Therapy in San Francisco

Licensed Psychotherapist

870 Market Street, Suite 1021
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 680-0180

Psychotherapy and Counseling
for Individuals and Couples

Therapy for Depression

Therapy can provide you the opportunity to make needed changes in your life; often even the smallest change can cause a profound ripple effect in all of your relationships.

Depression affects millions of people each year. Some common symptoms of depression include: depressed mood, frequent crying, irritability, hopelessness, trouble sleeping (insomnia or sleeping too much), low energy, weight changes (eating too much or too little), decreased concentration, loss of interest in your favorite activities and/or suicidal feelings. If you are experiencing many of these symptoms, you may be suffering from depression.

Although depression can be debilitating, the good news is that it can be successfully treated.

Seeking therapy because you are experiencing a depressed mood has proven to be very helpful for many people. If you make an appointment, these are the steps we will take to help you with your situation. You will first take a short objective depression screening evaluation and then answer specific questions about your life circumstances and current symptoms. We will collaborate on setting goals to treat your mood. Depending on your specific situation, this may include a combination of psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, reading materials, and homework exercises.

If your symptoms do not improve after these treatments, we will discuss the pros and cons of medications in addition to talk therapy.

Here are some tips for coping with depression that may be helpful:

1. Structure your time:

  • Plan your day and activities and stay organized by making a list of daily tasks. Once you follow through with the important tasks on your list, you will likely feel much better. Plan activities the day before so you wake up prepared.

2. Get outside and be social:

  • Even if you don't feel like going out, do it anyway. Schedule at least one activity per week with another person and stick to it. Social isolation tends to perpetuate depression.

3. Exercise:

  • Walk, run, lift weights, swim, bike, etc. for at least 15 to 30 minutes everyday. Research shows that this alone will change your brain chemistry and help lift your mood.

4. Do things you enjoy (or used to enjoy):

  • For example: Listen to music, watch a funny movie, read a book, go to a café, go to the library, go for a scenic drive, go to a park, go on a hike, paint/draw, call a friend, etc. Again, even if you don't feel like doing any of these things do something anyway. If you wait until you feel like doing it, you may never get started. Try to do something for 15 minutes and then see if you want to continue for a longer period.

5. Reach out and cultivate supportive relationships:

  • Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you are going through with people you trust and love. Ask for the help and support you need.
  • See a therapist weekly to talk about difficult feelings and learn or reinforce coping skills.

6. Join a support group for depression:

  • Being with others who are dealing with depression may help in reducing your sense of isolation. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers free support groups. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is also is a good resource for support groups.

7. Challenge negative thinking:

  • Most people with depression have several specific negative thoughts that are unique to them that run like a tape through their head. Most times these thoughts are automatic, irrational and damaging, causing depression to increase. Pay attention to the negative thoughts that plague you.
  • Write each negative thought down in a small notebook every time you have one and then challenge the thought with a thought that is more realistic. For example, let's say you have a thought that "nobody likes me". This thought then may prevent you from going out and meeting people because you truly believe that people don't like you. This thought can cause you to feel depressed. Now challenge that by finding evidence to support that people do like you. How about naming anyone currently or in your past who you were/are friends with or who you had a nice conversation with. This act alone can help you learn to think more realistically, which will affect how you feel and then how you behave.
  • Challenge thoughts that contain the words "should, always, never". Also watch out for blaming others, personalizing others actions, and predicting a negative outcome for something before you even begin an activity or talk with another person.

One of the most important, empowering things you can do for yourself is to take control of your situation and reach out for help. Please call me. We can talk to see if you would like to make an appointment and begin to make positive changes in your life. You don't have to suffer alone. Help is available.