How can counselling help with long-term depression and low moods?

Living with depression and low moods can be a deeply challenging experience. For those who have struggled with these feelings for most of their lives, the burden can feel particularly heavy.

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While it might seem daunting to take the next step towards seeking help, speaking to a professional can be a transformative decision. Counselling offers a pathway to understanding, managing, and alleviating the symptoms of depression, leading to improved mental health and quality of life.


Understanding long-term depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad or having a bad day. It is a persistent condition that affects how one thinks, feels, and behaves. Key symptoms of long-term depression can include:

  • Persistent low mood: Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless most of the time
  • Loss of interest: A lack of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Fatigue: Chronic tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances: Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite: Significant weight loss or gain due to changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Feelings of worthlessness: Intense feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: Recurrent thoughts about death, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts

These symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go over time. For those who have experienced depression for a long period, the condition can become an ingrained part of life, making it even more crucial to seek professional help.


The benefits of counselling for depression

Counselling can provide a supportive and structured environment to explore and address the complexities of long-term depression. Here are some key ways in which counselling can help:

Understanding the root causes

  • Exploring past experiences: Counsellors can help individuals uncover and understand past experiences that may have contributed to their depression.
  • Identifying triggers: Therapy can assist in identifying specific triggers that exacerbate low moods, enabling individuals to develop strategies to manage them.

Developing coping strategies

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is effective in helping individuals challenge and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to depression.
  • Behavioural activation: This technique involves gradually increasing engagement in positive and meaningful activities to counteract depression.

Emotional support and validation

  • Safe space for expression: Counselling provides a non-judgmental environment where individuals can express their feelings and thoughts openly.
  • Building trust: Establishing a trusting relationship with a counsellor can provide the emotional support needed to navigate difficult emotions.

Improving self-esteem and self-worth

  • Positive reinforcement: Counsellors can help individuals recognise their strengths and achievements, building self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.
  • Self-compassion: Therapy can teach individuals to develop a kinder, more compassionate relationship with themselves.

Creating a personalised treatment plan

  • Goal setting: Counsellors work with individuals to set realistic and achievable goals, providing a sense of direction and purpose.
  • Tailored approaches: Therapy is tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of each individual, ensuring a personalised approach to treatment.

Enhancing problem-solving skills

  • Practical solutions: Counsellors can help individuals develop practical solutions to everyday problems that contribute to stress and low mood.
  • Decision-making support: Therapy can assist in improving decision-making skills, and reducing feelings of overwhelm and indecision.

Incorporating mindfulness and self-care

In addition to traditional counselling techniques, incorporating mindfulness and self-care practices can further support the management of depression and low moods:

Mindfulness meditation

  • Present-moment awareness: Mindfulness meditation helps individuals stay present and observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment.
  • Stress reduction: Regular mindfulness practice can reduce stress and improve emotional regulation.

Breathing exercises

  • Deep breathing: Practicing deep, slow breathing can activate the body’s relaxation response, helping to reduce anxiety and promote calmness.
  • Breath awareness: Focusing on the breath can ground individuals in the present moment, easing feelings of overwhelm.

Physical activity

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Mindful movement: Practices like yoga or tai chi combine physical movement with mindfulness, enhancing both physical and mental well-being.

Healthy lifestyle choices

  • Balanced diet: Eating a nutritious diet can support overall health and well-being.
  • Sleep hygiene: Establishing healthy sleep habits can improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

Taking the next step

Deciding to seek help for long-term depression and low moods is a courageous and important step. Here’s how to get started:

  • Research counsellors: Look for licensed professionals who specialise in treating depression and have experience with long-term cases.
  • Consider different modalities: Explore various types of therapy, such as CBT, psychodynamic therapy, or mindfulness-based approaches, to find what resonates best.
  • Schedule a consultation: Many counsellors offer an initial consultation to discuss your needs and determine if they are a good fit.
  • Commit to the process: Therapy is a journey that requires time and commitment. Be patient with yourself as you work towards healing and improvement.

Living with long-term depression and low moods can feel isolating and overwhelming, but you do not have to navigate this journey alone. Counselling offers a supportive, structured environment to explore the root causes of your depression, develop coping strategies, and build a healthier, more fulfilling life. Incorporating mindfulness and self-care practices can further enhance your well-being and resilience.

If you have been struggling with depression and feel ready to take the next step, consider reaching out to a professional counsellor. This step can lead to meaningful change and provide the support you need to move towards a brighter future.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14
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Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services
Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14

Hope Therapy & Counselling Services are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellbeing support to individuals, couples, and families. Our team of experienced and qualified counsellors & therapists are committed to helping clients navigate life's challenges and achieve personal growth and well-being.

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