Depression – Psychotherapy


Under severe depression, one feels like he/she lives in the darkest shadows. However, there is a treatment for depression, and learning about the different treatment options helps in making the right approach. For instance, seeking therapy, medication or adopting changes for a healthy lifestyle help overcome depression. If the symptoms have no underlying medical causes, then seeking psychotherapy treatment becomes the best option. In psychotherapy, there are three common ways or a combination of them that includes interpersonal therapies, psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. These forms of therapy offer practical techniques on reframing negative thoughts while adopting behavioral skills to combat depression. Moreover, through psychotherapy, it is possible to establish the root of the depression that is necessary in understanding certain feelings, triggering factors for depression, and mitigated measures in order to remain healthy.

Transference and Countertransference

According to Wirth-Cauchon (2007) and within the context of psychotherapy, transference is a redirection of clients’ feelings from significant persons towards a therapist. Originally, this method was founded by Sigmund Freud. Transference is manifested in forms such as rage, the lack of trust, overdependence or perceiving the therapists like a demi-god (Blais & Hayes, 2011). Initially, Freud felt that transference among his clients was a hindrance for successful treatment, but later learned that the analysis of transference is indeed the main work for therapists, which lies in focusing on psychodynamic psychotherapy works by having both a therapist and a client recognize the existence of transference relationship and analyzing the meaning of that relationship. Since transference between the two parties occurs unconsciously, therapists must employ transference in revealing conflicts that their clients have encountered since childhood.

On the other hand, countertransference involves redirecting the feelings of a therapist towards the client. The attunements of the therapist for own countertransference is as fundamental as the comprehension of transference. In addition to giving the therapist power to regulate own emotions, it also offers the therapist some valuable insights into what the client attempts to elicit. For instance, when a male therapist feels sexually attracted to a female client, he ought to understand this as countertransference and should control the client’s reaction. After identifying the reaction, the therapist asks the client what the feelings are towards the therapy, where he examines relationship towards the unconscious desires or fears. Since this is a therapy relationship, it is obvious to have some level of transference as well as countertransference. The underlying fact is that a person will develop some form of feelings with people they relate to clients or therapists. Such feelings may be positive or negative in nature (Snyder, Lopez, & Pedrotti, 2011).

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the unconscious processes that manifest in one’s behavior during depression. The objective of this therapy is to create clients’ awareness and the comprehension of influences of the past on present depression behaviors. According to Freud, it is both the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind that conflict with each other by causing repression. At this state, one is not aware of the troubling motives or desires though they have negative impacts. Under the psychodynamic umbrella, there are numerous explanations for one to develop symptoms of depression (“Psychology of Depression- Psychodynamic Theories – Depression Resources, Education About Depression and Unipolar Depression,” n.d.).

Indeed, the psychodynamic approach allows the client to conduct examination of the unresolved symptoms and conflicts arising from previous dysfunctional relationships which could prompt the desire for substance abuse. Numerous diverse approaches to psychodynamic psychotherapy have been coined from psychoanalytic theory with positive feedback in mitigating psychological disorders. The theory that supports psychodynamic therapy is an outgrowth of psychoanalytic theory. The latter theory is founded under the four main schools including Freudian, self-psychology, object relation, and ego psychology (Kreisman & Straus, 2004). Each of these theories gives a representation of discrete attributes of personality formation, indications as well as contraindications to therapies and techniques of conducting therapy (Krawitz & Jackson, 2008).

Lifestyle Interventions

Evidence from the research indicates that interventions from healthy lifestyle have an influence on psychological well-being. Psychological problems are seemingly very common in the society with about one in every six persons having a severe psychological disorder (Sanders & Wills, 2005). There is no defined causal link between psychological disorders and lifestyle though there is some association between food and mood. As indicated by Smith (2009), the study indicates that persons that adhere to healthy dietary are associated with minimal cases of depression. Equally, there are particular components of a diet that have an impact on psychological well-being. For instance, foods rich in trans-unsaturated fats have a close association with a high likelihood of depression. On the other hand, foods containing proteins have amino acids which are found to have similar results as antidepressants (Wiener, 2009). Moreover, the American Psychiatric Association states that eicosapentaenoic acid, otherwise known as Omega 3, is attributed to preventive treatment effects on the symptoms of depression.

According to Greenberg, (2009) engagement in physical activities is a crucial lifestyle factor that has been examined in terms of psychological health benefits. Many studies have shown a positive relationship between physical activities and reduction in symptoms of depression. The meta-analytic review stipulates that whatever forms of physical activity one is involved in, there is a resultant fundamental improvement in the outcomes of depression (Fox & K, 2004). Likewise, the cessation of smoking not only has physical benefits but also psychological gains (Fiore, United States, & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), 2006). Smoking is more prevalent among psychiatric persons, and positive results are associated with increased cessation rates (West & Shiffman, 2007). The interventions targeting the aspects of mood disorders and smoking characters within such populations are very effective. Besides, the association between alcohol and depression is a two-way relationship where alcohol predicts depression and vice versa. Irrespective of the causality, alcohol intervention exemplifies an impact on depression as well as the quality of life (QOL).

Psychological Interventions

Historically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed in the 1950s by Aaron Beck and soon it became a formalized form of treatment (Beck, Carlson, Governors State University, & American Psychological Association, 2006). Originally, it focused on different styles of conscious thinking as well as reasoning among the depressed persons, and Beck posited it as resultant from the operations of cognitive beliefs. The cognitive model according to Blecke & Renfrow (2006) constitutes an outline describing how and when depression causes the affected persons to focus negatively on themselves, the world around, and the future plans (Russ & Ollendick, 2007).

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The intervention of psychotherapy adopts an educative approach whereby through collaborative means, the depressed persons learn to recognize their negative thoughts and re-evaluate their thinking accordingly (Knight, 2004). With all psychological treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy is very dynamic and is constantly evolving. In addition, the development of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is with the precise objective of preventing recurrence of depression (Evans, Hollon, & Tuason, 2006). The MBCT is designed to help instill skills for clients to adopt measures of preventing depression recurrence. People in this program are made aware of body sensations, feelings, and thoughts linked with depression recurrence with a constructive relationship with such experiences. Much attention ought to be given to the development and evaluation of CBT with psychological interventions tailored towards preventing a relapse (Clark, Beck & Alford, 1999; Rosner, Lyddon, & Freeman, 2004).


Psychological treatment is a fundamental therapeutic option for depressed people. The therapists must have sharp skills for dealing with transcendence and counter transcendence factors lest successful results will not be realized, as outlined by Freud. In both literature work and real life experiences, the importance of thorough and open analysis of transference and countertransference matters in CBT and incorporating them into management is of essence as well. Psychological theories provide a platform for unconscious thoughts based on evidence explanations as to why think and behave in a certain manner. Finally, lifestyle attributes comprise of cognitive and behavioral approaches which must be considered in pursuit of positive psychological results.

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