Counseling Therapy for Depression in San Antonio
The impact of the pandemic on our mental wellness has been far reaching with a recent study from the COVID States Project determining almost half (49%) of the respondents of the study reporting one or more symptoms of depression. Even those of us who have not experienced a severe loss of someone we know, we have endured months of changes in our jobs and work, canceled family celebrations, isolation and daily logistical challenges. It should not be surprising that so many of us are feeling lonely, vulnerable, frustrated and depleted financially, physically, and emotionally.
Everyone feels down, sad, or blue occasionally — particularly after a significant life change, like a job less, divorce or a loved one’s death. For this reason many people don’t even recognize their own depression as problematic – at first. But if you have lingering hopelessness, sadness, or other mood changes that affect your day to day life for more than 2 weeks, to some measure you could be experiencing a form of depression. In any given year, nearly 20% of the people in Texas experience depression, which can occur to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group.
What are the symptoms of depression?
People experiencing depression do not all experience the same symptoms. How severe, frequent, and the duration of symptoms will vary depending on the person and his or her particular illness. Symptoms are persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings including:
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Losing interest in hobbies activities once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm
- Constant aches or pains, cramps or digestive problems that do not respond to treatment
What Causes Depression?
Multiple factors, including psychological, biological, and environmental factors are involved:
- Biochemistry: Differences in specific chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can be linked to hereditary lineage/families. For instance, if an identical twin has depression, the other has a 70% chance of experiencing depression at some point in their life.
- Personality: Often shaped by traumatic and or stressful life events, having low self-esteem, or being pessimistic.
- Environmental factors: long-term unemployment, long-term isolation or loneliness, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, prolonged work stress.
Depression is never a “normal” part of life, no matter what your age, gender or health situation and can affect any of us in a wide variety of ways. People struggling with depression can find it hard to take the first step in seeking support. Commonly the support of family members, friends or a health professional is needed to encourage them to embrace getting help. If you believe you or a loved one is experiencing depression, call us and schedule a consultation.
Most Common Types of Depression
Major Depression: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most well-known type of depression and experienced by a dark mood and or loss of interest or enjoyment in daily activities. People with major depression experience most of the spectrum of depression-specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, and concentration along with feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. MDD can produce a variety of physical and emotional problems that can prevent a person’s ability to effectively function at home and or their workplace. Major depression creates a dark mood within people which can produce thoughts of death or suicide.
Persistent depressive disorder: PDD is a type of depression that’s less severe and does not reach the intensity level of major depression – yet is ongoing with depression symptoms that persist for 2 years in adults (or 1 year with children and teens). This means that people are able to manage their daily activities, but feel a lack of joy most of the time as they go about their day. Most people who have PDD can’t recall when they first became depressed.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
This condition affects about 5% of adults in the United States and lingers for as long as 40% of the year. SAD is also sometimes known as winter depression where people experience symptoms similar to general depression-type of symptoms like mood changes, low energy, and sleep changes. The symptoms generally start in the fall season and winter months with people who live far from the equator. So people who live in the northern half of the United States are more susceptible to SAD during the winter months due to there being less sunlight.
Bipolar disorder: (formerly referred to as manic-depressive disease) People with bipolar disorder experience periodic episodes of depression. Like the depression types, bipolar disorders produce changes in mood, energy and ability to effectively function at home and a workplace. But, unlike other depression types, people with Bipolar disorder also experience periods of elevated activity and unusually high energy including decreased need for sleep, unrealistically high self-esteem, general thoughts and activities at higher speed, overspending and excessive risk-taking. These are temporary symptoms that come with potentially self-destructive behavior, followed by a period of depression.
Why Counseling Therapy for Depression ?
It is very unlikely that depression will simply go away on its own. In fact, if left untreated and or ignored, depression can endure for months, and even years, negatively affecting a person’s life. There is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for depression and the different types of depression generally require different treatments. Commonly mild symptoms of depression may be relieved by:
- Education & learning about the depression
- Lifestyle changes (reducing unhealthy habits and improving diet, amount of rest, and regularly exercising)
- Counseling provided by a mental health professional such as we offer here at Rhapsody
For depression that is considered moderate to more severe, medical treatments may be required, in combination with these previously mentioned treatments. While counseling and medication can help with recovery from depression, there are additional ways you can help yourself get better and stay healthy.
Thinking negatively or worrying is common in people coping with depression. This prevents your ability to focus on positive approaches to manage your health and getting better – making you more vulnerable to unhealthy emotions. For example when you are depressed and think about the things you have to do, you may feel overwhelmed by the pile of things you have put off doing. Thoughts of your own procrastination can cause you to feel guilty or view yourself as ineffective or even as a failure – and effectively worsen your depression. The belief that you can “unlearn” self-defeating processes of thinking that pave the way toward mood disorders like depression is the basis of cognitive therapy.
What’s Needed for Counseling Therapy for Depression to Work
Counseling assumes that people have a natural desire to develop to their full health potential – it’s as though people have an inner sense and belief of what’s best for them and with some guidance can usually find their own way forward. When someone is experiencing a psychological disorder, counseling assumes that they have lost touch with this natural desire of living their full health potential, and that they may benefit from guidance to get back on track.
