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“It’s the relationship that heals.”
– Irvin Yalom, MD
It’s a simple and common question clinicians are asked by clients: “What is the most effective in treating depression?” I’m going to assume that we are not discussing treatment-resistant depression in this blog – in which case some of these answers would look different. (Transcranial magnetic stimulation is outside of my wheelhouse.)
It can be confusing to parse through the numerous acronyms (we sure do love those in the mental health field) and claims of “evidence-based practices” to find what is the best treatment or therapeutic approach for depression. As usual, I will resist giving a single easy answer. If you’re reading this blog because you are searching for the answer to this question, hang in there. I do have some thoughts and information that could be quite helpful.
The most effective treatment for depression: a Baltimore therapist’s humble opinion
First though: some questions.
“Where were you in life (not just geographically) when your depression emerged and what are your life circumstances now?”
Depression frequently has a larger context. I’d argue that it always has a greater context, even in instances where there’s a probable hereditary element. A depression rooted in a traumatic experience may look different than one rooted in career concerns.
“What are the symptoms of your depression?”
While the DSM provides a handy constellation of symptoms, what these look like between people and how they play out, can vary dramatically.
“What are your feelings about therapy?”
Yes. Your feelings about your therapist and therapy, in general, can influence how effective a treatment is. As we explained in a previous blog post, having a good connection between you and your therapist can make an enormous difference in therapy.
“Are you wishing for a highly structured approach? Are you hoping for one that is more open and existential?”
I don’t believe there’s necessarily a wrong answer here – and it’s okay if you don’t know the answer yet – but knowing what you want treatment to look like can help therapy be more successful.
If you’re noticing that I’ve answered a simple question with more questions, you are correct. While there are certainly purists when it comes to using a single clinical approach, like CBT, I find this is less and less common for something like depression. Now, to be clear, I am not saying that there are no empirically supported approaches to treating depression. Emphatically. There are. We know that SSRIs and talk therapy are helpful for depression and that a combination can be even more so.
However, in my opinion, the most effective in treating depression is one that incorporates you, your history, and your present circumstances into account, rather than viewing your symptoms as a disconnected phenomenon. Additionally, your therapeutic rapport and alliance with your therapist are one of the most important pieces of any treatment. Many folks don’t necessarily realize that their relationship with their therapist is in and of itself an evidence-based intervention for depression.
Therapy for Depression in Baltimore, MD
Have you been struggling with depression? Do you find it harder and harder to do things you used to enjoy? Are you searching for the most effective treatment for depression?
Finding the right therapist, one that understands you and connects with you, is essential to get the most out of therapy. Our therapists at New Connections have experience in helping people work with their emotions and make changes to find new meaning and happiness in their lives. Reach out with any questions, we are ready to help!