How does psychotherapy help people recover?

There are several approaches to psychotherapy— including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and other kinds of talk therapy—that help individuals recover from depression. Psychotherapy helps people identify the factors that contribute to their depression and deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and situational contributors. Skilled health and mental health professionals such as licensed psychologists can work with individuals who are depressed to:

Pinpoint the life problems that contribute to their depression, and help them understand which aspects of those problems they may be able to solve or improve. A licensed psychologist can help depressed patients identify options for the future and set realistic goals that enable them to enhance their mental and emotional well-being. Psychotherapy also can assist individuals who have been depressed in the past with identifying how they have successfully dealt with similar feelings.
Identify negative or distorted thought patterns that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that accompany depression.
Develop skills to relieve suffering and prevent later bouts of depression. Skills may include developing or strengthening social networks, creating new ways to cope with challenges and crafting a personal self-care plan that includes positive lifestyle changes.