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Online therapist answers depression FAQ

Online counsellor Beth Mares RP Ontario

Is it true that online or phone counselling has been shown to be better for treating depression than going to the office?
The research suggests that it works better for the majority of people. This doesn't mean that you should stop going to your therapist's office if it's working well. Research uses statistics, which do not tell you what works best for a particular individual.

I was told that cognitive therapy might clear up my depression, but if not I will need longer-term psychodynamic or relational psychotherapy. Should I go to a cognitive therapist first?
I would suggest an integrative therapist who can use whatever methods are needed. The first stage of longer-term psychodynamic work is forming a relationship with the therapist. This will be happening while you are doing the cognitive therapy and will save you time if you need deeper work. Also, people who cannot benefit much from cognitive work at first are likely to be better able to make use of it after having done some of the deeper work.

Is it true that some people do their therapy in a few hours? If so, what is the purpose of long term therapy?
Some people can achieve their objectives in short term therapy. Usually they are resolving a specific problem and getting back on track. Long term therapy is the deluxe method. For some people it is necessary for overcoming chronic depression and/or the effects of childhood trauma so that they can lead a normal life. However, others are investing in education and personal growth so they can have a richer and more fulfilling life. For many people long term therapy pays off in financial terms also. For example, it can remove blocks to professional and business success, improve health through reducing stress or overcoming unhealthy habits, and make divorce unnecessary by enabling clients to build a stable and harmonious marriage.

Does clinical depression mean that the person has a physical problem that a non-medical psychotherapist would not be able to help with?
No. It means that it is true depression, not just normal sadness, and that it is severe enough to warrant the diagnosis. I help people with clinical depression all the time. If an antidepressant is required to deal with the physiological aspect of depression it would be prescribed by her doctor or a psychiatrist.

In your experience, can an affective disorder be overcome through psychotherapy without medication?
Most of the time, but if the depression is severe psychotherapy is unlikely to help without medication. Of course, when depression has been caused by low light levels or a medication or is a symptom of a physical illness psychotherapy won't cure it.

What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling?
In ordinary English, these are overlapping categories. The term psychotherapy includes counselling about emotional and human relations problems; it also includes work with the unconscious, which falls outside the scope of counselling. In Ontario today, though, psychotherapy has a legislated meaning--it means treatment performed by practitioners the Ontario government has licenced to do psychotherapy through membership in a college.


by Beth Mares RP
Beth Mares Counselling online

Copyright © 2000 Beth Mares

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