- Are you plagued by negative thoughts about yourself, your performance at work, or your role in your relationship?
- Have you lost your enthusiasm for things you used to care about?
- Do you feel like something is missing but you don’t know what it is?
- Does it seem like something is always holding you back?
- Do you wish you could find a way to feel better and get back on track?
If you’re suffering from depression, you’re probably feeling stuck in some area of your life. Maybe you have a good job but can’t sustain any enthusiasm for your work. Maybe you love your partner but your relationship feels flat. You might be hoping to meet new people and make new friends but find yourself avoiding social situations. You might look around and wonder why everyone but you seems to have it all figured out.
In addition to feeling stuck in your work or your relationship, you may feel overcome by feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. You might dedicate a lot of energy to anticipating worst-case scenarios and feel certain that your failings will bring about catastrophes in your life. You might be convinced that something is wrong with you and that “something” is holding you back from the life you want to have.
Many different life experiences can cause people to become depressed – the death of a loved one, the end of a significant relationship, a setback in a career. Often, however, people struggle with feelings of hopelessness that have no apparent cause. Not understanding the cause of your feelings can make you feel that there’s something wrong with you for feeling bad. You may tell yourself that you should just be able to “snap out of it.” Often, however, you just can’t shake the negative feelings that are weighing you down.
Depression Treatment Can Help You Understand and Overcome The Negative Feelings That Are Holding You Back
In my 25 years as a therapist, I’ve helped many people who struggle with depression in Berkeley and throughout the Bay Area. I understand how hopeless you feel. I’ll never tell you that your feelings are wrong or that there’s something wrong with you for having them.
At the same time, I maintain an unwavering sense of hopefulness that you can feel better about yourself. As an experienced depression counselor, I will never give up on you. Through our work together, you can begin to understand your negative feelings about yourself not as symptoms of a deep personal failing but as feelings that you can understand and change.
How Does Depression Counseling Work?
Depression often develops in the context of our relationships with other people. Our intimate relationships—with parents, siblings, friends and partners—create a set of expectations about how people will respond to us. If you believe that something is wrong with you, it’s likely that experiences in your early relationships contributed to that belief.
Sometimes these early experiences are easy to identify. Your family may have been abusive or neglectful. You may have concluded that they treated you badly because there was something wrong with you. Often, however, the experiences that lead to becoming depressed are subtle and difficult to describe. When you can’t find anything in your experience that explains why you feel so bad, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with you that’s causing you to feel depressed.
One of the main expectations people develop in their early relationships has to do with what kinds of feelings they can safely experience and express. For example, you may have felt that your parents needed you to feel happy so they could feel like good parents. You didn’t want your parents to feel bad so you stopped acting sad when you felt sad. Pretty soon, you didn’t even know that you felt sad. Or you may have felt that anger, anxiety or some other “negative” emotion endangered your relationship with the people close to you so you put a lid on those emotions and stopped feeling them.
As strange as it might seem, often “positive” emotions like enthusiasm or excitement can also feel like they endanger important relationships. If this was your experience, you might do things to sabotage yourself just at those times when things are going well. You might get a promotion you’ve been wanting and then not follow through on an important project. You might get into a good relationship and then do something to undermine it.
Depression counseling provides you with a safe, supportive relationship in which you can discover and explore the feelings you’ve pushed aside. As you become comfortable with these feelings, you’ll begin to feel more energetic, enthusiastic and hopeful about your life. As we identify the early experiences that contributed to your depression, you can free yourself from self-blame and experience a new sense of confidence and self-acceptance. With a renewed sense of hope and confidence, you’ll be on the road to having more satisfying experiences in work, relationships and the rest of your life.
You may believe that depression treatment can help you feel better and find relief but still have questions or concerns…
I Don’t Know if Talking Can Help Me.
It’s normal to have doubts that talking to a therapist can help you feel better. You may have talked with friends or family members about your depression. If that hasn’t helped you feel better, you may be skeptical that talking to a therapist will be any different.
Your friends and loved ones are a valuable resource, but they can often be as confused by your depression as you are. And even when they’re helpful and understanding, you may worry about burdening them with your problems and may not feel free to talk openly about everything that’s bothering you.
As your depression therapist, my only job is to listen to you and help you feel better. You don’t need to worry that you’re burdening me with your problems. And, because I’m not a friend or family member, you have the freedom to be open and honest with me without fear of harming our relationship. Finally, because our relationship is completely confidential, you don’t have to worry that something you say in confidence will be told to other people.
I’m Afraid Depression Treatment Will Be Too Painful.
Many people are afraid that depression treatment will make them revisit and relive painful experiences. That is not the point of therapy. Of course, painful emotions are likely to arise in the course of treatment. But the point of the therapy is not for you to re-experience every painful thing that has ever happened to you. The point is to help you understand and work through your experiences and emotions so you can find relief.
Depression Therapy Will Take Too Much Time and Money.
Many people avoid coming to therapy because they’re afraid it will cost too much money or take too much time. While I sympathize with these concerns, I also want to encourage you to see therapy as an investment in your long-term well-being. Every day spent struggling with depression is a day when you’re unable to live your life to its fullest. I want to help you find the hope and confidence to be able to have a full, rich, meaningful life.
Because every person is different, I can’t predict exactly how long your therapy will take. However, my experience over 25 years is that, as you begin to experience the benefits of depression therapy, your fears about how long it will take will diminish. Many people actually come to enjoy the process in ways they didn’t anticipate. I should also say that I’m always happy to talk to you about any concerns you have about your therapy at any time, whether they’re about time, cost, or anything else.
Do You Prescribe Medication for Depression?
As a psychologist, I’m not licensed to prescribe medications. However, I work with psychiatrists who are available to see you if I think medication could be helpful to you. Medication is not a substitute for psychotherapy. Most studies have concluded that medications are more effective when they are used in conjunction with therapy than when they are used by themselves. If you are prescribed medication, your psychiatrist and I will work closely together to make sure you receive the treatment that will work best for you.
Depression Treatment Can Help You Begin to Believe in Yourself and Your Future Again
I invite you to call me at 510.304.7282 or contact me to ask any questions you may have about depression treatment or my practice, which serves the communities of Berkeley, Oakland, the East Bay and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.