The process of depression recovery through counseling is more achievable when 2 things can be established:
1) the forming of a trusting relationship between the client and the counselor – because without this in place it’s extremely difficult for clients to get in touch with themselves and communicate introspective insights with how they think and feel. The counsellor’s focus is to make sure that the client feels understood and accepted. Clients should feel the counsellor is attentive and listening carefully to them without judgement in any way. And
2) as opposed to focusing on symptoms counseling views the client as a whole person with the objective of understanding their “world” from their perspective or point of view. Counseling places an emphasis on forming an understanding and trusting therapeutic relationship. The reason is because this is regarded as the foundational starting point in being helpful to clients and without a relationship forged in trust – change is not likely to happen.
Counseling tends to view depression as an emotional problem – primarily. Encompassing feelings of sadness, or hopelessness, and or worthlessness, can make us feel down and depressed. Counseling tries to be helpful to people in their effort to get in touch with the feelings underlying their depression, communicate these feelings, understand them, and craft new perspectives of themselves and the world around them.
This is accomplished by counsellors focusing on your feelings and understanding them from your perspective. Counseling sessions frequently involve you taking the lead in the conversation and the counsellor following what you choose to talk about in a thoughtful and understanding way.
Counseling aims to help you feel respected in a setting wherein you’re comfortable talking about yourself. As it can be hard for people to speak about their problems with someone they don’t know, it’s important that you feel you are in a trusted, confidential safe space free of judgement.
How to help a relative or friend experiencing depression?
The struggles of depression can cause people to become withdrawn but a supportive friendship can make a tremendous difference in the depressed person’s full recovery. In seeking to help a friend it’s possible the person may not be aware they’re experiencing depression, or they may be uninformed on where to go and how to reach out for help.
Even if the person knows counseling could help, it can be overwhelming to search for a therapist and make that first appointment. To help the person the most important thing you can do is support them in taking a first step and getting an appropriate diagnosis and or treatment. It’s common to have a friend find a therapist and make the first appointment for a person experiencing depression – as well as going with them on that first initial consultation.
To help a relative or friend:
Offer understanding, emotional support, patience and encouragement.
- Engage the person in conversation and listen closely.
- Never disparage expressed feelings, however note realities and offer hope.
- Invite your relative or friend out for outings, walks and any activities.
- Never give up encouraging the person to take that first step to get professional help if they decline, but don’t push or press.
- Remind your relative or friend that with time and treatment, things will get better and the depression will lift.
Remember, supporting and spending a lot of time with a loved one struggling with depression can be draining and take an emotional toll on you. Know your limits in being around the difficult emotions of a person with depression, and make sure you take time to recharge yourself!
Hispanic/Latinx Wellness and Counseling Therapy for Depression in San Antonio
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that only 20% of the Hispanic/Latinx community experiencing mental health problems ever tell their doctors about their symptoms. An even more troubling finding is that only 10% of the Hispanic/Latinx community actually seek out help from a mental health practitioner. Rhapsody Counseling & Wellness Center embraces cultural competence in offering counseling therapy for depression in San Antonio to our diverse Hispanic/Latinx community.
Stigma and negative perceptions of mental health illness keep members of Hispanic/Latinx community from speaking about their problems and getting professional care. Too often when faced with wellness challenges, some in the Hispanic/Latinx community might turn to religious practices or homemade remedies to cope with negative emotions. While faith communities are important and can provide support, they lack the professional experience and knowledge of effective treatments for mental health conditions.
While Hispanic/Latinx community has shown perseverance and optimism in the face of adversity, moving to the United States can trigger high levels of pressure. The immigration experience and the integration process can both become a source of mental health problems including depression. Additionally, the fallout and various barriers created by discrimination and marginalization can produce a sense of “not belonging”, which routinely leads to adoption of unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and eating disorders.
We understand people in the Hispanic/Latinx community can often be very private and may not want to talk publicly about challenges at home. This can lead to a lack of information and continued stigma about mental health within the community, as talking about it can be viewed as taboo. Many in the Hispanic/Latinx community are familiar with the phrase “la ropa sucia se lava en casa” (similar to “don’t air your dirty laundry in public”). Some people do not seek treatment for mental illness out of fear of bringing shame or unwanted attention to their families. We believe that it’s only a lack of information and misunderstanding that fuels the stigma. Rhapsody Counseling is committed to providing details about symptoms, discussing treatment options and answering all questions regarding counseling therapy for depression in San Antonio.
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Ready to Get Started?
Free Discovery Call to Talk with a Counselor
Take the first step in your wellness journey and book a free 10-20 minute discovery call with a Counselor. The Counselor will start off the call with a few questions to get to know you better, so they can make sure they’re qualified to meet your needs. This includes questions about why you’re considering counseling, how you’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, and your goals for counseling.
If possible, take a few minutes before the call to reflect on these topics, so you can have a clearer sense of your goals for counseling. But don’t worry, if you can’t verbalize the answer to any questions, our counselors know how to guide your thinking so you can figure out what to say and the Counselor will welcome you to ask questions about counseling and Rhapsody.