Every individual experiences sadness, hopelessness, low interest, etc. at some point in their lives due to certain circumstances or sometimes for no reason at all. However, if these symptoms persist for a longer period then it could be a sign of depression.
Depression is defined as a two-week period in which an individual experiences at least five (or more) of the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood (including sadness, tearfulness, etc.)
- Loss of interest or pleasure (including sexual, social and professional areas)
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Psychomotor agitation (excessive restlessness or feeling very slowed down)
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Inability to think, concentrate or pay attention
- Recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation
Depression is common and affects one in every six individuals. If not taken seriously, the symptoms can last for weeks and months affecting ones personal and professional lives. It can also affect their ability to perform daily functions including doing home chores, personal hygiene, etc.
Counselling will therefore help the client process and understand the underlying causes of their depression by exploring their thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviours that are contributing towards their low mood. By using various techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy, the therapist will provide the client a secure environment where they will set realistic goals and work towards reducing their sadness by practicing various cognitive strategies and behavioural interventions. The therapist would challenge their irrational thoughts, beliefs, and thinking styles in order to help them understand themselves better. They together would also form effective coping strategies that would be beneficial for them not only for their current problem but also in the long term during other stressors.