As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I work with people who suffer with depression. When I have depressed clients, I know two recommended practices designed to help them feel better; medication and talk therapy. The medication elevates the mood; talking about problems can get to the root of the difficulties that drive a person to sadness.

Mood is one thing, but the same recurring thoughts about a situation are bound to keep the client tied to the same feelings about the subject, that’s why talking about it is so key. When a client opens the door to his thoughts about life there is an immediate feeling of release, like exhaling a breath after holding in the air for a long time. It feels good, cleansing. This is the beginning phase in the therapeutic process.

There’s an opening in the thought-world after the release. The brain now has an opportunity to think new thoughts about the situation. The talking stimulates new ideas about the same old tired subject.
In many cases clients haven’t had the opportunity to just say what’s on their mind, without having a conversation with another. Some clients don’t want to hurt another’s feelings so they don’t say everything they are thinking. The clients hold on to these thoughts and then start thinking about them in their head. The thinking may make them angry, that they didn’t say or ask for what they needed. Clients might get mad at themselves, or they could become angry at the person whose feelings they were trying to protect. These are some typical patterns many people use during their lives.

These patterns can create stress and may cause feelings of helplessness which can lead to depression. Medication will lift the mood, but it can’t get you to think about how you function and how you hold your thoughts inside your head because you don’t want to hurt another’s feelings. Talk therapy is the process of untangling your thought process, and this is done with a trained professional inside a safe environment where the client is free to unwind the mind.

So what’s a safe environment? It’s a place that has the feel of acceptance, total acceptance. There is no judgment or criticism. In this environment the client can let go of deeply held thoughts because the client feels totally taken care of and safe. This is unlike talking to anyone else in your world. It’s not a best friend or a spouse or parent.

What makes this relationship different is that your therapist is there for YOU. As I sit with my clients, I know I am listening to every word. I am hearing the stories and I am observing the accompanying emotions. I can hear pain and sorrow, and I can receive whatever the client must unload. This is what trained therapists do. We are containers of all the hard parts of a person’s world. When a client unloads, it feels great. For many, it’s the first time they have ever spoken their inner-most thoughts, ideas and dreams.

The next phase in talk therapy involves examination of the issues brought forth after the release. Trained clinicians know how to gingerly peek at the hard stuff. Sometimes emotions are hidden underneath, so therapists proceed carefully, not too fast. With an objective, supportive observer who can discuss the issues in a safe way, the client begins to have room in his brain for new ideas and thoughts about the old stuff. The light coming in during this process creates understanding and awareness and that leads to new ways of handling issues that may have been too difficult to face before.

Clients then begin to test new patterns in their world. If a client was worried about speaking thoughts because they might hurt another, after counseling the client may learn how to communicate her true feelings to that person. Then the client experiences what it’s like to feel being heard, maybe for the first time. This can feel liberating, and life affirming. The depression can lift and the client can return to her life with new skills.
So if you are depressed, or not feeling as happy as you believe you can be, remember there are two recommended responses to this condition; medication and talk therapy. Improve your mood with medication, but don’t forget about getting to the root of your problems by talking about it too.

Author's Bio: 

Linda is a Marriage and Family Therapist based in Long Beach, California. She works with people who are looking to move past the roadblocks that keep them from living a happier life. Linda treats individuals and couples in all stages of a relationship and specializes in working with men in mid-life. The process works, and she can help you.

You owe it to yourself to feel better. Talking about it can help you do this. If you live in California you can call for a free phone consultation today (562)293-1737.

Therapy involves weekly sessions where you just get to talk about what's happening in your life. This process can free your mind of the same worries, and it will allow for your own insights and ideas to come forth. Linda will help you see yourself in new ways. You will become more confident and happy.

Linda Nusbaum, MFT, 3605 Long Beach Blvd. #329, Long Beach, CA 90807 (562) 293-1737