Often clients feel that depression is a personal failure, or they worry that something is wrong with them or even that they’re going crazy. Fortunately, psychological research has provided a good understanding of the reasons depression happens and none of the above is true.
Often depression is preceded by life changes or difficult personal situations which trigger a depressive cycle. The basic structure of a depressive cycle involves avoidance of activities and a lack of positive reinforcement. This in turn leads to low mood and fatigue paired with lowered enjoyment of activities. Thoughts such as “I don’t enjoy anything” or “I am tired and need to rest” are common in the depressive cycle. These thought in turn lead to avoidance of activities which perpetuates the cycle and creates secondary problems such as school, career and relationship problems. Losing synch with normal routines can further interrupt healthy functioning by disrupting sleep, appetite and feeling lost or out of touch with the world.
Thankfully, extensive research into the effectiveness of CBT treatments for depression have proven that there is hope of reversing the depressive cycle for all types of depression from mild, moderate and severe cases through this approach.
Using the four-factor model of CBT, is helpful to practice separating thoughts, feelings, physiological reactions, and behavior from situations. In depression treatment a good option for many is to focus first on changing behavior through a treatment called behavioral activation. For mild to moderate depression, spending some time bringing awareness to the cognitive aspect of the four factor model usually supports positive change as well.
Learning and practicing the skill of separating thoughts, feelings, physiological reactions and behavior through CBT not only points the way for you to shift behavioral and cognitive patterns that cause and maintain depression, it highlights the power of your awareness to make deep changes to other area of your life.
Through our work together you will experience how empowering your natural ability to control the focus of your attention is. Learning to focus attention in the present and therefore away from mind activity is referred to as mindfulness in contemporary research. With this new experiential knowledge, you may find that reversing the cycle of depression is just the beginning of a pathway into whole new levels of personal growth and wellness.