Psychological treatments for depression

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behaviour therapy ('CBT' for short) is one of the most important types of talk therapy for depression. Psychologists have long realized that when you are depressed, your thinking can become distorted. These negative thoughts about yourself, others and the world can make you feel even more depressed. CBT involves learning more helpful ways of thinking from a therapist specially trained in CBT.

Many studies have shown that CBT is effective for treating mild or moderate depression. Indeed, research has shown that CBT is as effective as antidepressant medications. Research has also shown that the skills you learn in CBT can prevent you from becoming depressed in the future.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is not suitable for everyone. For example, some severely depressed people may be too depressed to learn the new skills. CBT usually involves seeing a therapist weekly over a number of months. It is usually offered by clinical psychologists, although some other professionals including psychiatrists also offer the therapy. In Australia, Medicare provides rebates for visits to clinical psychologists, under the recent Better Access to Mental Health Care scheme. Some hospital and government funded clinics also provide individual or group CBT. There are also a number of effective self-help books and websites, on CBT.

CBT is one of the best treatments for mild or moderate depression.

e-couch includes a CBT toolkit for help with depression.

Key References