) the depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapists
help patients change the negative styles of thinking and behaving often associated
Psychodynamic therapies, which are sometimes used to treat depressed persons,
focus on resolving the patient's internal conflicts. These therapies
are often reserved until the depressive symptoms are significantly
improved. In general, severe depressive illnesses, particularly
those that are recurrent, will require medication (or ECT under
special conditions) along with, or preceding, psychotherapy for
the best outcome.
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