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Mood Disorders



Our practices all have specialized training and expertise in treating many of the mood disorders including depression and dysthymia.  All treatment cases begin with consultations in order to diagnose, understand the causes of emotional distress, and determine the levels of interference with functioning at home, with friends, or at school/work.  Based upon this consultation, then treatment is started using empirically-validated treatments known to be effective in reducing overall symptom expression.

 

For many of these areas of difficulty, we use a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach.  Below you will find a description of this therapy approach. While this is a standard, research-based therapy model, we are able to personalize it for each individual.  We recognize that most individuals struggling with depression, may feel nervous about entering therapy and hopeless about their ability to get better, so we begin treatment by getting to know individuals in order to customize the treatment approach as much as possible.

 

Phase 1: Teaching how to Examine Thoughts & Relaxation Skills Training. In the primary phase, we teach individuals a plan for coping with their unhelpful emotions.  During this phase, individuals learn how to recognize signs of their emotional state, how to identify their unhelpful thoughts, and how to gather evidence against those unhelpful thoughts. They learn how to change the way they are thinking about the situation in order to change the way they are feeling (i.e., lower their anxiety). They also learn other helpful strategies, such as relaxation and problem-solving skills.  Finally, this phase focuses on increasing activities while building an understanding how behavioral activation helps to boost mood.

 

Phase 2: Maintenance Plan. Once an individual’s overall depression has significantly improved, he/she enters the final phase of treatment, called the maintenance phase. In this last phase, the client attends therapy less frequently. The purpose of these “booster” sessions is to help maintain treatment gains.  As a result of CBT therapy, individuals not only usually feel better, but they also get better at understanding what triggers their depression and better able to turn these negative thoughts around. By engaging in counseling using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, individuals will have the additional benefit of developing their problem-solving and coping skills, giving them more self -confidence and ability to cope and adapt in the future.

 

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT/PARENT SUPPORT/FAMILY THERAPY. While treating individuals for depression, it is essential to involve parents in the process. It is important for parents to understand what they can do to help cultivate their child’s new skills. Parenting is a tough job in general, but parenting a depressed child/adolescent brings extra challenges. Parents often state they are unsure of what to say or do in response to their child’s depression. They want to reassure their child/adolescent and protect him/her from distress, but are often afraid that doing so could make the depression worse. Thus, we feel that parent training and parental support are essential components of the treatment process. We help parents manage their own anxiety/depression and learn appropriate ways to respond to their children’s emotions.

Practices Providing This Service:

Robyn Claar: Durham


Eve Fontaine: Durham