Treatment for Depression – What works?

 Psychological treatment for depression

People arrive at depression through a range of different pathways and causes. And just like no two people’s ‘depression experiences’ are the same, no two treatments will be exactly the same either. There are a range of different and effective therapies available. Part of our job as psychologists is to listen to you and together work out which of the available treatments are most likely to be helpful for you.

Here’s a list of types of psychological therapy that we offer at the Northwest Psychology Practice. Each one has been researched and shown to be effective.

Cognitive therapy

In this type of therapy we focus on the way you’ve been thinking. People who experience depression often have very negative and dark thoughts. Cognitive therapy helps you to develop techniques to challenge these thoughts and reduce their impact.

Behavioural activation

One of the really difficult things about depression is the way in which it saps your motivation and means that you start to withdraw from life. This usually only makes you feel even worse. Behavioural activation is about helping you to re-engage in activities that are important to you.


Mindfulness techniques such as noticing, slowing breathing down and being in the present (not continually reliving the past) have been shown to help manage your mood and to stop depression from coming back. Mindfulness usually involves practicing meditation and ‘staying in the present moment’.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

ACT focuses on taking action towards living a rich and meaningful life. Often our thoughts, feelings and low motivation can get in the way of doing what is important. ACT helps you to notice and allow the full range of thoughts, feelings and motivations without letting those experiences determine your actions.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Often depressed mood can be related to problems occurring in our relationships. Interpersonal therapy focuses on helping you to improve the way you relate to and interact with the important people in your life.

Medical treatments for depression

There are several medical treatments for depression – the most common of these is anti-depressant medication. Many people find medication helpful, while others have difficulties with it. As psychologists we are not able to prescribe medication, nor are we qualified to give any advice on the topic. The decision of whether or not to take anti-depressant medication is a very individual one and needs to be decided in conjunction with your doctor or psychiatrist.

We find that the most powerful change happens when psychological and medical treatments are complementary and we are all working as a team. We therefore aim to be in contact with your doctor, or other health professionals, to work towards a shared understanding of the problems and a collaborative treatment approach.

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