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Depression Counseling

Depression can be painful and overwhelming

Make the choice to alleviate your pain with expert support, bringing meaning, joy, and contentment back into your life.

What is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a mental health disorder or mood disorder. It is quite prevalent in the general population.

Depression causes intense feelings of sadness often leading to a loss of interest in doing things they once enjoyed.  Depression negatively impacts the way a person feels, thinks, and acts.  As a result, the person’s ability to function is reduced in several areas including eating, sleeping, working, studying, fulfilling parental and caregiving roles, and maintaining meaningful connections with friends.

Black woman holding head in her hands dealing with the pain of depression
Female Therapist holding the shoulder of another female who is sad due to feelign the effects of depression

Depression Facts

  • Women more frequently experience depression than men.

  • Depression can occur in both children and adults.  The average age of onset is around 32 years of age.

  • Depression is one of the leading causes of employment absences.

  • If you have someone in your family with a history of depression this increases your chances of developing depression.  Persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or cardiac conditions are at greater risk of developing depression.

Depression Counseling

How I Can Help You

2-Part Treatment Method

Part 1:

Depression Symptom Reduction

This part of depression counseling involves:

01

Identification of your depressive symptoms.

02

Learn to understand how depression impacts your life by identifying the situations and circumstances that result in depressive episodes.

03

I teach you specific concrete skills and techniques designed to reduce your depressive symptoms and increase your functionality.

04

You practice and integrate these skills and techniques designed to reduce your depressive symptoms in your daily life outside of counseling sessions.

Part 2:

Understanding the Underlying Emotional Processes that Contribute to Your Depression

This part of depression counseling involves:

01

Understanding the historical nature of your depressive disorder.

02

Exploring your past and childhood to identify themes and events that impacted your central nervous system and contributed to the development and/or exacerbation of your depressive disorder.

03

Engage in processes that heal and jump start your central nervous system and bring it back online and have it function as intended.

04

Integrate your new found skill sets, knowledge, and insights to have the quality of life that you truly want.

Reclaim Your Life Today

Black woman hugging another worman enjoying life and looking happy after therapy.
Depressed woman partially covered by veils showing the sadness of depression

How Long Will Depression Counseling Take?

It truly depends on the complication level of your depression. Depressive disorders are very treatable if you’re open and willing to do lots of hard work but some are lifelong endeavors.  One of the biggest challenges of treating depression disorders is that those with depression often find it extremely difficult to get going. Many people spend time blaming themselves and have very negative self talk.  I proceed instead, through a different route of helping you to understand how depression interferes with your life and coming up with new effective ways to manage your life from a compassionate and generous perspective.

How Much Does  Depression Counseling Cost?

Take a look at our fees page to find out more and what you get for your fee.

Quarters Pennies and Nickels Stacked on a Table to Symbolize the Cost of Depression Counseling
A man with depression showing sadness on his face behind glass

What Causes Depression?

Researchers and scientists at organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and major universities in the USA and around the world are studying the causes of depression. Based on current research the thinking is that a combination of genes, biology, environment, and emotional factors all contribute to a person developing depression.

Some medical conditions can cause a person to appear or be depressed such as thyroid problems, diabetes, a brain tumor/cancer, cardiac problems/heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, vitamin deficiency, and taking certain medications.

It is essential to see a medical doctor to ensure that there isn’t a medical condition causing the person to appear depressed. Depression can make these medical conditions worse and vice versa.

Depression Counseling

Symptoms of Depression

Physical Symptoms of Depression

  • No energy

  • Eating too much or eating too little

  • Feeling tired without doing much

  • Stomach pain

  • Body aches and pains without much explanation

  • Poor hygiene

  • Poor sleep - sleeping too much or difficulty staying asleep/waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.

Black and white photo of a woman feeling sad, covering her eyes with her arms crossed.  She could clearly benefit from Depression Counseling.

Severity Levels of Depression

Severity levels of depression are

  • mild

  • moderate 

  • sever

Sometimes a person with severe depression can become psychotic meaning the person loses touch with reality and may have visual or auditory hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that others cannot).

Depression Counseling

Types of Depression

Depression isn't one-size-fits-all. It comes in different types, each with its own challenges. Let's explore major depressive disorder, perinatal depression, persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder together.

Depressed person sitting on a couch with hand over face.jpg

Major Depressive Disorder

This type of depression is the most common type of depression.  The person experiences sadness, hopelessness, and lacks focus in life almost all day for at least two weeks.

Pregnant belly showing ultrasound picture experiencing symptoms of perinatal depressioin

Perinatal Depression

This type of depression is a major depressive episode that is related to pregnancy and child birth.

