Depression Counselling London

The black dog, melancholia, the blues. There are many words used to describe depression. What is depression? What causes it? How can it be treated?

What is Depression?

Depression is a ‘real illness’ that impacts the brain. It is more than just feeling down. It is a serious illness that causes changes in brain chemistry. The World Health Organization characterizes depression as one of the most disabling disorders in the world, affecting roughly one in five women and one in ten men at some point in their lifetime. It can be mild, moderate or severe in its presentation.

Depression commonly affects your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviours and your overall physical health. Some common symptoms include the following:

Emotions: Sadness / Hopelessness / Guilt / Angry outbursts
Thoughts: Trouble concentrating / Trouble making decisions, Trouble remembering
Behaviors: Withdrawing from people / Substance abuse, Missing work, school or other commitments
Physical problems: Tiredness or lack of energy / Changes in Appetite / Weight loss or gain / Changes in sleep – sleeping too little or too much

What Causes It?

Research into the cause of depression is unable to state exactly what causes it. What we do know from research is that Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical illnesses, stress, grief, or relationship difficulties. Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression.

Can Depression Be Treated?

Yes! Depression is a treatable illness and recovery from depression is possible. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which researches and advises on the most appropriate treatment for health disorders including depression states that the following treatments are appropriate for adults diagnosed with depression:
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
A treatment which helps people with depression to identify and address problems in their relationships with family, partners and friends. Between 16 and 20 sessions over 3 to 4 months.
People with severe depression may have two sessions a week for the first 2 to 3 weeks of treatment.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is based on the idea that the way we feel is affected by our thoughts and beliefs and by how we behave. People with depression tend to have negative thoughts (such as ‘I am a failure’), which can lead to negative behaviour (such as stopping doing things that used to be pleasurable). CBT encourages people to engage in activities and to write down their thoughts and problems. It helps them to identify and counteract negative thoughts. Individual CBT treatment is between 16–20 sessions over 3 to 4 months.
People with moderate or severe depression may have two sessions a week at the start of treatment. The treatment may be extended further in order to help people stay well.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

A treatment that includes ‘dynamic’ because it focuses on the different forces (or dynamics) that are present in a person’s life and that may be causing them difficulties. The aim is to examine, understand and work through the dynamics and difficulties, which may have begun in childhood.
Treatment is between 16 and 20 sessions over 4 to 6 months.


For cases of moderate to severe depression a combination treatment of anti-depressant medication and psychological treatment maybe suggested. Should this occur, an appointment with your GP or a psychiatrist will examine your symptoms and recommendations may then be made about the most appropriate medication along with how long you will be taking this medication for. This will be monitored by your GP or psychiatrist for effectiveness and any possible side effects.

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