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One of the most common reasons people seek counseling for depression is because they feel sad, down, hopeless or just empty. In general, depression is characterized by a period of two weeks or longer during which an individual feels a persistent depressed mood, and often exhibits a disrupted sleep schedule, change in appetite, a decreased ability to concentrate, and/or feelings of lethargy, tiredness, worthlessness, or hopelessness. Many people assume that the only symptoms of depression are feelings of sadness, but depression symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the next.
Depression can involve feelings of irritability, frustration, or outbursts of anger that may feel disproportionate to the situation at hand. For other people, depression may feel like nothing at all; an empty feeling of “numbness” often begins to develop in someone dealing with depression, leaving the person with such low levels of energy that they often feel apathetic and don’t feel as though they care about much at all. People may also experience low self-worth or self-esteem. For others, depression can feel physical: muscle aches, stomach pains, sleep disturbances, and a mental “fog” are often endorsed, even when many other features of depression are absent. If you are reading this page, you’ve probably experienced at least one of these symptoms. Believe it or not, depression is more common than you think. We are glad you are here, and you are considering getting help. Maybe you have even asked yourself some of these questions:
- “Is it normal to feel this way?”
- “Why do I feel so down when nothing is wrong?”
- “Is there anything I can do to control these feelings?”
- “Am I actually depressed or do I just need to snap out of it?”
- “Is counseling for depression effective?”
How Counseling For Depression Works
Because the experience of depression varies so much from person to person, therapy for someone who is depressed also changes to suit the client. The Bergen Counseling Center specializes in counseling for depression across Chicago, and we take pride in offering unique treatment tailored to you as an individual. There is no rigid step-by-step process by which your therapist can help you work through your feelings of depression, so beginning therapy won’t involve being told what to do or what steps to take next, but rather begins by simply listening to your story and asking questions about your experience. Your therapist will ask how you’re feeling, but will also ask about the many different areas of your life: home, work, family, friends, and so on. The goal is not to only understand your feelings of sadness, but rather who you are as a whole person within the context of your life.
This first conversation can be pivotal. After dealing with these difficulties on your own for so long, it can feel like a breath of fresh air to share your story to someone who is listening without judging, asking questions without blaming, and empathizing without patronizing. This sets the stage for the supportive, collaborative relationship that follows in which the therapist and client work together to help the client lead a more balanced and satisfying life.
Help You Examine Your Thoughts, Feelings, And Behavior
For many clients with depression, a skewed perspective often develops in which we are only able see those things in which maintain or contribute to our feelings of sadness. As such, therapy for depression often involves helping a client recognize their blind spots, or those areas of our lives in which we may not be seeing the full truth. Someone who describes feeling worthless, useless, or unlovable may not be able to see those areas of their life in which they are successful or those relationships in which they are truly valued, loved, and appreciated. This is not to say that a therapist will try to talk you out of feeling the way that you do, but rather that the therapist will help to reflect reality, helping you to give yourself the credit that you deserve. Although approaches vary by therapist, research has shown Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to be effective in the treatment of depression. All of the therapists at Bergen Counseling Center are trained in CBT techniques and employ an integrated theoretical approach to counseling people with depression.
Help You Take Action
More than this, though, the therapists at Bergen Counseling Center take an action-oriented approach toward treating depression. Being depressed often feels like being “stuck in a rut,” and for good reason—we continue to cling to unproductive, unhelpful, or even destructive ways of dealing with the stressors in our lives. We withdraw from relationships when they become difficult, or we self-medicate with substances to help us get through difficult times. Our therapists will work to help you find new and better ways of coping with the stressors you face. We will collaborate with you to learn new skills and encourage you to break out of your routine by experimenting with new ways of thinking, acting, and being with yourself, with others, and the world around you. Often, through the guidance and support your therapist, you begin to discover strengths that allow you to better handle and overcome the feelings of depression that have otherwise held you back, and instead, you can begin to move toward living the fulfilling life you deserve.
If you’re feeling depressed and think that therapy may be right for you, or just need someone to listen, consider reaching out via email or a phone call. The therapists at Bergen Counseling Center offer counseling for depression in Chicago, and we are available for free 15-minute phone consultations to help you decide if therapy is right for you. Please fill out the form below and a member of our team will contact you.
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