Prenatal Depression Symptoms

  • Crying

  • Sleep problems (not due to frequent urination)

  • Fatigue

  • Appetite changes

  • Loss of enjoyment of activities

  • Poor attachment to the baby

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Depressive symptoms that continue beyond 14 days for up to one year after giving birth.  It is estimated that this affects 10% to 20% of new mothers. Frequent episodes of crying or weepiness.

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Fatigue

  • Constant sadness

  • Little interest in the baby, family, friends or other activities

  • Difficulty making decisions, remembering and concentrating

  • Feeling guilty

  • Feeling inadequate or worthless

  • Mood changes

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty with sleep

  • Changes in appetite

  • Extreme intense worries about the baby

  • Feeling sick with headaches, numbness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations

"Baby Blues" Symptoms

This occurs around child birth and can last up to two weeks after giving birth.  It is estimated 80% of mothers experience “baby blues.”  Researchers believe that rapidly changing hormonal levels immediately following birth contribute to “baby blues.”

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Exhaustion

  • Frustration

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Crying a lot

  • Difficulty with sleep

Postpartum Psychosis

Can occur anytime within the first year of giving birth but typically occurs within a month of giving birth. This is an emergency situation that requires immediate hospitalization.

  • Auditory hallucinations 

  • Visual hallucinations (less common)

  • Delusions - beliefs that are not true or not based in reality
    Suicidal thoughts

  • Thoughts about harming the baby

Anxiety can be quite noticeable in women with postpartum depression and shows up as fears, and bizarre thoughts such as having thoughts of hurting the baby.

Woman with face covered by sign that reads depression

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Depression symptoms that last for a minimum of 2 years. The person may experience periods of time of major depression and other times when the depressive symptoms are less severe.  However, periods of no or very few depressive symptoms last no more than 2 months.

Woman next to trees impacted by seasonal affective disorder - depression.jpg

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Depressive symptoms that come and go with the seasons each year.  Typically a person experiences depressive symptoms starting in the fall which last through winter and go away in the spring or early summer.  Many people tend to ignore SAD and deal with it by saying, "I just have to tough it out."  However, it is helpful to take steps to manage your SAD symptoms.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).  Premenstrual syndrome is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that start about 7 to 10 days before a woman gets her monthly period (menstruation). Many women experience breast tenderness and abdominal pain. Other symptoms include headaches, back pain, and joint or muscle ache. They may also have water retention (bloating) and sleep problems or digestive problems.  When these symptoms are so severe that they impact a woman’s functionality and mental health it is referred to as PMDD.

Black woman with a white t-shirt on sitting on a bed impacted by depression from PMS
Black woman showing two different faces experiencing the symptoms of bipolar depression.jp

Bipolar Depression

Part of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar depression was once included as a type of major depression. However, newer research suggests that there are substantial differences between bipolar depression and other types of clinical depression.  One of the biggest differences is medication treatment. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants.  Antidepressants used to treat major depression can make bipolar disorder worse by triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.

Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. With bipolar depression, the person may move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, the person is at greater risk to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which the person loses contact with reality—and experiences major problems in work and social functioning.

Woman looking at her reflection in the glass feeling depressed.jpg

What's the Difference Between Grief and Depression

A person who experiences grief or loss develops symptoms as a result of the loss of a loved one or beloved pet or something meaningful and fun such as a job. Many people may describe themselves as depressed however grieving and sadness are not the same as depression. However, a person who is grieving can develop depression.

Symptoms of Grief

  • Triggered by the loss of someone important such as divorce or the death of a loved one, or pet

  • Is a natural part of life and the human experience

  • Feelings of sadness are interspersed with positive feelings and memories

  • The person can still enjoy things

  • Although sad, the person typically does not have feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of suicide

Symptoms of Depression Present for at least Two Weeks

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities

  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  • Appetite and/or weight changes

  • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

  • Restlessness or irritability

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.

Does Depression Effect Everyone in the Same Ways?

No. Depression affects different people in different ways.

For example:
It is believed that women have depression more often than men. Biological, lifecycle, and hormonal factors that are unique to women plus the way women are treated in society may be linked to their higher depression rates. Women with depression typically have symptoms of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt.

Older adults with depression may have less obvious symptoms, or they may be less likely to admit to feelings of sadness or grief. They are also more likely to have medical conditions, such as heart disease, which may cause or contribute to depression.
 
Younger children with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
 
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, and be irritable. Teens with depression may have symptoms of other disorders, such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse.

Black woman holding her green coat over her mouth experiencing depression in front of a br
Black woman in a sweatsuit happy.jpg

Take the First Step Today

Reclaim your life, smile again, and enjoy meaningful relationships.

In Person: Oakland, Berkely and the San Francisco Bay Area

Online: California, New York, Washington, Hawaii, and British Columbia, Canada.

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