What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a type of counselling conducted by a qualified therapist. In psychotherapy, you get an opportunity to open up and discuss topics that concern you and that may be contributing to your depression symptoms.

Does psychotherapy really work?
Canadian depression experts feel that psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for people with depression.

What are the most common types of psychotherapy?
The two main types of psychotherapy are cognitive-behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy. In general, both types tend to be short-term over the course of 10 to 20 weeks. However, it depends on the needs of the patient, and if necessary or desired, therapy may continue for longer.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is an intensive type of counselling. If you try cognitive-behavioural therapy, you will work with a therapist to identify the negative thoughts, thought patterns, and behaviours that may contribute to and worsen your depression. The goal is to learn to recognize and change these negative thoughts into thoughts that are adaptive and more positive, which can help to improve the way you behave and feel.

In interpersonal therapy, you work with a therapist to discuss and understand the relationships in your life that may cause or worsen your depression.

Would I be a good candidate for psychotherapy?
Both antidepressants and psychotherapy have been proven effective in reducing symptoms of depression. Your doctor might recommend that you try therapy if your depression symptoms are mild to moderate. Therapy may be a good choice if you prefer a non-drug treatment route or if you are very concerned about drug side effects. Also, some groups of people may need to rely on psychotherapy due to restrictions on the medications they can take. For instance, women who are depressed while pregnant may be advised to try therapy, as would those who cannot take antidepressants because of other medical conditions or medications they take.

How long do people stay on psychotherapy?
How long you stay in psychotherapy will depend on your unique situation and depression symptoms. For some, symptoms reduce after short-term psychotherapy of 10 to 20 weeks. For others, long-term psychotherapy is required.Together with your therapist, you can decide how frequently and for how long you will need to meet in order to improve your depression symptoms.

Does a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants work better than either one alone?
Canadian depression experts feel that the combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants is more effective than either one on its own. Local support and advocacy groups can help you find resources in your area.