If you’ve ever been depressed, you know the difference between feeling down in the dumps briefly and depression. Depression is a mood disorder, in which people are distressed or impaired in their functioning, and for most of the day for at least two weeks have a minimum of five of the following symptoms, including either of the first two, which represent a change from previous functioning:
- Depressed mood (feel low, sad, empty, lost, lacking meaning, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful)
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities including sex
- Less or more interested in eating (at times accompanied by significant weight loss or gain)
- Sleep disturbance (either difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively)
- Observable signs in the body of agitation or being slowed down
- Lack of energy (it takes more of an effort to do most things)
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts
This is a common mental health condition, affecting eight percent of adult Canadians in their life time, with mental depression in women occurring three times more frequently than in men. Depression has general, serious health consequences for the person impacting different areas of life such as relationships, the family, and work.
Depression Help in Vancouver
If you sense you have a depressive disorder, I’d be happy to help you feel good again at depression counselling in Vancouver, BC. With almost three decades of experience providing counselling services for depression to people in Vancouver, I have the tools and know how to help you address your problem. Within the context of a kind, compassionate relationship with clients, my approach to depression counselling in Vancouver is cognitive-behavioral-affective. This means that my way of assisting people in counselling is to change thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.
Changing thoughts involves using techniques from Cognitive Therapy (see David Burn’s www.feelinggood.com) and Voice Therapy (see Robert Firestone’s www.psychalive.org) such as externalizing and countering the negative inner voice; changing behaviors involves using techniques from Behavioral Therapy such as activation, and corrective suggestions from Voice Therapy such as giving up unhealthy behaviors like the excessive use of alcohol.
As a registered psychologist for depression in Vancouver, BC, I give particular emphasis to changing feelings in counselling because, although the loss of sunlight (as in seasonal affective disorder), the first few years of childrearing (as in postpartum depression), complicated grief/loss, or stressful life experiences – such as the loss of love relationships – often play a role in setting off a depressive episode, it is intrusive, trauma emotions that are triggered by these situations that underlie the depression.
The disorder always includes experiencing intrusive shame or unworthiness, which is heightened by a self-hating thought process toward the person. Because directing anger toward the self fuels depression, I encourage people in counselling to feel their anger toward others or situations beyond their control, and to express their anger responsibly using techniques such as anger management. The most important focus is the practice of bringing presence or mindfulness to the shame with self-compassion rather than attacking oneself (see Making Happiness at www.drgeoffreycarr.com).
In addition to shame or unworthiness, usually intrusive anxiety (fear) and emotional pain contribute also to depression, requiring anxiety counselling. The disorder also results from our avoidance of these trauma emotions via the freezing response, which is a conditioned reaction that numbs them (see the article, Intrusive Feelings).
If you wish to learn more about depression treatment by changing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in counselling, please take some time to read a hypothetical clinical case about a client experiencing depression and anxiety by clicking on the Clinical case link.
Depression Therapy Can Help
Because our motivation is low when depressed, asking for help for our problems with depression is particularly difficult. Reaching out for help is also hard because we may think we should be able to cope with the situation on our own to feel better and we may want to avoid the stigma of depression counselling. It helps to know that counselling and psychotherapy are effective treatments for this disorder; in fact, they are equally as effective as medication but with certain advantages – such as no side effects and the positive changes being more likely to hold than with treatment with medication – because people develop coping skills for depression.
With your willingness to come for help, time, and resources, and my support and 27 years of experience offering professional services as a counsellor and therapist in Vancouver, BC, gradually you will start to feel yourself again. Some of the ways my clients describe their experience after resolving their symptoms of depression through talking in therapy are:
- Seeing colour in the world again
- Getting their life back
- Having a cloud lift
- Thinking positively again
- Having pleasure again
- Feeling motivated and energetic again
Help is Available at Vancouver Depression Counselling
As a registered psychologist for depression, Dr. James has been providing professional, depression counselling in Vancouver, BC, for nearly three decades in his own private-practice office. Dr. James is an experienced counsellor, likes how he works with people, and feels confident about treating your depression in counselling. Dr. James invites you to contact him online by email or to call him by phone if you would like a five to ten minute consultation in order to identify your symptoms of depression and anxiety, to request information about his counselling and therapy services including rates, and if you wish to book an appointment.