Depth psychotherapy is an effective treatment for depression, and aims to help a person restore their ability to form relationship to others and the world.
Depression is the most prevalent of mental health problems. Studies have shown that it occurs in 1 in 10 adults or 10 per cent of the population in Britain at any one time. It is quite common to experience a depressive episode as a reaction to an event. It also happens that depression sets in “out of the blue”, and does not seem to go away by itself.
“I am in a temper that if I were under water, I would scarcely kick to come to the top”.
This experience can be deeply painful; poet John Keats wrote to a close friend: “I am in a temper that if I were under water, I would scarcely kick to come to the top”. It is part of life’s requirements that we should be able to tolerate periods of low mood, and it is to be expected that sometimes we find ourselves challenging the value of things and of life itself. If however we have an entrenched feeling of futility and find ourselves disempowered and persistently disengaged from life, this is probably something worth attending to.
In my experience it is possible to understand and successfully to address depression through the process of psychotherapy and counseling. Psychotherapist D.W. Winnicott (1958) wrote of John Keats that:
“[he] was someone who took the risk of feeling things deeply and of taking responsibility. […] If we look at depression this way, we can see that it is the really valuable people in the world who get depressed.”
These words remind us that the experience of depression should be respected in the process of psychotherapy. It is by working it through that its value ultimately appears, along with the fundamental qualities of the individual coming for help. The goal of psychotherapy applied to depression is to allow insight to emerge and to use the therapeutic space as a “springboard” to reconnect with oneself, with others and with the world.